Solon is seeing a new vibrancy with the opening last week of two nationwide chain stores in the long-time vacant area of SOM Center Road plaza, Edward H. Kraus said last week.

“This is a change from vacant space to vibrant businesses,” Mayor Kraus said of an Aldi and Hobby Lobby, which opened next to a Marc’s in the plaza.

All this comes as Mustard Seed Market plans to close its doors in Solon on Oct. 30 after being in the city for 20 years on Kruse Drive.

“It’s such a different feel now on SOM when you drive down the road,” Mayor Kraus said of the main road through town.

The $3 million investment by developers TLM in the site not only resulted in renovations to the stores themselves, but a new parking lot and landscaping, the mayor noted. Aldi grocery store and Hobby Lobby craft store now have their doors open in the site that once housed Sears department store.

Nearby a Chick-fil-A is booming and a new Yours Truly is poised to open this weekend as well.

“This gives a totally different vibrancy,” the mayor said. “It’s a feel that you are open for business.”

Yours Truly will open its 10th location in the former Dave’s Cosmic Subs and Donato’s building on Kruse Drive and have similar offerings to its Chagrin Falls location. Yours Truly committed to $815,000 in exterior upgrades for the site, which measures 5,000 square feet.

“This will give a more inviting look to the city,” Mayor Kraus said of the development. “When you see old buildings and people renovating these properties, it’s exciting.”

He said that at the Aldi opening last week, there was already a long line of customers.

“It was so cool to see,” the mayor said, adding that both Aldi and Hobby Lobby boast beautiful interiors.

“They have an open and fresh look, and I think that people just appreciate and enjoy it,” he said. “It gives more places to shop.”

Mayor Kraus said of the redevelopment of the SOM Center Plaza, he had his doubts a plan would ever come to fruition.

“The building has been vacant close to seven years,” he said of the building that housed Sears. “It felt so long. Over time, you drive past there and it just looked awful and was depressing.” It also affected property values, Mayor Kraus said. He said the investment by developers into the site benefits the whole community.

He added that the Yours Truly will be another wonderful addition and great for the entire community.

“It will be tremendous,” he said. “People love good restaurants, and Yours Truly is a well known brand in this area.”

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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