After 40 Years, Cornersburg Italian Still a Family Affair
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Cornersburg Italian Specialties store has been a staple business on the westside of Youngstown for decades. And although ownership has changed over 40 years of business, the products that its customers have grown to love and expect have remained the same.
Tony Tringhese – who owns the store alongside his wife, Patti, and daughter, Katie Salupo – said it is a great idea to recognize local businesses and will be sharing the news of his stores’ recognition with everyone he sees.
“We were told, when we bought it, by strangers even, that they love the food and do not change things,” he said. “[They said] make sure everything is the same, so it’s a thrill to own this. We’re obligated to our customers.”
At the time of the transition, Salupo and her husband had moved up from Cincinnati. When the previous owners, Anita and Tom Mraz, said the store was available for purchasing, the Tringhese family knew the store’s legacy had to be carried on.
“Our thoughts were the place runs good, the food is really good, we’re going to come in and learn it and not mess with anything,” Tringhese said. “That’s what we did for the first six months and then we were able to tweak things.”
Every year, the store adds employees. When the Tringhese family bought the store six years ago, they had only eight employees, but now they have 25. The store was presented with the city of Youngstown’s City of You Business Spotlight June 7.
“I plan to eventually sell this to my daughter and I’m trying to talk her husband into opening a couple more throughout the city,” Tony Tringhese said. “Maybe we can come downtown.”
The stores’ sales are close to $800,000 a year, up from $550,000 under the Mraz’s ownership.
“Once [customers] come in and they get the rolls, the homemade sausage, we got them hooked,” he said. “They’re in every week.”
Patti Tringhese’s thoughts on receiving the award made her and her husband realize just how much the community appreciates them and Cornersburg Italian Specialties.
“I love Youngstown,” she said. “We raised all seven of our kids here and we still have two that are here. It’s nice to be able to be a part of the community and I’m glad they recognized we’re doing our part or trying to.”
She continued that the transition in ownership went smoothly and most of the employees under the Mrazs stayed on board.
“We really depended on them to tell us and teach us what we needed to know,” she said. “They are great workers.”
Salupo, the store’s manager, said it was an honor to be recognized because of all of the other great food in the city of Youngstown, especially Italian food. It was that cultural tradition, she said, that convinced her husband to move across the state.
“To be honored this way really says a lot about our business,” she said. “When I was little, I remember coming in here with my parents and now there are 40-year-olds who still come in to buy the same cheese or the same meatball mix.”
Plans are in the works of expanding the store’s catering. Apart from that, Salupo said, not much will be changed because of what their customers love and what they have grown to appreciate over the last 40 years.
“People know what to expect,” she said.
The City of You Business Spotlight award serves to spotlight small businesses in the city of Youngstown to help celebrate the investments they are making. Director of Community Planning and Economic Development, Sharon Woodberry, said this helps businesses get the word out about the services they have.
Youngstown City Council has been working to get this award up and off the ground. Fifth Ward Councilwoman, Lauren McNally, said she was excited to see the first recipient and for the future plans in the works for the award.
“[It can bring] exposure,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to let residents and people in the surrounding communities know what Youngstown has to offer.”
Pictured: Tony and Patti Tringhese bought Cornersburg Italian Specialties six years ago.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.