Star Supply Gets New Owners; Few Changes Expected

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Some things are changing at Star Supply, but a lot of things are not.

The interesting surplus hardware store, a staple in Youngstown for 55 years, is still family-owned, just by a different family.

Star Supply was purchased in late May by Jamie and Nikki Gummo, a brother and sister team that owns Surplus City Inc., a similar store based in Altoona, Pa. Surplus City has four locations in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland.

Star Supply customers may not see a lot of changes, but they may notice a lot of new products.

“So far they have flooded our store with merchandise,” said Karla Hodge, longtime Star Supply general manager.

“It helps us keep our prices down and offer more of a variety to our customers, and people seem to be very pleased with it.”

For instance, Star Supply has been unable to stock paint for some time, but it is now available. 

Karla Hodge, general manager of Star Supply, said the store will continue to offer “the same service.”

So many new items have been coming in, Hodge said the challenge has been finding places in the store to display them the way Star Supply traditionally does.

“If you thought Star Supply was interesting before – now loaded with inventory that people are not used to, it is definitely an adventure now.”

Nikki Gummo said the features that make Star Supply different will remain, including the Ford Pinto – with a slingshot on the roof – that sits outside the store.

“It’s a unique place, so we really don’t want to change much,” she said.

The Gummos are third-generation business owners, operating and expanding what their grandparents Marshall and Emmy Jones started in 1976. Surplus City’s website includes a long list of hardware, automotive, craft, houseware, seasonal and pet items.

It is a very similar business model customers are used to seeing at Star Supply. In fact, Nikki Gummo said Surplus City has done business with Star Supply for years. She said her brother started considering if they should purchase it even before Covid. 

Richard Rosenthal, the founder and owner of Star Supply, died July 30, 2019, leaving the business in the hands of his wife and family.

“The Surplus City was a customer of ours, so they knew Richard,” Hodge said. “The father, the grandfather and even the son, Jamie, knew Richard. They dealt with Richard and dealt with us for many, many years. … So Jamie was really very familiar with the store, very familiar with what we carry and how we navigate the demographic down here in the Mahoning Valley.”

Since the sale of the business closed the last week of May, the Gummos have come to work at the new store, meet the employees and make a few operational changes in the office. And they have brought a lot of new merchandise with them.

“One of the biggest draws here was we have a staff in place, many of us with many, many years of experience,” Hodge said. “Overall, it’s been a positive experience, and we hope they are embraced in this community like Richard was.”

Rosenthal came from New Castle, Pa., to start Star Supply 55 years ago. His store, located in the Mahoning Commons neighborhood, was widely known because it doesn’t just offer typical hardware items. Those who browse through the store can also find unexpected closeouts and suggestions of unique uses for products.

After Rosenthal died, Star Supply employees worked to continue operating the store in the tradition he started, and Hodge said she believes the new owners are striving to do that as well.

“This works, so they don’t want to break what’s not broken here,” Hodge said. “We are still offering the same service and making sure our customers leave here happy, and we’re trying to provide more and better bargains.”

Pictured at top: A camouflage Ford Pinto with a slingshot on the roof sits outside Star Supply.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.