Since 2012, Andrea Howell has channeling her love for sewing clothes into a career with Tidal Cool
– selling her colorful and funky designs at popular events such as Cleveland Bazaar, Cleveland Night Market and the Tremont Farmers Market.
Beginning next month, however, Howell will sell her designs at her new 370-square-foot storefront at 2406 Professor Ave. in Tremont.
As winner of the fourth Tremont Storefront Incubator program, sponsored by Tremont West Development Corporation
and the Hispanic Business Center
, Howell will explore the pros and cons of running Tidal Cool as a brick-and-mortar shop for the next 10 months.
“The bulk of my sales are regional,” Howell explains. “This is something less nomadic that I’m used to. This is exactly what I’m looking for because launching a new business is difficult and there are so many things you don’t think of.”
Howell will receive three months of free rent, followed by seven months of below-market-rate rent in the Professor Avenue location that once served as the organization’s meeting room. Tremont West decided to use the space for retail five years ago, says Tremont West assistant director Michelle Davis, to promote area small businesses.
“We used to use our storefront for board meetings and community meetings,” she says. “We decided it would be more contributing to our businesses because Tremont has been quite a place where women come to do their shopping.”
Previous tenants and incubator winners include pop-up shops for Cosmic Bobbins
and Yellow Cake Shop
, Tremont Tails
, the Beck Center
While some of these businesses have moved on to other ventures, Brewnuts is opening a permanent location on Detroit Avenue. While Davis says they wanted to see Brewnuts stay in Tremont, the Detroit Shoreway location suited the company’s needs.
“We’re happy that they had this experience,” Davis says of Brewnuts. “We just couldn’t find them space that worked for them.”
In addition to the storefront, Howell will meet monthly with Jason Estremera, director of business services for the Hispanic Business Center, to go over financials and budgeting. “It’s nice to have someone in your corner,” says Howell of the business advice.
Howell applied to be the next incubator tenant back in January and got word in April that she had won the space. “I had my eye out specifically in the Tremont area because the demographics are my brand,” she says.
Howell says she has painted and installed new light fixtures. “I’m making it look like my brand,” she says.
While Howell will have a soft opening on Wednesday, her official grand opening is scheduled for Friday, May 13 during Walkabout Tremont, from 6 to 9 p.m. She will present her spring and summer collection, Cuba Libre, which features African and other imported prints.