By Cailey Barnhart
Local apparel brand Youngstown Clothing Company held its grand opening in the Southern Park Mall on Nov. 14.
The event featured a fully renovated storefront, cornhole tournaments, giveaways and an abundance of local food and spirits, including White House Fruit Farm doughnuts, Penguin City beer and DiRusso’s sausages.
The store, which opened seasonally last year, is now open year-round, along with the clothing company’s smaller collection available at StoneFruit Coffee Company in Boardman.
Dante DiRusso of DiRusso’s Sausage set up a stand to hand out samples of Italian sausage and celebrate the grand opening.
“[Youngstown Clothing Company] has done some T-shirts for us in the past. We did a marketing campaign with them and we worked with them throughout the Canfield Fair. We wanted to come out and support them during their big grand opening.” he said.
Catie Komsa, a sophomore human resources major at Youngstown State University, saw the event promoted on Facebook and brought her mom along to holiday shop for her father, who loves Youngstown-themed clothing.
“I love [the store]. I’m hoping they expand and offer more sweatshirts and hoodies and zip ups. I love that it’s more than just T-shirts,” she said.
Komsa has worked at the mall, and she talked about the changes that are underway.
“It has dwindled down and a lot of places aren’t as popular anymore, so it’s cool to have someone bring in a store that’s going to bring in customers.”
The Youngstown Phantoms were also at the event to promote their next game, and Michigan native Aiden Gallacher was excited to have access to Youngstown gear.
“I think opening the store in the mall was really smart. With this time of year, you have a lot of holiday shoppers, and they should be getting a lot of traffic,” he said.
Youngstown Clothing Company, which began in 2015, highlights the pride of Youngstown by creating apparel revolving around everything the city has offered throughout the years, from Idora Park to the Canfield Fair. The company wants to “not just create designs but tell stories.”
The opening of the Southern Park Mall storefront comes as major changes are underway at the mall. Washington Prime Group, which owns the mall, is planning to turn the closed Sears into a 4-acre green space named DeBartolo Commons that can host events year-round.
“DeBartolo Commons will be a place where people can hang out. We are working with Boardman Township about this being a hub for youth sports. We hope to have a great concert series. Whether it’s coffee, craft brewery, if it’s the best, we are interested in having it here,” Lou Conforti, CEO of Washington Prime Group, said in an interview with WMFJ.
It was announced Monday that Joshua Langenheim, owner of StoneFruit Coffee Company, plans to open a craft brewery in the newly renovated mall.
Steel Valley Brew Works is said to offer “local craft beers, specialty coffee, baked goods and a state-of-the-art coffee roasting facility.”
The brewery will feature indoor recreation, such as bocce courts, billiards, pinball and foosball tables, and is said to occupy approximately 12,500 square feet of mall space.
The renovations are estimated to be complete by fall 2020.