(Plain Press, October 2017) For generations, on any given weekend, the strip on West 25th street is crawling with sightseers, shopping bags and grocery goods. Though the visitors and scenery of the city have been altered, the purpose of the place has not. In between all the hustle and bustle, there sits a decaying building at 2104 W. 25th just north of Chatham with an outdated sign reading “West 25th Furnis…” This former furniture store that once flourished with fervor, now sits vacant, coated in peeling signs and chipped paint. A Cleveland sign mural on the Chatham side of the building, on occasion, attracts sightseers taking pictures in front of the mural.
According to Architectural historian Craig Bobby, the building was constructed in 1890. The owner was John Sommer, and it was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm Cramer and Fugman.
An article, “W. 25h Furnishings plans to close by the end of July” in the July 2015 Plain Press, offers some history of 2104 W. 25th prior to its becoming a furniture store. The building served as a dry goods store to compliment the West Side Market and the fruit and vegetable merchants that lined the sidewalks on W. 25th Street from Lorain Avenue to Chatham in the 1940s into the 1950s. This was prior to the opening of the fruit and vegetable stands at the West Side Market. The dry goods store had several different names during that period. For many years, it was called Sahley’s Grocery until it changed ownership and became Shalala Grocery prior to closing in the late 1950s.
2104 W.25h Street’s last tenant, W. 25th Furnishings, had its origins in a building just south of Chatham at 2138 W. 25th. Herman Herskovic and Gilbert Rosewater opened the original furniture store there sometime in the 1940s. In the late 1950s, after the closing of the Shalala Grocery, the W. 25th Furnishings moved north of Chatham to 2104 W. 25th for more space to house furniture. They later expanded to take the space next door as well, once occupied by the Victor Tea Company.
Tom Feuerman was an employee of the furniture store at 2104 W. 25th from 1969-1979. Alex Feuerman says he arrived in Cleveland ten years after his brother in 1978. The brothers bought the furniture business and took over the lease for the building in 1979 and worked together as owners of the business, selling new furniture at West 25th Furnishings.
“For 36 years, it was a great business,” Alex Feuerman said. He said West 25th Furnishings sold new furniture and “business was tremendous.” Alex Feuerman said that if he and his brother had owned the building, they would still be there. They wanted a 3-to 5-year extension of the lease but Ari Maron of MRN Management, which owned the building, “told us to leave.”
Alex Feuerman said Maron planned to lease the upper floors of the building to the Cleveland Hostel next door and had another tenant in mind for the ground floor. Both the expansion of the hostel and the new tenant for the ground floor failed to materialize and the building remains empty now two years after West 25th Furnishings closed its doors.
Alex Feuerman says he is still in the business of selling furniture. He now works for A to Z Furniture at 1860 E. 55th Street in Cleveland.
Editor’s Note: This article is a correction of the original article that appeared in the September Issue of the Plain Press.