Kufleitner Eyes December Opening for Dealership

BOARDMAN, Ohio – John Kufleitner, owner of Boardman Chrysler Jeep Dodge, asks, “How could you not have a Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Boardman, Ohio?”

Kufleitner has been developing his dealership here since announcing in October 2017 he would close his Salem location. He still owns his dealership in Columbiana. During the Boardman Civic Association’s annual dinner last night at Boardman Park, he told those gathered he expects the new dealership to be open for business by late December.

“It’s going to be a great project and I plan on growing old there,” he said of the new dealership. “I don’t plan on ever retiring.”

Kufleitner does more in the community than just sell cars, he said. He is involved with the Rich Center for Autism and Potential Development, a nonpublic charter school for children with autism, and he plans to host fundraisers at the dealership, he said.

“I have twin sons who are autistic,” Kufleitner said. “They’re 19 years old, so they’re going to be with us forever. They have their own offices and I have mine. Everyday we’re going to come to work, hang out, make the most of it, sell cars and have a little fun.”

The blacktop at the dealership is 70% finished and there will be between 15 and 20 more days of laying tile, Kufleitner said. Painting is still being done to the interior and the drywall is almost finished, he added.

Kufleitner looks to open the dealership with about 800 new vehicles and work his way up to about 1,600, which he believes is possible, he said. “It’s an up and coming project. Jeep is a hot brand. Not quite as hot as Subaru, but we want to be the hitter in Mahoning County,” Kufleitner said.

Kufleitner is looking forward to being in Boardman and he plans to create more jobs, he added.

“The finished product is what everybody is going to see, so we need to give our best effort everyday, every time,” Kufleitner said. “What we do now is really important.”

A new business is also brewing at the Southern Park Mall as Joshua Langenheim, owner of StoneFruit Coffee Co., announced he will open Steel Valley Brew Works there. The local brewery and entertainment venue will connect and overlook the new DeBartolo Commons, an outdoor athletic and entertainment green space and event venue replacing the former Sears location.

DeBartolo Commons is expected to be completed during the second half of 2020, according to the Washington Prime Group, the Columbus-based owner of the mall.

“I am elated at the chance to bring Steel Valley Brew Works to life,” said Langenheim in a statement. “I believe in Youngstown and I thank Washington Prime Group and Southern Park Mall for sharing in that belief.”

Steel Valley Brew Works will serve coffee and baked goods during the day, while during the later part of the day it will focus on craft brewing options, said Matthew Jurkowitz, vice president of development at Washington Prime Group.

The coffee shop and brewery will encompass 12,000 square feet and will host leisure games such as foosball, billiards and indoor bocce, Jurkowitz said. In addition, there will be places where people can hang out, or Youngstown State University students can do their homework and grab some coffee, he added.

“As a part of our entertainment district, I believe this is going to become more of a town center,” Jurkowitz said. “This is one part of what is a broader entertainment district surrounding DeBartolo Commons.”

Steel Valley Brew Works will offer organic and fair trade coffee, as well as baked goods and a selection of local craft beer. The company will also partner with food trucks.

“I hear far too often that, ‘There is no opportunity in the Mahoning Valley,’ ” Langenheim said. “Contrary, what I’ve learned is that opportunity isn’t handed out, it’s created.”

Additional plans for the mall include an indoor golf and entertainment venue, as well as a popular local restaurant. Those additions will occupy some 37,000 square feet of renovated space at the mall.

Demolition of the former Sears space is ongoing and the Sears Auto Center demotion is complete. Construction traffic isn’t expected to impact mall shoppers, according to the release. The renovation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the mall next year.

Pictured: Attending the Boardman Civic Association dinner were (from left) Brian Gabbert, general manager of the Southern Park Mall; Matthew Jurkowitz, vice president of development with the Washington Prime Group; Krista Beniston, director of zoning and development, Boardman Township; John Kufleitner, owner of Boardman Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership; John Geletka, senior director of leasing with the Washington Prime Group.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.