By Brianna Gleghorn
The Smoothie Bar on Central Square in downtown Youngstown opened its doors on Oct. 1 as an expansion to the Starting Lineup, a barbershop and beauty salon.
Jerome Franklin, owner of the Smoothie Bar and the Starting Lineup, came across this idea while researching for another potential business, a spa.
“There’s not a smoothie place around here,” Franklin said. “If you want a smoothie, you have to drive all the way to Boardman just to get one. I saw a need.”
The smoothie shop sells smoothies and sandwiches such as wraps and paninis. The inside of the shop has seating and even a couch and chairs for customers to relax while enjoying their meal.
Edward Koltonski, a business librarian, mentioned the importance of opening businesses in Youngstown.
“When Black Monday hit, a lot of people left to find work,” he said. “People had to set up their own economies.”
Koltonski also spoke on the support businesses of Youngstown give one another.
“The businesses meet together and treat it as a cohort not so much as a competition,” he said. “Of course, there’s always competition with products, but they really come together and support one another.”
Corey Patrick, director of marketing and communications of the Youngstown Business Incubator, expressed the importance of opening new businesses in Youngstown.
“New businesses in Youngstown are vital to the cities continued rebirth,” he said. “Over the past five years, I personally have seen an immense change in our cities landscape, as well as the mindset of many in this city.”
Businesses like the Smoothie Bar on Central Square help to give the city another charming attraction.
“Small businesses in the downtown area, such as the new Smoothie Bar on Central Square, are a necessary and welcome addition to the area. It gives people even more reason to visit,” Patrick said.
With Youngstown State University within walking distance, the businesses in Youngstown provide products, eating establishments and entertainment for students after class. The university contains a population of customers right down the street. This shop provides healthy options for students and reasonable prices.
“Being an entrepreneur can be a daunting task to some, but individuals should be aware of all the resources available in the Mahoning Valley to help you through this process,” Patrick said. “No matter the type of business, Youngstown is a great place to start it.”
Franklin plans on hiring YSU students to work at the shop and encourages students who want a job close to campus to apply.