CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than four months after the May 30 riots that looted Heinen’s downtown, customers can once again shop for their produce, groceries and prepared foods in the iconic Euclid Avenue building.
“I’m so excited it’s finally open,” said Candice Monroe, who was shopping with her dog Winnie. “I had to drive to the Heinen’s in Rocky River, or have groceries delivered, I don’t really like to get in the car and go anywhere.”
Closing the store not only financially impacted the business, but also was a big blow for many of the downtown residents it served.
“I took the elevator down right away, I definitely missed the convenience of this,” said Michael Collier, who lives in the apartments above the store.
“Oh my God, I missed my store so much!” said Tamara Shelton as she was greeted by cashiers. She lives a block away.
“We would like to thank our customers for their patience as we repaired the damage that occurred at the end of May and thought about solutions to address the operational challenges COVID-19 presents,” General Manager Josh Carter said.
The Downtown Heinen’s opened in 2015 in the historic Cleveland Trust Building at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. It quickly became popular with downtown residents who had a shortage of grocery-shopping options and office workers who patronized it for lunch.
When downtown offices emptied out during the coronavirus stay-at-home order, fewer customers came, and downtown businesses struggled. Then rioters smashed windows and looted the store May 30, the day thousands of people converged downtown to show their collective anger against the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Store hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, matching other Heinen’s locations.
To allow for adequate social distancing, the store’s capacity will be limited to 40 customers and have one entrance on Euclid Avenue. Masks are required.
Co-owner Jeff Heinen says the grand rotunda, once the focal point of the Cleveland Trust building that served as a lunch spot for many office workers, will remain closed. But the store will still sell prepared foods, beer, wine, and more.
“The pandemic has tested us, but we’re really proud of our team and their ability to adapt to the challenges that we’ve faced,” said spokeswoman Paula Skladanowski. “We’re committed to serving our loyal downtown customers and feel that our reopening is a sign of hope that Cleveland will come back.”