(See the original TV segment that aired on WKYC TV3 Cleveland.)
It’s make-or-break time for hundreds of local businesses, whose sales margins have sunk in 2020.
The challenge, though, is great as COVID concerns and restrictions put a dent in foot traffic. But finding local makers and artisans, and browsing their goods, has never been easier in Greater Cleveland. In fact, there’s an app for that.
“If we are going to survive through these times, we need to take our precious dollars and support one another in any way we can,” said Susie Frazier, who is a designer of wall art, furniture and home décor. Clearly, supporting the local community of “makers” is personal as she’s one too and she knows just how tough times are right now.
“The entrepreneurs are the ones that are very vulnerable and that is a huge reason why I invented the app,” Frazier told 3News.
The app is “Maker Town” a mobile tool that helps Northeast Ohio consumers find and connect with over 500 local makers – like Susan Saltzman, creator of Stonz, a jewelry shop.
“My stones and beach glass are mostly from Lake Erie. I have all kinds of Cleveland tokens, vintage things, beach stuff, Cedar Point stuff, and Terminal Tower stuff. I think that’s one of the amazing things I just love about having people locally buy my stuff is I feel like I am part of this amazing community of makers in Cleveland,” Saltzman said.
Think of Maker Town like Yelp, except it’s just for local galleries, arts and makers– both online and those with brick and mortar shops. Filters also allow you to shop for exactly what you are looking for and help the local economy.
“The money you spend in this community, most of it stays in this community. Also we are maintaining our identity as Clevelanders,” Saltzman added.
Whether you are buying for the holidays or a little splurge for yourself, you can find it on Maker Town, and support the hometown too. “Something that is handmade maker influenced in your local region but it’s really tailored just for you. It’s good for our identity as Clevelanders,” Frazier said. Maker Town is available on Apple and Google Play.