CLEVELAND — A unique shopping center is bringing goods and services to an area in Cleveland overlooked by traditional retail.
The BoxSpot is home to seven different businesses each inside shipping containers.
The out-of-the-box idea is bringing new meaning to the term “small business.”
Sharyna Cloud, who opened one of the small businesses, has an old soul with a heart of a thrifter and a sweet tooth.
“I don’t stock anything I wouldn’t eat,” she said. “Now, what I eat the most? The gummy bears,” Cloud said.
She jumped at the opportunity to open her own storefront.
“It was a cool concept also to be in a container,” Cloud said. “Because I watch the Tiny Houses, but I never thought of a business in a tiny house.”
She opened the Kandy Kupboard in the Kinsman neighborhood.
“When I tell people it’s about 134 square inches, they’re like, ‘What does that look like?’” she said. “But, it’s enough space for me to do what I need to do.”
At first, I thought it was a container that holds things, so I didn’t really think it was a shop until I actually got closer,” said Bryan Hicks, who is a customer. “And then coming in to it, it’s actually pretty nice.”
The unique space is a curiosity to customers like Hicks, who stopped inside to get his longtime girlfriend some gift baskets for Valentine’s Day with her favorite treats.
“It would have to be chocolate,” he said. “I think she likes chocolate. I’m not even gonna lie about it, she eats a lot of chocolate.”
The Kandy Kupboard is one of almost 100 retail concepts that reached out to Burten, Bell, Carr Development to rent one of the boxes.
“It just gave me hope for our region that there are all of these businesses out there that are thriving and are ready to take the next step,” said Burten, Bell, Carr Development Executive Director Joy Johnson.
The non-profit built the BoxSpot in response to resident requests.
“The community has said we need more places to shop, more places to get services and to eat in our neighborhood. We shouldn’t have to leave our neighborhood to have these nice experiences,” said Johnson.
The shipping containers piled up almost like toys help Cloud treat her customers to a trip back to childhood.
“That’s really what it’s all about. Just bringing a special touch to memories back to the neighborhood,” said Cloud.
In addition to the candy store, other businesses in the BoxSpot include a clothing store, restaurant, optometrist, and hair and nail salons.
Burten, Bell, Carr Development is currently in the planning stage of building another shopping center out of shipping containers in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood.