Local Small Businesses Get a Lift from WRTA

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As a young wife and mother of four, Jasmine Hampton knows how easy it is for women to give of themselves until they have nothing left.

“I started [J. Jeneé Spa & Wellness] based on my own journey with mental health, self-care and self-love,” Hampton said. “As I’ve learned how to navigate those waters as a young mother and young wife … I learned how to take care of myself, and I want to provide the same thing for other women.”

As so many women do, Hampton has found herself doing everything herself, including promoting her young business. She has only recently started to let others help her and promote her.

Hampton’s business is one of 13 that will get some promotional help from the Western Reserve Transit Authority’s “Give Local Small Business a Lift” campaign.

This year, in honor of National Small Business Week, April 28-May 4, the WRTA – along with sponsors The Business Journal, WKBN and StrategiX Social – is spotlighting 13 local small businesses.

The selected businesses will be featured on WRTA buses for the next few months and will be promoted on its website and social media pages, on its digital sign downtown and on television.

Jasmine Hampton, left, is the owner of J. Jeneé Spa & Wellness, one of 13 businesses chosen for promotion through the Give Local Small Business a Lift campaign. At right is Stan Sarna, WKBN general sales manager. Hampton’s business won the $3,000 advertising package through WKBN.

A campaign kickoff event was held Thursday morning at Concept Studio, where the businesses were recognized.

During the kickoff event, two businesses received even larger promotions through drawings. J. Jeneé Spa & Wellness won a $3,000 TV campaign, and All Spruced Up Cleaning Co. won a 12-month social media package.

Paige Collins, owner of All Spruced Up Cleaning, said it is important for her business to emphasize safe cleaning products that are better for the dozen employees working for her and the families for which they clean. Through a partnership with Cleaning for a Reason, some of her clients include cancer patients, people who are trying to overcome a disease and have less time to clean. In the future she hopes to form her own nonprofit and support even more people in need.

“Everything we do is to help you out, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about,” Collins said.

Collins gave up her career as a dental hygienist during Covid to start the business so she could be with her family more and provide jobs for others also in her situation – people who need to be flexible and get their children on the bus and get dinner on time.

Paige Collins, left, owner of All Spruced Up Cleaning Co., was excited to learn her business was one of 13 businesses chosen for promotion through the Give Local Small Business a Lift campaign. At right is George Farris, CEO and creative director of Farris Marketing. All Spruced Up Cleaning won a social media package through StrategiX Social.

Not all the businesses honored are new businesses. Some are long established and multigeneration businesses that need a bit of a boost.

Avalon Downtown Pizzeria has been a tradition in the region for many years. Started by the grandparents of Anne R. Massullo-Sabella on Belmont Avenue, the business has changed hands several times. At one point, she says it was owned by her husband’s family long before she knew him.

“It’s really humbling and an honor to see the support of the WRTA to the local small business owners,” she said, noting small businesses struggle without the resources of larger businesses. Like many downtown locations, Avalon Downtown Pizzeria has been navigating the post-Covid landscape, along with construction work downtown. She hopes business will get a boost from the additional publicity.

The other 10 businesses that were selected are Gloris Counseling Services; La La Love Healthcare LLC; Charly’s Family Restaurant; The Joshua Tree; The Emma Elf Project; Rescued to Riches Pet Groom and Board; Bending Oak Permaculture Farm; Haus Auto Group; Guided Compass Holistic Health; and QuickMed Urgent Care.

In many cases, the businesses selected have found a service that gives back, like The Emma Elf Project, which provides craft projects and other resources to help youngsters on the autism spectrum to express themselves.

Nancy Duker started Bending Oak Permaculture Farm after seeing property near her home that had been stripped of its topsoil. She purchased the property and began to heal and revitalize it. Now she uses the farm as an educational opportunity, with workshops and self-guided tours to teach others about sustainable farming and the importance of promoting healthy use of nature.

“Permaculture is actually a process of design,” Duker said. “It encompasses an umbrella term for all things sustainable.” Duker is planning a camp for children this summer, and she hopes that having her logo included with the others in promotions will let people know where the farm is located in Youngstown.

When Monica Deavers started bussing tables at Charly’s Family Restaurant in Austintown as a 13-year-old girl, she never considered she would one day own the business. Originally owned by Robert Bowers, Deavers said she learned all aspects of the business – serving, cooking, being the secretary – as Bowers kept giving her more responsibility.

“In 2010 he said to me, ‘I’m ready to retire and I want you to buy it,’” Deavers said. But she did not have the money to buy it, and a trip with Bowers to the bank proved she did not have the credit, either.

“I don’t want to sell it to anyone else but you,” Bowers told her. “You’ve worked for me since you were 13 years old, and you deserve it.”

He believed in her and fronted her the money to run it for five years while she repaid him and built up her credit to buy the restaurant.

This year’s 13 businesses were selected by three community business leaders who served as co-chairs of this year’s event: Teresa Miller, executive director of Valley Economic Development Partners; Dan Procopio, product manager at CBC Global; and David Wilaj, director of the Mahoning Valley Logistics Council.

Pictured at top: WRTA Executive Director Dean Harris, back row, right, poses with representatives of 12 of the businesses that were chosen to be featured in the Give Local Small Business a Lift campaign.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.