Introducing ‘Unsung Heroes’ of Small Business

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — More than 100 small businesses have been nominated as “Unsung Heroes” for the Rally Around Small Business. Starting Wednesday, The Business Journal and The Daily Buzz is introducing you to some of them.

Intern Nami Nagaoka spent a week touring the region, visiting 20 of the nominees. She met with the employees there and spoke with owners and managers about some of the challenges they face running a small business in the five-county region.

“I was really impressed with all of the business owners. They care so much about how their business can positively impact their community,” Nagaoka said. “That’s what drives them. Even when they faced difficulty or downturn, they didn’t give up.”

All of the business owners prided themselves on providing excellent customer service, she said, because maintaining a good reputation in the community helps them grow. Nagaoka’s first stop was Advanced Marking & Printing at 6000 Mahoning Ave. in Austintown, where owner Carol Fye stresses good service to compete with e-commerce.

“It’s so important to be able to walk into a store and try on a pair of shoes to see if they fit or to see if you even like them,” said Carol Fye, owner. “Service today is primary. You have nothing else. Prices are very equal – everybody charges around the same prices for most stuff. It’s the service that sets you apart.”

In addition to service, it’s important for small businesses to remain engaged with the community, said Brad Grace, owner of Grace Exterminating at 715 N. Meridian Road in Youngstown. Grace and his 25 employees strive to help make the Mahoning Valley a better place to live and work, he said.

“We all live in the greater Youngstown metropolitan area. We’re all active in our churches and in our social groups.” he said. “There’s nowhere else we’d rather be.”

Hear more from Fye and Grace in Wednesday’s Daily Buzz, and keep watching as we talk to more of our Rally nominations. Nominees are featured in the May, MidMay and June editions of The Business Journal.

Nominations are open until May 31. Go to to nominate your Unsung Hero.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.