Common Goods Studio Opens ‘Small Business Megahouse’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Customers can have their eyes drawn to several items while walking into Common Goods Studio, all of them from companies in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

The store, 2000 Canfield Road in Youngstown, is taking advantage of the number of companies, artisans and makers in the area. Owner Sheri Bodo describes her business as a “small business megahouse,” stocking items from 45 local vendors.

“I think Youngstown spreads more across the country than we think,” Bodo said. “You meet people in other states that are still from Youngstown, and even other countries. So having that heartbeat of a strong business was something that I wanted to bring into this space.”

Customers can purchase anything from a cup of coffee to earrings to yarn. Bigger Youngstown companies such as Youngstown Clothing Company and Branch Street Coffee Roasters also have their products on display at the store.

All of Bodo’s coffee products come from Branch Street, and she added two former Branch Street employees as managers to help expedite their café services. Common Goods employs seven.

“They had a lot of Intel from the owner and learned from him for the last two to three years that they worked there,” Bodo said. 

The 23-year-old graduated from Kent State University with a degree in fashion merchandising, quickly putting it to use by launching The Back Rack with her sister. The store sells vintage handmade goods and clothes, as well as Penguin City Beer apparel. But customers were unable to walk through the doors when COVID-19 hit.

“I thought, when I saw this space, if I could invest myself and my time and effort into a space that would not only help my business but 50 other businesses at the same time, I thought that would be great for the area,” Bodo said.

The little cluster of stores at the corner of Canfield Road and Bears Den Road, not far from Lanterman’s Mill, is in Bodo’s stomping grounds. She was born and raised in Youngstown and lives down the street, so when she saw the empty space, she jumped at the opportunity.

The storefront was gutted and redesigned, with everything from the paint to the plumbing needing to be restored. In total, Bodo invested $70,000.

“Being a young person in Youngstown, I feel like it’s my privilege and my right to be able to give back to that community and try to grow it to what it once was at one point,” Bodo said.

Even for her young age, Bodo understands that she is different from other business owners in the area. She’s young, female and Black – all are traits she’s proud of as an entrepreneur. And she hopes to see others start to follow their passions as well in Youngstown.

“I hope to show other Black business owners to take the stride because we need more pop-ups,” Bodo said. “We need them in this area.”  

Pictured: At her store Common Goods Studio, Sheri Bodo stocks items from 45 companies throughout the region.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.