“We’re tired; I mean, we really are,” said Mark Canzonetta, owner of Bistro 1907.
Canzonetta said after talking with a number of his colleagues, he is looking to sue the city over business that’s been lost — both to streets being closed as well as a lack of available parking. He has even set up an email — email@example.com — and is encouraging other business owners to contact him regarding his effort.
“‘Cause I heard it from hundreds of guests. They’ll come downtown, and they’re like, ‘We can’t get to your restaurant. We’re going back home. We’re gonna stay in the ‘burbs,” he said.
The lost revenue impacts not only the bottom line of these businesses but also the employees working there, many of whom Canzonetta said are single moms and young people.
“So it really hurts them and their ability to make a steady income,” he said.
Canzonetta said there are times when he actually feels the city wants him to fail here, and he’s not alone.
Some are taking another approach, however.
Attorney and bar owner Jeff Kurz sat down with city officials, looking for their help.
“You lose nothing by working with the city, asking them to work with you and identifying the problems they can help you with,” he said.
His list of ideas includes reinstituting a loan program for businesses that hire and retain workers, utilizing a trolley service downtown as well as marketing the different establishments, and putting up signs directing customers to parking lots, making additional space available.
Kurz said officials seemed receptive.
“A successful downtown Youngstown doesn’t just support Youngstown; it supports the entire Mahoning Valley. The image of the Mahoning Valley is directly tied to the image of Youngstown,” he said.
Kurz said he will now try to sell his ideas to city council members next month — hoping to get the help that’s needed before it is too late.