Last year, Conor Boylan and his wife walked past an overgrown building in West Park.
“It just like screamed coffee shop to us. It was just sitting here, beautiful brick building, but like in pretty bad shape,” he said.
This August, they opened Five Points Coffee and Tea, transforming a forgotten property into a neighborhood hangout. Boylan soon realized nearby many other entrepreneurs had taken the same risk.
“If you look around Lorain Avenue and like around Kamm’s Corners, there’s so many locally owned businesses and there’s a lot of new ones starting in the last year,” said Boylan.
This season, Boylan dreamed up the Kamm’s Corners Holiday Passport.
“Why not show that we’re working together? Let’s promote ourselves,” he said.
Patrons pick up a passport and visit six neighborhood businesses: Fireside Candles, Hatfield’s Goode Grub, Kamm’s Corners Ice Cream, Working Class Brewery, Only in Clev and Five Points. They get their passport stamped at each one and turn it in for a chance to win free gifts and prizes. You can an extra sticker if you walk or bike to the location.
Lisa Kay opened Kamm’s Corners Ice Cream in July. Winter months put a chill on ice cream sales, so she’s thankful for people eager to earn a stamp on their passports.
“I’m all about shop local. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world for the small businesses,” said Kay.
At Five Points, dozens of people have already returned fully stamped passports.
“Things are going really, really well with the neighborhood. Very supportive of us,” Boylan said.
It’s a trend Boylan hopes will continue well into the new year.
The program lasts through December 31. Then, they’ll draw for prizes. You can pick up a passport at any of the participating businesses.