Journal Opinion: 40 Years of The Business Journal

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – This edition of The Business Journal kicks off our 40th year of publication. Each issue this year will include a look-back story. Who did what to advance our region?   What worked? What didn’t? Where are they now? In July, we’ll publish a double edition, “40 Years of The Business Journal.”

We could not foresee the changes that have taken place in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys since 1984, when the region was still reeling from Black Monday and seeking a quick-fix to move forward.

Then, new-car dealerships were owned by local interests. Banking was conducted at Dollar Savings & Trust, Mahoning Bank, Home Savings and Loan and First Federal – names that consolidations would erase along with many more in other industries.

Cellular phones (at first affectionately referred to as “bricks”), computers and fax machines were only starting to become commonplace, their technology far from the multifunctional machines we use today. 

One of our early editorials focused on where in downtown Youngstown a proposed federal building might be constructed, a structure that eventually was built on the site of the old Voyager Motor Inn across from the Mahoning County Courthouse. The owner of the former Haber Furniture store (later redeveloped by Ohio One Corp. into an office building) had sought the federal project for his property, while The Business Journal argued for a West End site.

Another editorial in our early days was a plea to General Motors to build its plant for the new Saturn brand in the Mahoning Valley, one of countless pleas from communities across the nation that sought the jobs and investment the project would bring.

Yet another editorial lamented the closings of three downtown retailers. The owner of one store blamed the “negative attitude of the area, particularly on the part of our local daily news media and other media.”

There certainly was no shortage of naysayers in 1984. Was there a place for a business publication in a market served by two daily newspapers, three network-affiliated television stations and a handful of AM radio stations with their own news departments? 

Argued our August 1984 editorial, “We believe the business community is the major force in revitalizing this area. The business community must have a common communications medium to go further. Here we are.”