Q&A with Beachland Ballroom’s Co-owner Cindy Barber

Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy, owners of Beachland Ballroom in Collinwood

Are you a musician?

No, but I am passionate about music.

What made you open a concert venue?

I worked for music/record companies, including Decca which later became MCA, when I was 18 doing office/administrative work and was exposed to the business. I took orders from people like Michael Stanley for their record stores.

I moved to the area because of the lake, rented for a while then bought a house on Lake Erie so I could look at the sunset every night. I was the editor of the Cleveland Free Times, which was bought by a chain. So, I moved on to do something to help the neighborhood. It took a lot of sweet talking with the banks because no one wanted to support a concert venue in North Collinwood.

What did you do prior to The Beachland?

I helped found the Cleveland Free Times and was a writer, editor and production manager. I also ran the production department at Northern Ohio Live.

How did The Beachland Ballroom get its name?

Euclid Beach Park, an amusement park from 1894 to 1969 operated in the area less than a half mile north of the building. The term “Beachland” became slang for the North Collinwood Neighborhood at that time, and the venue was named in homage to the era.

Why did you locate in Collinwood?

I’ve lived in Collinwood since 1986 and wanted to do a destination location in my neighborhood with the hope of heading off some of the crime starting to happen. I also knew that I couldn’t afford to open a place in the Flats or downtown. I found this former Croatian hall, brought in a sound man who said it could be a good club, approached Mark Leddy, who was booking bands at Pat’s in the Flats, to be my partner, and the rest is history.

How do you pick which musical acts to host?

My partner does most of the booking now. After 18 years on the map, booking agents who represent talent reach out to us, and we trust them to give us quality artists for reasonable prices.

How many acts have come through The Beachland to date?

Within three weeks of being open, the White Stripes played the Beachland. Mark booked a lot of garage rock that first month, and we were off to a good start. Since then, I would estimate that close to 30,000 bands have played The Beachland because, on average, we book three bands per night in each room five nights per week.

Who is your favorite musical artist?

I like music from the 60s – singer-songwriters like Carole King, Van Morrison and Springsteen.

What is your most memorable moment?

The first time we sold out the ballroom for the Black Keys. We helped them get started with their first manager and booking agent. They’re from Akron and played their first show ever at the Beachland.

What was your greatest challenge?

Not losing money on the acts. In our industry, the average profit margin is 1 percent. We can lose $3,500 in one night if we only sell 100 tickets. We have to pay a guarantee to a booking manager for different amounts such as $5,000, $10,000, etc. In Cleveland, there are more concert venues than ever and free outdoor festivals. We have the same number as Chicago, but they have more people. And, people still are afraid of the neighborhood. Things have changed here. It’s a grassroots Renaissance with a diverse community participating in the arts. This community is full of creative people who are trying new things, such as nonprofits and helping kids. People need to see the full scope of the neighborhood, and we need more support and participation. I want to get the neighborhood to support Waterloo and all of its organizations. All of the businesses can use clients and would appreciate your patronage.

I hear that you are involved in many ventures in the community including airbnbs. Tell us about some of your side projects.

I started a nonprofit called Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present and Future, which is a gallery specializing in music memorabilia. We hope to have rehearsal space in the former bowling alley next to the Beachland that we just purchased. We currently are looking for funding and donations to create a music incubator space with a black box video recording component to teach high school and college students how to create content for bands at reduced rates and also to capture live recordings from the Beachland. I try to help people who are moving into the area looking for available space. I own one Airbnb and manage two others.

What do you do when you are not working on these projects?

My dog goes to the office with me. My boyfriend is a big help to me all the time. He has sailed since he was a child; so, we bought a sailboat. I met him at the Beachland, of course, when his brother brought him to a show.

Beachland Ballroom

There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee with friends

coffee at Six Shooter Cafe

Euclid, Ohio, and the Collinwood neighborhood are both full of businesses that support one another. Six degrees of separation. Jerry Schmidt, welding artist of Waterloo 7 Studio, is a customer of HGR. After interviewing him for a blog post, he introduced me to Larry Fielder of Rust, Dust and Other Four Letter Words who also is an HGR customer. I did a blog post about Larry then commissioned him to create a two pieces of industrial art for HGR’s new offices. Larry took me over to Six Shooter Coffee Cafe to see the bars and lamps he had made for the space and introduced me to Pete Brown, Six Shooter’s owner, and to some of the best coffee I’ve had.

Pete moved to Cleveland in 2013 and started roasting coffee in the basement of the place in which he lived for his personal use. Since he was 16, he had worked as a barista in a variety of coffee shops in Columbus, including a roasting company, where he learned a lot about the process. His friends started asking for coffee, and in 2014 he formed a limited liability corporation, and the business took off. His first client was The Grocery on Lorain Ave. In 2016, he opened his first coffee bar on Waterloo Road in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.

Six Shooter Cafe signIn case you’re wondering where the name Six Shooter came from, President Lyndon B. Johnson used to serve coffee on his ranch in Texas. His coffee was said to be so strong that it could float a revolver. Pete likes strong, smooth, flavorful coffee!

Currently, he uses importers from which he buys his beans. Each country produces beans with different flavor profiles, just like wines from different regions. Six Shooter carries beans from Papua New Guinea, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Sumatra. Pete roasts them in-house at the company’s roastery located in the Tenk Machine & Tool Company’s building on the West Bank of Cleveland’s Flats. Pete hopes to get to the size where he can buy directly from the producers.

Six Shooter roasts 250-300 pounds of beans per week, 52 weeks per year. He has a 5 kg roaster and can roast seven pounds of coffee in 11 to 13 minutes. These beans are used in the coffee bar and sold wholesale to grocery stores, cafes and hotels. On May 20, Six Shooter’s second coffee bar is opening at the roastery’s location in The Flats, and the location in Collinwood will be extending its hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

When asked about his life prior to coffee roasting, Pete says that he went to school for education and was substitute teaching and working in a bar, “I was exhausted and broke; so, I decided to work for myself and be exhausted but not broke.” He decided to open shop in Collinwood, where he also lives, because, “I believe in furthering a community, which is why I went into education. I also am on the board of directors for Northeast Shores Development Corporation. It’s about collaboration and being part of a community. BRICK Ceramic makes our mugs. The Beachland Ballroom is a client. Larry Fielder made our furnishings. We use each other’s products.”

Six Shooters provides a unique beverage experience, including monthly specials, such as the lavender honey latte. It serves its own bourbon barrel-roasted cold-brewed coffee, as well as a toddy brewed with hops on nitro. It’s a cold coffee that pours creamy like a Guinness ale. Both of those coffees are nonalcoholic and have higher caffeine content. The coffee bar also has kombucha on draft. He says, “I have a passion for making coffee accessible to people and giving people a good experience and good customer service.”

He works fulltime out of the roastery location, while his wife, Tara, and store manager, Sarah, run the café. Pete and Tara were married in 2016, two months before the shop opened. When they’re not working Pete and Tara of Six Shooter Coffeerunning the coffee business 60 hours per week, they enjoy camping, working out and rugby. Pete played rugby in high school, at Ohio University and on three men’s teams after college. He coaches the Shaker Heights High School rugby team.