The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


February 10, 2009

Saybrook Plaza filled with history and 14 great places to shop

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Terri Hiltabidel, co-owner of Wiscum Pampered Pet Products, is happy with her family’s choice to open their store inside the Saybrook Plaza on Route 20 in the township.

“We chose the Saybrook Plaza because we liked the location and our rent is reasonable, especially because we have a large storefront,” Hiltabidel said.

Wiscum’s, which opened in late summer, occupies a 40-foot storefront.

“Before we opened, the plaza manager, Bennett Kest, was easy to work with and was very supportive of what we wanted to do with the store,” she said.

The Saybrook Plaza was built during the 1950s and was the place to shop on the west side of Ashtabula, Kest said. Kest, who owns Kest Property Management Group, in Cleveland, has been associated with the plaza since his childhood.

“There is a lot of history here. It was my dad who shot the Fourth of July fireworks off the roof in the 1970s,” Kest said with a smile.

The owners of the plaza are Dr. Harvey Kulber and wife, Linda, and family, as well as David and Evelyn Simon and family. These families are all Cleveland natives but have resided in California for many years.

“The plaza has been in those families for 40 to 50 years,” Kest said.

The retail business is based on trends and customer traffic patterns, and it is subject to change.

“In the late 1980s, big enclosed malls came to rural areas, and once the big stores moved in, the smaller stores followed, pulling tenants out of the plazas,” said Daniel Raiz, of Tribeca Real Estate Corp., of Cleveland, which leases Saybrook Plaza stores to tenants.

The Saybrook Plaza was affected negatively by the mall trend. Many clothing and shoe stores moved out of the plaza and into the Ashtabula Mall — now the Ashtabula Towne Square — when it opened in 1992.

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