Company News

Star Supply Celebrates 50 Years in Business

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — It’s been 50 years since Richard Rosenthal moved to Youngstown with $7,000 and started a machinery and equipment store on Mahoning Avenue.

The business has changed since then. As the area’s steel mills closed, Star Supply moved to offering household goods and overstock merchandise, “essentially anything I could get my hands on,” he says.

On the shelves is everything from construction tools and equipment to countertops to sheet metal to furniture to windows to home decor “or whatever else the next truck is bringing in,” Rosenthal says.

“Star Supply is not just a destination store where you come for a predetermined item,” he continues. “That’s boring. Star Supply customers browse, they discover needs and desires they didn’t even know.”

Among the customers at Star Suppy are business owners, homeowners and artists. What they all have in common is creativity, the owner says.

“The goods find us and the customers find us,” he says. “It’s a natural connection.”

Initially, Rosenthal says his goal was to keep Star Supply small and manageable, avoiding the pitfall of “it managing me.”

But with the attraction to closeout prices and an always-eclectic selection, the store grew and evenutally moved to its current site.

The store, 875 Mahoning Ave., employs 16 and is immediately recognizable by its green building with bright yellow piping and signage on the outside, as well as several sculptures edging its parking lot.

While Rosenthal, now 76, has offered aisle after aisle of you-never-know-what for 50 years, he says that he has no plans to retire.

In general, each year has been better than the last and 2018 is shaping up to continue that trend, he says.

“I’ve always operated by the seat of my pants and it’s served me well,” he says. “The only plan in place right now is avoiding retirement.”

When it comes to planning for the next 50 years of Star Supply, Rosenthal says he’ll stick largely to the plan that helped the store reach its golden anniversary.

“People know the old saw about ‘Enjoy what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ ” Rosenthal says. “I’ve managed to do it.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.