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September Resident of the Month

9/1/2020

Congratulations to the September Resident of the Month - Robin Keenan

If you’re close to her she’ll tell you she’s done expanding, and that she’s finally gonna take a breather. A vacation. A vow of silence. One look at the enchanting smirk on her face – and I know she’s lying. The next minute she’ll divulge with excitement a “secret”... and it’s always a brand new, all consuming (albeit simply genius) new concept that is sure to push her brand further and keep the momentum going.

You simply can’t shake her conviction to further herself. She embodies what it takes to hustle at any cost – and to lift others up while she climbs to the top. She has a vision, and you can feel that every cell in her body is dedicated to seeing it come to fruition. It’s absolutely inspiring.

~ A quote from her endlessly proud husband Sean biography If you haven’t heard about ‘The Little Birdie Wine Nest’ – you’ve been living under a rock.

People from all over Cleveland (and surprisingly far beyond!) have been flocking to this tiny treasure in Parma to experience the joy that guests can’t stop raving about. Owner, Robin Schulze coined this catchy brand as a direct connection to her own moniker. Awarded best wine shop in Parma, and recently Best of Cleveland too – this whimsical wine store, coffee bar, yoga studio, and sip & create playground has completely transformed within its first few years of hatching and is capturing palates and hearts like wildfire.

No stranger to education, or hard work – Robin is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University where she earned degrees in both Biochemistry and Paleoanthropology – graduating Summa Cum Laude, at the top of her class. During her senior year, she spent half the year abroad. Not in Italy, France or Spain as one might imagine a wine lover to take flight to – but in the Afar Desert of Ethiopia. It was here that she spent six months sleeping in a tent located 3 days driving distance from any semblance of civilization, immersed in the culture of a nomadic tribe, hunting for hominid fossils alongside famous paleoanthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie. You can see her published work and findings on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, or on the Discovery Channel special “Discovering Ardi”.

During college and post-graduation - Robin has become entwined and in love with the fine dining restaurant industry - since before she was old enough to consume the beverages that now inspire her career. She has had the pleasure of working for some of Cleveland’s greatest – The Baricelli Inn, Dante, Rockefeller’s, Mapleside Farms, and Red, The Steakhouse as their cellar curator and sommelier. Throughout her restaurant journeys, wine was the constant force that propelled her forward and kept her thirst for knowledge quenched.

In 2016, Robin set her sights on starting her own business to reclaim her family life and spend more time with her pride & joy – her son Aiden. Lovingly addicted to caffeine, yoga and Pinterest – she wanted to combine her love for wine with her favorite hobbies and creative soil. She aimed to open a space where people could come to learn about and taste wine, in a casual and fun environment. (Let’s face it – wine can be an intimidating subject!). She wanted people to feel secure that they don’t need to know a lot about wine to start enjoying it, and to create an atmosphere where people felt comfortable and at home.

The Birdie, as it’s affectionately known by fans, opened in the Keystone Plaza in northern Parma in 2017. Robin chose to land in Parma, because it is her beloved hometown and believes it deserves to be spotlighted for the great neighborhood that it is. With a village of excited family and friends behind her, she filled her nest with local art and hosted weekly wine tastings.

Never one to slow down, Robin has kept her hometown on her mind with every step she takes. She knew there was a need for a small, local coffee shop in Parma – and she had the space and the vision. Sip & Paint classes were becoming more popular, and requests for more regular yoga classes were through the roof ... So, she picked up a sledgehammer (not kidding), and started remodeling her space the first week of 2018 not resting for even a moment after the holiday rush.

She had made a decision to expand her flock.

The Morning Owl Coffee Bar, Crafty Canary Creativity Corner and Balancing Flamingo Yoga Lounge all took flight in early 2018 bringing a plethora of new & exciting concepts to the original brand. 2020 brought a series of unexpected challenges, but Robin and her team rose to the occasion pivoting to create a thriving to-go kit business alongside a variety socially distanced events. In early July she and Sean welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Cash Thomas, but didn’t let that stop her from also launching The Purple Penguin Frozen Treats in mid-August – partnering with the mega-brand Jeni’s Ice Cream and Buzz Pops frozen cocktails to offer a new array of experiences to her guests! The Little Birdie has truly become a “social sanctuary” for people of all ages, abilities and interests ... a place where you can relax, and get away from your daily stress, and enjoy life’s little pleasures surrounded by your flock.

And to think ... It’s only just the beginning...