By Emily McCarthy
After a year that saw businesses shut down and buildings stand vacant, the north side’s Elm Street is full of spots exhibiting a variety of art and food choices. This year, a few new businesses are growing among them, just a block off campus.
Heather Seno and Steph Blair opened Art House on Elm Street in April. Every month, they hold free events accepting donations for the artists selling their items in the gift shop. They are currently working on their fifth show of the year, with bookings all the way through February 2022.
“Art House is working with a different business model than traditional galleries [because] we rent our wall space for artists throughout the month,” Seno said. “This allows the artists to understand their initial buy-in and create pieces at multiple price points in order to sell more art work. … We also hold many group shows that allow artists to participate in shows at a discounted rate than traditional group shows.”
They encourage artists to create smaller pieces for the gift shop at a lower price point. Openings are held the first Friday of every month from 6-9 p.m.
Gino West, is founder and business owner of Prepped Wellness for nearly five years. But he opened his physical cafe space in June after making complete renovations to the building. West graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in dietetics and decided he wanted to use his degree for a more integrative purpose rather than in a clinical setting. Starting from his own home, he wanted to show others how easy it is to maintain a “sustainable, healthy, living.”
“[The cafe] put a face to the business … we have a build-your-own platform where you can pretty much pick anything you want,” West said. “My whole drive is to show the area that it doesn’t have to be boring to be healthy … all of our sauces are made in-house. I make everything from scratch. It’s super fresh ingredients.”
Prepped Wellness is now partnered with YSU athletics and is on the Pete’s Points program. West also added a smoothie bar to the business.
“I created my platform, Prepped Wellness, to take the whole mindset out of how to start, maintain … Just live a healthy lifestyle, like just let me do it for the person,” West said. “I started out in 2017 just basically doing all personal, in-house cooking … I kept driving my passion and my vision.”
After opening the commercial kitchen, he said he was able to expand and include delivery services covering five counties.
Other businesses on Elm Street include a food truck called Dalia’s Caribbean Kitchen, Culture House Coffee, Her Primitive Ways Red Road Apothecary, and Once Upon a Time Art Line.