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Lakewood boutique gets helping hand on sign: A Greater Cleveland

November 13, 2017 GMT

Lakewood boutique gets helping hand on sign: A Greater Cleveland

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Carly Jones feels embarrassed when people try to help.

The single mom who holds multiple jobs to make ends meet takes pride in figuring things out on her own. That’s how she was raised. That’s how she is raising her two daughters, Michaela, 10, and Ruby, 8. And that’s how she has survived living in Cleveland’s impoverished Central neighborhood.

But Carly admits to feeling relief when business owners and others reach out to assist her on realizing her dream of making her Lakewood clothing boutique, Level Up, a success.

She’s far from declaring victory. She struggles to find enough time at the store to build foot traffic. She’s busy working two other jobs to pay her household bills, including a mortgage. She’s also setting aside money to buy inventory and cover the rent for her storefront in the city’s Birdtown neighborhood.

Carly has so much wrapped up in the store – nothing bigger than the promise she’s made to herself and kids that the store will provide a brighter future. That’s why, when several companies recently offered to help her install a sign above her store, she was overjoyed, even if a little sheepish.

Two local companies and one based out of state reached out after reading on cleveland.com a story about Carly’s attempts to navigate zoning requirements and get a permanent sign installed on her storefront. The story was a part of the A Greater Cleveland series about poverty.

At the moment, Carly is working with Old Souls Sign Company, which has proposed adding a painted sign above her entrance. Carly submitted the new sketches to the City of Lakewood board that regulates store signs. She is confident that with the advice of the companies that stepped forward, she’ll get approved.

About those helping hands, she says, after pausing for moment to reflect, “I’m so grateful and I have to figure out a way to pay it forward.”

A Greater Cleveland is a project of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. See the entirety of our project by clicking here. Reed about the Jones family here.

A Greater Cleveland is a call to action to the community to help identify and remove the barriers to success faced by Cleveland children in poverty. For those moved to make donations, we ask that you consider a gift to the United Way of Greater Cleveland, which is focusing on issues of multigenerational poverty that this series will examine. Because of the sensitive family matters discussed in this series, we have provided the people we write about anonymity and are using pseudonyms to identify them.