When an Old Establishment Becomes a New One

By John Stran

George Case, the owner of Geo’s Music, relocated his business from above the Draught House to West Boardman Street last semester.

Case moved above the Draught House after experiencing issues with the roof. When offered the space above the bar, he took it and also offered to man the kitchen.

During his time there, Case found things that he didn’t like, one being that it wasn’t handicap accessible.

“There were customers who didn’t want to go into an alcoholic establishment,” Case said. “I lost a lot of my gospel customers and because it was on the second floor, I lost a lot of my handicapped customers as well.”

Case was not resentful towards the bar. He and Roxy Zoccoli, manager of the Draught House, both agreed that the whole idea just wasn’t working out. As for the empty space, Zoccoli said they are still unsure of what will become of it.

The September move put Case back into his previous shop with a new and improved roof.  The size of this building gives him more room for records, CD’s, jerseys and enough space to jam with his band, Geo C and Tha Storm.

The location downtown is something that Case feels is often overlooked.

“The downside is that a lot of people from YSU don’t realize that it’s here,” Case said. “They think that downtown ends with Federal Street.”

An occasional worker and frequent customer that goes by the name L.A. said that he enjoys the location.

“[It’s] perfect, I love coming in here because I learn something new about music every time,” L.A. said.

L.A. has been in and out of the shop for about 15 years. Case looks out for L.A. because he is homeless, but L.A. looks after the store and Case’s band by setting up his equipment.

Case and his shop have been downtown for twenty years. Born in Painesville, Ohio, he took the trip down to Youngstown to attend college and play for the YSU baseball team. His playing days ended abruptly after an injury left him unable to play.

He stuck around because he knew that he wanted to open a record shop here. He opened his first shop at about 25 years-old on West Federal Street where V2 is currently located.

“I spent every last little bit of money that I had to open the shop. I had to make it my temporary home and sleep in the back where there was no electricity,” Case said.

Since his opening, Case has seen many businesses come and go in the downtown area. Witnessing this has given him an idea as to how to resurge the area.

“If downtown had more retail businesses, then all the current bars and restaurants down here would not have to rely so heavily on those at YSU,” Case said. “It needs to become more family oriented, as opposed to just a place for nightlife.”

As far as Case is concerned, he and Geo’s Music aren’t leaving Youngstown any time soon.