Three downtown Cleveland businesses lose leases for new steakhouse

Volks and Mad Hatter moving by September

CLEVELAND,OHIO - Wednesdays usually mean the day off for employees working at Volk's Jewelry and Loan, at their now trendy East Fourth Street and Prospect Avenue location.

On Aug. 8, they found themselves organizing, packing up, loading garbage bags full of unneeded inventory in preparation for an early fall move.

The location has become such a hotspot that the landlord, developer Ari Maron, completed a lease deal with Beachwood's Red Restaurant Group this week for a downtown steakhouse plan.

The three ground-floor retailers, who had been on a month-to-month lease for almost two years, were put on notice to be out in 30 days.

Volk's and next-door neighbor Bill Taylor's The Mad Hatter are forced to sell what they can at reduced prices in preparation for a huge change in location. Both with several decades of a customer base built when the neighborhood was 100 percent retail.

"It's now 2 percent retail and 98 percent entertainment, sports, stuff like that," said Burt Kay, co-owner of Volk's for more than 50 years. He bought the business from Volk's after they had been there since the 1800s.

Cassandra Zolis, co-owner of The Mad Hatter isn't sure where she will go, or if she will continue with a business known by its fans for its convenient downtown location.

"It's sad, I don't know if I'm going to stay in business or what at this time," said Zolis.

For Kay, the prospect of moving means dealing with many customers who have pawned items for loans of cash. Those customers are asked to contact Volk's as soon as possible at or by phone at 216-241-6625.

"We asking people to come in, pick up their jewelry and we're cutting prices on everything," said Kay.

"Thank you to the people who patronized us all these years. We really appreciate the business that you've given us. We hope we've given you good value for the money you spent with us," Kay said. "The change hasn't been good for us, but maybe it's for the better good, I don't know."

Kay's business partner, John Borstein, expressed late in the afternoon that he fully intends to move to a new location, but much of the store's inventory must go soon. He expects the end of this week to have their store filled with deal-seeking customers.

Red the Steakhouse is hoping to open by spring 2013 with party rooms, spaces for meetings and 140 seating capacity.

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