Steelite Opens ‘World Class’ Showroom Downtown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Steelite International, one of the largest manufacturers of tableware in the world, has transformed the former Youngstown Club into a bright, new showroom that CEO John Miles says has no rival.

“I think there’s no other showroom globally where you’re showing tableware for hotels and restaurants this size,” says Miles.

Tuesday evening Steelite held a grand-opening for phase one of what it’s calling the Youngstown Corporate Showroom and Experience Center. Miles says when all is said and done the center will represent an investment of more than $1 million.

“It’s very much world-class,” he says.

The center has a total footprint of just under 18,000 square feet and occupies most of the fifth floor of the Commerce Building downtown.

Miles says the space is about five times bigger than the average Steelite showroom, and is about 70% complete. The company also operates showrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington D.C.

“We still have a commercial kitchen build-out to do,” as well as 7,000 square feet that will be used for buffet equipment, Miles says.

The main area consists of the showroom, which is lined with shelves featuring tableware produced for a wide variety of restaurants, and the former bar area, which is now an entertainment space.

In the area that used to be the back bar, Steelite plans to build a mixology space for designing cocktails.

“We’re literally getting six or eight phone calls a day some days,” says Miles of the demand for the center.

Already several dozen appointments have been held at the location, with clients coming from as far as Chicago and Germany. Most, Miles says, stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel two blocks away.

“We’ve literally rented hundreds of rooms over the last few months there and the reaction has been terrific.”

Steelite is headquartered in New Castle, Pa., and manufactures 40 brands of tableware for the hospitality industry. The company ships products throughout North and South America from its warehouse, also in New Castle.

In addition to providing a showroom for Steelite products, the company’s marketing manager, Alison Clingensmith, says the center will provide training for salespeople.

Work is set to begin on the kitchen area early next year. Once the space is complete, “We’ll bring chefs in that can actually do plating and then serve people, and do menu preparation,” she says.

Cameras and other recording equipment will also be installed in the ceilings so Steelite can record the demonstrations at the center “and project them to our other showrooms,” Clingensmith explains.

The opening of the Youngstown Center comes as Steelite is completing work on an $8 million expansion of its distribution center in the Millennium Technology Park in New Castle. The 52,000-square-foot warehouse will include office space and light manufacturing operations.

“If you drive by the site you’ll see a lot of steel hung,” although the rain has made it difficult to proceed as fast as the company would have liked, admits CEO Miles. “I think we’ll be in that facility sometime between the end of April and the middle of June, weather dependent.”

Pictured: Steelite International CEO John Miles stands in the new showroom in downtown Youngstown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.