YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In 1929, when homes didn’t yet have refrigerators, Dom’s Ice House opened on Youngstown’s lower east side. Today, 90 years later, Dom’s is still selling ice out of the same spot.
It’s one of the longest continuously running businesses in the city.
Dom’s is housed in a house on Lansing Avenue, just behind the Royal Oaks Bar and Grill.
Mark Detesco said people find it strange that the business is operated out of a house in the middle of a neighborhood.
Detesco and his late partner, Pete Salpietra, bought Dom’s Ice House 22 years ago, but as the landmark sign out front reads, Dom’s has been on the same corner since 1929.
Ice back then was the only source of refrigeration.
“There was many, many ice houses back then. As you can see, we sit in a neighborhood, so that permitted people to come down, to walk down if they had to, to get ice and walk back,” Detesco said.
When Detesco bought Dom’s, there were half of a dozen local companies selling ice. Now, he’s the only one left.
Pete the Penguin is on the front of every bag at Dom’s Ice House and is also prominently displayed on its trucks.
Youngstown State University and the Covelli Centre are two of its biggest clients.
They don’t make the ice here, they never have. It’s bought and bagged elsewhere, then stored in a large freezer behind the house.
“We have somewhere between 200 and 250 customers we take care of over the whole span. We work 12 months out of the year,” Detesco said.
Dom’s Ice House has no plans to close and no plans to move.
Detesco said it would almost be disappointing if the business were to ever move.
“We’re very much a part of the neighborhood… This is kind of a landmark, honestly,” he said.
Detesco said he’s heard stories from people who once lived in the neighborhood — how they would throw a block of ice on each shoulder and head home to put them in the icebox.