We Love the Local List- The Greater Youngstown Area

by - Friday, June 24, 2016

This is a new blog series where we can each sing the praises of our favorite local shops, brands, and restaurants. 
Supporting local businesses does even more than supporting small business owners (though that is great too). It keeps your money local to you (not off wherever the Waltons are vacationing), creates more jobs for your friends and family, and even helps the environment. 
Why is shopping local good for the environment? We talk a lot about commutes and how much fuel people use to travel, and the same applies to your stuff. The further your stuff has to travel, the more fossil fuels they use and energy they waste. Large companies and chains pretty consistently show less responsibility and concern for the environment and the communities they are in, so you can effect positive change locally and decrease your environmental impact just by shopping and eating local! 
 This blog intends to encourage us to get out and explore the businesses near where we live. See it as a fun challenge to see what you can support nearby and be surprised what amazingness you may have missed. You can also check out other lists to find the coolest places to go when you travel to new places!  

Paige has lived in the Youngstown Area since she graduated from college, and she has done lots of exploring, looking for the kinds of stuff super smart 20-somethings care about (bars, bookstores, places to eat). This isn't a great area for walking, so the spread is a little wider, and I am excited to hear Paige's ideas. We are up to 4 states! Paige also actually calls me with good news about starting recycling programs at her work and other big steps she is taking in her life to be more eco-friendly. Basically, she is this blog's favorite person. I love her suggestions, so let's get to it:

from city-data.com
Mojo’s (Austintown)- This bar is relaxed and not creepy, which I’ve found to be a rarity in the area. I occasionally go for dinner by myself, and I’ve never felt uncomfortable or been harassed (last time, the bartender helped me make some connections at the community theater). The restaurant area is quiet and the food is excellent, so it’s my go-to when I have visitors. Best of all, there’s a comedy club in the basement that brings in popular talent (Like SNL members you forgot about). Plus, they have an even ratio of men-to-female comedians! Hurray for funny ladies.

Flaming Ice Cube (Boardman)- This vegan cafe also hosts knitting classes and sells all sorts of earthy, hippy-inspired pieces that are made by locals. I highly recommend the cucumber kale detox, as it is all kinds of refreshing. The yellow candle that was supposed to align my chakra, while pretty, has debatable usefulness.

Flutterby Books (Hubbard) - I didn’t realize this existed until just a few weeks ago, but it is the best little bookshop I have found in the area. They have new and used books, in all sorts of editions, and the owner said her supplier comes in so often that the shelves are different every week. She also keeps a stack of postcards that she gets from random vendors, and gives them out for free to encourage people to write to each other. I love it.

The Art Cafe (Boardman) - This cute little studio in the Boardman mall hosts your usual pottery painting wares, but they also have birthday parties and paint and sips. Because they have the license to do a paint and sip in their store, you’re also able to bring a bottle of wine in whenever you want! So if it’s Saturday at 10am, and you feel like a little merlot will help you paint the most creative vase ever, you go for it.

D’Onofrios (Hermitage) - I should probably let my mom talk about this one, because it was her find and she’s the one who inspired my own love of it- but D’Onofrios is like walking into the grocery store of the 60s. The floors are waxed, the meat is local, the bread fresh, and not a single self-checkout to be seen. They carry the usual grocery store items, but they also have their own line of some things (especially meat-type mixes). They take a lot of pride in keeping that place spotless, and I appreciate it.

The Wizard of Odds (Austintown) - There are actually two of them now, but both are as fun as they sound. I wouldn’t call it a boutique, but I wouldn’t call it antiquing either… it really is just as the name suggests. Full of odd (but fun!) stuff. Bonus for them, I dropped my credit card there and hadn’t realized it was lost, but some customer found it and they called in chase services and made a point to find me. Once they found out I had deactivated the card, they destroyed the old one, and when I showed up and they realized who I was they made sure I knew it had all been taken care of.

Angels for Animals (BFE) - I was trying to think of something in those areas that didn’t cost money, and AfA may seem unconventional, but follow me here. This has to be one of the best kept shelters I have ever seen. People drive from states away to get an animal there. Their staff is paid (and there is leadership among them, not just a few people thrown together), they have their own vet staff, and they love to help you help them. When I first fostered kittens, they brought them to me along with everything else they could need. Because the Cat Director lived closer to me than I did to the shelter, on days the kittens needed to go in for check ups I would drive them to his house in the morning before work, and he would bring them back in the evening. Just a bunch of great people dedicated to cleaning up other people’s irresponsible choices, all with smiles on their faces.

Sidewalks- Hermitage (at least my neighborhood) is full of them! Do you know how great it is to be able to safely take a walk? I mean, I know we’ve got our trails, and buhl park, but I’m just excited to walk to my massage therapy salon. This convenience has not always been available to me, so if you do have it, take a second to appreciate how great they are!

Want to write your own Loving the Local List? You fill my heart with joy! Just send me a list of your five to ten favorite local brands and stores (it doesn't have to be just around the street- a State specific snack or small chain of restaurants works just fine). Write a few sentences on why you love each thing (and I love pictures if you have them) and send them to sunshineguerrilla@gmail.com.
Would you like to buy more environmentally responsible or Made in America products? I've got you covered! Check out my Mega List of Shopping Lists for tons of ideas for any shopping trip.

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