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Blue Sky Brews takes over former Rising Star shop in Little Italy

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 2/14/2020 By Anne Nickoloff,
a sign on the side of a building: Blue Sky Brews opened this month in Little Italy. © Anne Nickoloff, Blue Sky Brews opened this month in Little Italy.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A new coffee shop called Blue Sky Brews quietly opened this month at 2187 Murray Hill Road in Little Italy.

The cafe space was formerly occupied by Rising Star Coffee, which closed in November and moved to a new spot at 1975 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

Blue Sky Brews is managed by former Rising Star managers Adam Schell and Evan Duly, and is owned by local entrepreneur Ray Hirschman.

When Rising Star announced that it was moving out of Little Italy late last year, employees were told they could continue to work at its new location in Cleveland Heights. However, some employees were unhappy about a lack of communication with workers and other management issues, Schell said.

“They weren’t super clear with us about why we were moving,” Schell said. “That’s the reason why a lot of us ended up moving to this company.”

Hirschman, who has never owned or operated a coffee shop, approached Schell and Duly about opening a coffee shop in the former Rising Star space. The group took about two months to complete light construction -- including a fresh coat of paint and new countertops. Blue Sky Brews officially opened its doors for business around Feb. 6, Schell estimated.

Blue Sky Brews’ coffee menu is less extensive than Rising Star’s, using coffee beans from Heartwood, a roastery located in Chagrin Falls. Bags of Heartwood beans are also for sale inside Blue Sky Brews.

Schell said the shop is working to re-establish itself as a community hub.

“Business has been good, considering that we’ve done literally zero promotion at this point,” he said. “It’s all been word of mouth so far. A few students saw it was open, who were previously regulars at Rising Star, and that was enough to get everybody on the street coming back in. That, and then a few old regulars from Rising Star who wouldn’t make the drive up to Lee Road.”

Blue Sky Brews will host a grand opening celebration soon, Schell said. You can follow the shop on Instagram and its website,

Read related coverage: Rising Star Coffee sold

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