[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
YOUNGSTOWN — The past year proved to be challenging for small businesses, but Youngstown native Sheri Bodo is hoping to change that in 2021 by opening Common Goods Studio.
Common Goods Studio, 2000 Canfield Road, will be a small business co-op, featuring inventory from 45 Valley businesses, including MandaBees Headbands, Dash & Verve Designs and Ely’s To Go when it opens Feb. 1.
In addition, the 2,000-square-foot studio space will have a coffee and cocktail bar serving Branch Street Coffee Roasters and a menu that specializes in dairy-free and vegan options, as well as a photo studio, a common space that could be turned into an event center that can be rented or used as a photo studio that can be rented.
“I like to say that Common Goods Studio is kind of a mecca … of small business and community combined together,” she said. “I think that's really great for the customer because anybody who walks in can find something that they love, and we really want to cater to all people.”
Bodo, 22, is no stranger to small business start-ups as the co-owner of The Back Rack, which specializes in up to date transformed vintage and upcycled goods. Additionally, Bodo also has a background as a corporate retail buyer.
When The Back Rack changed its business model to online-only amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bodo said deciding how to revamp and rethink her business model was a learning experience, though she missed the one-on-one connection with customers.
That sentiment is what initially inspired Common Goods Studio.
“I wanted to make an opportunity for my own business to really still get in touch with that customer, and not only be able to do it once a month with a flea or with an artisan market but do it 365 days a year,” she said.
“When you don't have a standalone retail store anymore for small businesses [customers] want to go to the bigger guys because they're always readily available,” she added. “So making a store where your small businesses can be there any time of the day, any month is something that's going to be extraordinary and revolutionizing in the area.”
Bodo said Common Goods Studio will also have a virtual shop, so customers can purchase from vendors online.
Bodo told Mahoning Matters that it's important “now more than ever” for both small businesses and consumers to come together to keep the small business economics in Youngstown alive and growing.
“Being on that track to revamping the area is something that I really want to be on and hopefully Common Goods Studio can aid in that,” she said.
“We don't have a stipulation of how long you've been in business to be with us and be on our team,” she added. “We want to welcome everybody and grow together as a community, and we hope our customers also want to grow with us as well.”
For more information on Common Goods Studio, their vendors and how to get involved, visit the Instagram account, @commongoodsstudio_, or the website.