“I’ve lived in Cleveland practically all my life and moved around everywhere here. But then as Cleveland started growing, with all the new industries coming in like Wacker and Volkswagen, now, I hardly ever see anybody I know,” she said.
Creasman said her family was the first to own a television in Cleveland and people would come to her home when she was a child to visit and enjoy television. Her parents, Arnold and Alice Ware, were always sociable, as were her brother and two sisters. Creasman was the middle child and always enjoyed company.
“All the neighbors would come and crowd around the TV,” she said. “We enjoyed that. When Dad came from Riceville to Cleveland he went to a radio school. When he finished with his education in radio he went to work for B.F. Goodrich. They needed a radio repairman at the time. So they gave him space to set up his shop. He stayed there for five years. After that he started his own business. That’s when T.V. was just getting started. He was very good at what he did.
“He also started a record shop — the only one in Cleveland. We furnished all the music for WBAC (radio). We’d let them have the records to play and did a tradeoff on advertisement. It was called Ware Record Shop. As we got older — about age 14 — me and my siblings started working there. We were in business when Elvis Presley hit the scene. You can imagine how many records were sold! It was very exciting for me as a teenager! All my friends would come there and I would work until about 6 o’clock. We’d listen to records and we’d dance!”
Those were the days, according to Creasman, when people spent quality time with their friends and neighbors. But like her hometown of Cleveland, Creasman, who graduated from Bradley Central High School, was also changing.
“I got married after high school and my husband and I moved to Palatka, Fla., because he was employed with Bowater and he transferred to Hudson Paper Mill,” Creasman recalls. “I finished my education there at St. Johns River College. I majored in business. We were there for four years and then we came back. They offered him a better job at Bowater and we’ve been back ever since.”
Creasman said she has seen many changes in her hometown over the years — changes that remind her of how far Bradley County has come in half a century.
“It used to be just a little Southern town — not a lot of people,” she said. “When my father first came to Cleveland he was just a young man from Riceville who wanted to finish his schooling. He walked from Riceville to Cleveland. He had a sister who lived in Cleveland, so he stayed with her while he went to school. Then he married my mother. He would put a mirror in front of a TV, then, get behind it and that’s how he studied it. Later on, he was so good with technology that Zenith offered him a job. He went with them for a while, but he came back to continue his own business.”
Now that she was married and had a family of her own, Creasman focused on the business of doing what was best for them. One of her best decisions came later in life when Creasman had the opportunity to go into a commercial business with her daughter, Brigitte Miller.
“I was working down at the courthouse for Doug Elrod at the Tax Assessor’s office,” Creasman explained. “My daughter, Brigitte, had been going to school in New York. When she came back she met her husband and they got married. She was a buyer for JCPenney but she decided she wanted to do something better with her degree. She said she wanted to start her own business and call it ‘The Accent Mark.’ She said it would be a gift shop and she needed a partner. I said, ‘OK.’ So I quit my job at the courthouse, after six years, and we’ve been in business almost 25 years.”
As the oldest independently owned jewelry and gift shop in Cleveland, Creasman and Miller has been able to thrive in a competitive business, thanks to loyal customers and quality goods that still reflect the roots and down-home taste of Cleveland’s rich history.
“My parents were both very good people and I hope that’s what people will say about me,” Creasman said. “They were hard-working, honest people. My mother stayed home and raised the family, and Dad was successful in his business. Like them, I’ve lived a good life. I feel I’m honest and I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I hope they would say that about me. That’s how Brigitte and I have stayed in business — we still deal with people like they’re people and we give them what they want.”
Their location on 2435 Spring Creek Blvd., behind Jenkins Restaurant, is their third location since opening in Cleveland. Creasman said if there was one thing she would love to do it would be to travel, sightsee and enjoy more people.
“I’ve traveled a lot. But I would like to travel some more,” she said. “I love England. I’ve been over there twice and I loved it. I’d love to cover Europe.”
Still, Creasman admits that her heart always has and always will belong to the prosperous and progressive place she calls home.
“I still like the hometown feeling you get in Cleveland,” she said. “I think the slogan for Cleveland is perfect — The City With Spirit.”