Valet service makes cruising Lee Road nightlife a snap

The Tavern Company owner Chris Armington and his fellow business owners along Lee Road in Cleveland Heights were tired of hearing their customers complain about how difficult it is to find parking on the weekends.

So they got together to solve the problem and, hopefully, increase their business traffic.

Most of the restauranteurs, bar owners and the Cedar Lee Theatre got together and hired VIP Valet to park customers’ car on Fridays and Saturdays. “It’s a convenience for customers,” says Armington. “Everyone’s biggest complaint is parking, walking, getting tickets.”
For $5, patrons can park at any of the four valet stations located in the business district along Lee Road – from Taste and Brennan’s Colony  to Parnell’s Pub. When they are done eating, drinking and catching a movie, they can pick their cars up at any station – regardless of where they dropped it off. Even establishments like Lopez, which has its own lot and valet, are participating.
Customers do not have to specify where they are heading to use the service. “They won’t turn anyone away,” says Armington. “The business owners are paying for it [the up-front costs] so people can have fun all evening at the restaurants and bars.”
Of course, the convenience also means better traffic for the business owners. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” Armington says, adding that the LED “valet” sign cones VIP uses make the valet stations easily identifiable, “inviting and safe.”
The service, which began on Friday, Dec. 18, is slowly catching on, according to Armington, with more people using the service as word spreads. “Every weekend is a little better and better,” he says. “Ideally, we want to make Lee Road a destination where people can go, park and then go anywhere.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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