Today is a good day to visit Coventry Village.

Coventry Customer Spotlight: Meet Eric Coble, loyal customer of Big Fun

 Coventry Village is just 1/4 mile and home to over 40 independently owned businesses. This holiday season, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the loyal customers that shop, dine and enjoy Coventry Village.

They’ve shared with us why (and where) they shop small, favorite mom and pop spots, gift ideas, holiday traditions and fun ways to spend winter in northeast Ohio. Thanks to all that support Coventry Village. It’s customers like YOU that help us build a neighborhood!


Customer Spotlight: Eric Coble

Occupation: Playwright

Cleveland Heights Resident

Loyal customer of Big Fun


Q. We hear you’ve been shopping at Big Fun for over 23 years! What keeps you coming back?

A. When my son needed a vuvuzela — where else was I gonna go?  Of course, Steve Presser had one!  I need crazy small and large gifts to give to all my friends and relatives? Big Fun.  

When my play “The Velocity of Autumn” was opening on Broadway, I went to Big Fun to find opening night cards for the cast and crew — there was a special magic, almost a talisman quality, in knowing that I was bringing something from this corner of home into that vast playing field, to give these national artists gifts from the localest of local shops.

Q. In your opinion, what makes Big Fun standout?

A. I travel around the country a lot for my work, and I can say that there are only a handful of stores like Big Fun in the entire nation.  The combo of vintage toys, new toys, gags, comics, old and young shoppers laughing together, remembering together, pop culture weirdness and a new delight/horror around ever single twisty corner of the store?  Only at Big Fun.  Only in Cleveland Heights.

Q. Why do you think it’s important to shop local? 

A. Part of why I love living here is because I can walk to a local store and find what I need, getting help from people who know their stuff and actually care.  I love knowing who actually owns the stores I shop in, knowing that we’re all eating at the same restaurants and experiencing the same community.  We’re in  it together, and we help each other out. 

As a writer, I know what it’s like to pursue your dream in the face of harsh economic realities.  Every local store is run by someone who is pursuing their dream, and they chose to pursue that dream in the town I chose to live in.  I’m here because of them, they’re here because of me, and you can’t put a price tag on that sort of community.  Plus you find weird stuff in local stores that you never find in a chain.

Q. Any other Coventry favorites?

A. Mac’s Backs always helps me find just the right book for gifts (and oh, the browsing!) City Buddha for the gifts I can’t get at Mac’s
The Exchange and Record Revolution for all my used DVD, LP, and CD needs (‘cause I ain’t digital)
Tommy’s, Inn on Coventry, Hunan, Pacific East, Pho and Rice, Guy’s Pizza, Piccadilly Yogurt — all fill my mouth with deliciousness
Marc’s for groceries (and a surprising amount of organic stuff!)
Huntington for very personalized friendly banking
Heights Hardware for keeping up my 100 year old house
Phoenix Coffee — my office away from the office
Coventry Library — my home away from home

Other local favorites are Zagara’s, Anatolia Cuisine, Cedar Lee Cinema, Dobama Theatre, Black Box Fix, Ensemble Theatre, First Watch, Stone Oven Bakery, Luna Cafe, Alternative Solutions Car Care, the list goes on and on…

Q. Give us your list of top things to do in Cleveland during the winter!

A. Sled at Coventry hill or Cain Park hill; stay inside and watch movies; cross country ski on side streets if there’s enough snow; ice skate at Wade Oval; soup and mochas in local cafes; push neighbors’ cars out of their driveways when they’re stuck; run around in museums!

Q. Help our readers with their holiday shopping, recommend unique and fun holiday gifts from Big Fun!

Besides the Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story”?  How about boxing nuns for the relatives who don’t get along so well? Old Atari games for the kid who’s played everything? And nothing says holidays like fake dog poop.

Q. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

My wife makes Aebleskiver (Danish pancakes) on Christmas morning — we eat and eat and laugh and eat and play music and eat. THAT’S the way to start a holiday.

Thank you, Eric, for taking the time to share with us!

Big Fun

1814 Coventry Road

  Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118

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Big News from Big Fun — Big Fun holiday pop up shop in their former space on Clifton Blvd. Through January 3rd, get your Big Fun on, east and west!  Get the scoop here! Big Fun will also be a part of the Cleveland Bazaar on Coventry, happening this Saturday, December 5th.


Want to meet more Coventry customers? Check back here tomorrow and become a fan of our Facebook page.

Each weekday this holiday season, we’re introducing you loyal customers who the small businesses of Coventry Village. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

Photo credit: Gabe Schaffer. Copyright: CVSID & Gabe Schaffer 2015.