For Originals. By Originals.

Van Aken Entrepreneurial Initiatives

The Van Aken District has always endeavored to be a collection of local and regionally owned small businesses providing unique products and experiences with an equally intriguing story. Our tagline and driving force is, “For Originals. By Originals.” We are proud of the unique mix of products and service offerings as well as the diversity of vendors and business owners in the Van Aken District.

The new Van Aken District Entrepreneurial Initiatives program is designed to enhance this mission by offering early-stage entrepreneurs – especially people of color, women, and all underrepresented entrepreneurs – the opportunity to showcase their ideas, products, and services within the Van Aken District community. Our goal is to lower market barriers and minimize risks associated with starting up or expanding a business. Through a holistic set of support services from other merchants, non-profits, and partners, including the City of Shaker Heights, we hope to grow these burgeoning entrepreneurs into the future restauranteurs and merchants in the Van Aken District and beyond.


Want to showcase a creative line or several products?
Fresh entrepreneurs can lease a small retail space on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Want to feature a single product? Fresh entrepreneurs can lease shelf space in an existing store to showcase a product and tell their story.


Are you a caterer or have a few great recipes that you would love to use to open a restaurant? Or perhaps you a ready to transition from your food truck? We have just the place for you to experiment and grow.

The leasable space within the bustling Market Hall is pre-built for all food preparation needs and can be customized to meet the demands of the individual entrepreneur and its customers

Sample Support Services


Learn from Van Aken District merchants


Access to programs and seminars on business development


Marketing support from Van Aken District and professionals


Invitation to participate in the Van Aken Business Association


Business plan creation assistance


Connections to assistance with MBE/FBE certification processes

Retail Opportunities




Makers Markets

Mobile Retail Carts

The Corner

There’s so much creative talent out there.

We want to know more about you and you’re creating, but at this point in time, we’ve amazingly overwhelmed by the level of interest that we have to pause taking applications to ensure that we can serve those who have already submitted their business. We will certainly open the application back up to all in the future!