Downtown Heinen’s store reopening delayed

Reopening of the Downtown Cleveland Heinen’s grocery
store is delayed until right after Labor Day. Repairs, reno-
ations and reconfiguration of the store are largely complete.
However, downtown employment isn’t expected to recover
sufficiently until September to justify reopening. (KJP).
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Reopening of the downtown Cleveland Heinen’s grocery store is delayed another month from earlier estimates. Previously, sources said the full-service store would open up again by early August. The store closed following the riots that hit numerous cities nationwide, including Cleveland, May 30.

Now, according to three high-level sources, the opulent downtown grocery store will reopen immediately after Labor Day. This year, Labor Day falls on Sept. 7. But it’s not just the recovery from the riots that’s involved here.

The sources say the reason for the delay is that downtown office workers have not returned to levels that are anywhere close to pre-pandemic levels. Many of downtown’s of employees and students whose population is roughly 100,000 are still working and studying from home.

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Although there are nearly 20,000 people who live downtown, the Heinen’s store made much of its money from selling prepared foods for lunch to office workers. The store was often jammed with customers during the lunch hours — a situation that’s great for business but bad for staying healthy during a pandemic.

Heinen’s officials reportedly expect downtown office populations to recover enough by September to justify reopening the store at that time. Downtown Heinen’s employees were furloughed or relocated to other stores for the time being.

Heinen’s downtown Cleveland store
is considered to be one of the most
beautiful grocery stores in the Uni-
ted States of America (KJP).

In Heinen’s absence, smaller grocers downtown have filled the void, including Constantino’s, 1278 West 9th Street, DGX grocery, 1701 E. 12th St. and 1900 Food & Beverage, 1846 Euclid Ave. There are other full-service grocery stores and fresh food markets one mile or less from downtown in Ohio City and Asiatown.

During its closure, the 27,000-square-foot?downtown store is being repaired, renovated and reconfigured. The store suffered some damage from the riots, however more work is being done to slightly alter the layout so that customers can shop more safely and in accordance with the state’s social-distancing requirements.

During this closure, the former Cleveland Trust bank rotunda built in 1908 is being reconfigured to be more COVID-19-compliant, a source said. Much of the work has already been done. That includes getting rid of the soup/salad bar so customers and employees will have more elbow room. Fresh food cases were also reconfigured. No significant changes were made to the wine/beer area on the second level.

Officially, Heinen’s isn’t commenting. The most recent statement was issued in early June, which was when NEOtrans broke the story that the downtown Heinen’s store would reopen and be refurbished.

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Many of the downtown Heinen’s
customers buy freshly prepared
foods for their lunches to either
eat them at the store or take the
food back to the office. Those
customers have vanished during
the months-long pandemic (KJP).

“We appreciate all the kind comments and support we’ve received concerning our downtown Cleveland store. We are still in the process of cleaning up and getting repair estimates and are not sure of a re-open date at this time,” the statement said.

“Looking ahead to a post COVID-19 world, we are considering some small changes to adjust the store to better meet the needs of our customers,” Heinen’s added.

“Thank you for your patience. We know the stores is an important shopping option for many people and will share more information once we know more,” the statement concluded.

Located on the southeast corner of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street, the downtown Heinen’s opened in February 2015. It was part of the multi-structure, $170 million Ameritrust redevelopment undertaken by the Geis Companies.

The downtown Heinen’s is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful grocery stores in the United States, becoming a tourist attraction and a must-see stop for those appreciating architecture and Gilded Age history in Cleveland.

END