Company News

Decor and Doughnuts Unite in Boardman Space

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Two young Mahoning Valley brands – Spruce Home Décor & Gift Store and OH Donut Co. – will share a 2,100-square-foot space beginning this spring.

Demolition work began this week on office space previously occupied by Northwood Realty in the Pelican Park Plaza on U.S. Route 224 for an anticipated opening by late March.

This will be the second location for Spruce, which opened in Niles in 2014, and its first permanent store in Mahoning County following a holiday pop-up store in downtown Youngstown last year. It will be the first store for OH Donut Co., a spinoff of One Hot Cookie that piloted in several popup shops last year.

“We had a great response from the community,” says Morgen Reamer, president of OH Donut Co. “We’re so excited to partner with our friends at Spruce to bring this whole experience to Boardman where you can shop and grab a bite to eat.”

The concept grew out of the longtime friendship between Spruce’s brother-and-sister co-owners, Nicholas Giancola and Erica Lewis, and the mother-daughter founders of One Hot Cookie and OH Donut Co., Bergen Giordani and Reamer, as well as the two businesses’ collaborations on several popup shops last year.

“We are moving into a place where people really want experiences. It’s not just about shopping and it’s not just about getting a donut or a cup of coffee. They want a place that they can go that’s different and unique,” Giancola says. “By bringing these two concepts together, we’re creating an experience for people, a destination that they can come to. Rather than just running in and running out, we hope that they stay, they linger and they really participate in what we’re offering here.”

Spruce will occupy the back two-thirds of the space, while OH Donuts will use the counter space and dining area in front. All cooking will be done in the kitchen of One Hot Cookie’s Boardman shop, which occupies the adjacent space in the plaza.

The partnership with Spruce has been an ongoing discussion for several years, and the proximity to the Boardman One Hot Cookie will help with OH Donut’s operation, Giordani says. “It all just sort of came together at the right time and the right place,” she says.

The collaboration will be “that one-stop shop that you’re looking for,” Lewis says. “You’re going to be able to bring your children in, grab a doughnut and do a little bit of browsing yourself.”

OH Donut will have an additional financial partner providing expertise and financial backing, in Dr. Nino Rubino, Giordani says. Rubino has operated a medical practice for several years and, like she and Reamer, is “a lover of all things dessert and breakfast food,” she adds.

Spruce’s inventory in Boardman will be similar to its Niles store, so customers won’t feel as though they have to go to one location instead of the other to find what they want, Lewis says.

OH Donut will broaden its selection beyond the sweet treats that are its hallmark. In addition to selections that were popular at the popups, including Smoreo and a zucchini-based doughnut, it will offer breakfast sandwiches, “health options” such as keto-friendly egg bites, quiche, gluten-free products, fruits and “a delicious baked brie that we’ve been testing,” Giordani says.

Though both businesses are focused on the upcoming Boardman opening, each set of entrepreneurs also is looking at other avenues of expansion.

OH Donut’s parent, One Hot Cookie is hosting potential franchisees from Michigan this week, Giordani reports. Last year, the company opened a store in Pittsburgh, as well as its first franchised store in Berlin, Ohio.

And on the heels of Spruce’s downtown Youngstown holiday popup, which proved the strength of Spruce’s brand, Giancola and Lewis are “continuing to explore the opportunities with downtown” and looking for space, Giancola says. Downtown has “great buildings but many “need a lot of work,” requiring more of a financial investment than many small-business owners are positioned to make.

“We’re looking for the right space in the right location, and a place that’s ready to go or with an investor that we can work with to really get the space to where we need it to go,” he says.

Pictured: OH Donut Co. President Morgen Reamer and vice president Bergen Giordani are partnering with Spruce Home Decor & Gift Store, owned by Nick Giancola and Erica Lewis, on a space in Boardman.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.