When Costas Mavromichaelis opened Constantino's Market
in downtown Cleveland, he knew that he was an urban pioneer. Downtown residents and businesses had been crying out for a small, full-service grocery store for years, yet no entrepreneur had been willing to take the plunge.
Eight years later, Constantino's Market on W. 9th Street is still going strong, and Mavromichaelis is hoping for another shot in the arm when the Horseshoe Casino opens this year and the Medical Mart and Convention Center open next year. The growing demand for downtown apartments also bodes well, he says.
The entrepreneur is now set to open a 16,000-square-foot branch of Constantino's in University Circle
. City leaders contacted him after failing to secure leases from Dave's Market or Heinen's. Mavromichaelis says that the urban market isn't an easy or simple place to do business, but that he's addressing unmet demand.
"This is an important and developing area of Cleveland, and the density of and demand for housing because of the university and hospitals make it attractive," he says. "There's been a lack of shopping amenities in University Circle, but that's changing, and the Uptown project
will make the area even more attractive."
Mavromichaelis says the new Constantino's will be very similar to the downtown store, and will be geared towards young professionals, students, small families and empty nesters. It will offer a full selection of groceries as well as a salad and hot foods bar, prepared foods, pizza and an impressive wine selection.
To make the deal work, the developer, MRN Ltd., leased the space to Case Western Reserve University, who in turn subleased it to Mavromichaelis. Uptown is a large, new retail and apartment development along Euclid Avenue in University Circle. The new Constantino's will be located at E. 115th and Euclid.
Mavromichaelis has also recruited his daughter and son-in-law, Anna Mavromichaelis and Andrew Revy, to move from Chicago to Cleveland to work in the business. His daughter has helped him to run the business and open new locations, while Revy will soon manage the University Circle location.
"My daughter was working as an accountant in Chicago, but she grew up in the business, coming to the Clifton store from the time she was seven or eight years old," says Mavromichaelis. "I guess she never got it out of her system."
Source: Costas Mavromichaelis
Writer: Lee Chilcote