Businesses Build Their ‘New Normal’ Across the Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — As we Rally Around Small Business, we surveyed area business owners to see who is back to “normal” as day-to-day life starts to open back up.

The results are a mixed bag. Over the next few weeks, we’ll spotlight these snapshots on our website, email newsletters and social media platforms.

What follows is a selection of businesses and their responses.

Carmella’s Adds Outdoor Dining

Submitted by Lisa Kelso, manager, Carmella’s Cafe

Is your business back to normal?

We’re trying to get back to normal and are inching our way there.

What is your “new normal?”

The new normal involves adapting to a stronger demand for outside dining, which we’ve done by expanding our patio for this warm weather season. It also means perfecting our take-out process, including staffing ourselves appropriately and managing the kitchen so that we can accommodate both in-person and takeout customers timely and accurately. It also involves a stronger emphasis on retaining employees. A lot of area restaurants are struggling to staff up as business comes back to levels we were used to before the pandemic. It’s a competitive market right now for servers and kitchen staff, so our first priority is to take care of the ones we have.

How do you Rally Around Small Business and support the business community?

We’ve got several local businesses nearby our Boardman restaurant whose employees we consider some of our most loyal customers. One way we support small business is by taking great care of these customers, particularly the ones on their lunch break who are limited on time. We also patronize area small businesses like ours – even the restaurants! – every opportunity we get.

‘Micro-Weddings’ at Concept Studio

Submitted by Mary Ann Meyer, owner, Concept Studio Events

Is your business back to normal?

No. Gatherings and parties are still limited because of decreased occupancy counts. We try to accommodate our clients’ events that have smaller guest lists.

What is your “new normal?”

We host micro-weddings and events with less than 50 people.

How do you Rally Around Small Business and support the business community?

We support local caterers and vendors when planning an event. We offer special rates for downtown businesses and local small business vendors when hosting meetings, luncheons, and vendor pop-up shops. We support and have worked with United Way, Lit Youngstown, Youngstown Streetscape.

Legacy Christian Home Care Adds Protocols

Submitted by Joseph Bleacher, president, Legacy Christian Home Care

Is your business back to normal?

We are operating with the new normal. Operating as we did before pre-COVID is a long way away. I think it has been a learning experience and moving forward we will include this knowledge in to our practices

What is your “new normal?”

Our new normal is operating with heightened protocols in order to protect our elderly population. We have not had any of our families that we are serving contract COVID from our services.

How do you Rally Around Small Business and support the business community?

We are looking to start support groups or events.

Hope Center Sources Supplies Locally

Submitted by Crystal Shells, senior oncology liaison, Hope Center for Cancer Care

Is your business back to normal?

The Hope Center for Cancer Care has remained open during this national pandemic. Our team is committed to serving our patients in the greater Youngstown/Warren area.

What is your “new normal?”

In working with local and state health departments, we made modifications to provide a safe, quality experience for our patients at both locations in Warren and Youngstown.

How do you Rally Around Small Business and support the business community?

We support local vendors for our lab coats, sanitation of both locations and patronize local restaurants for our staff.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.