YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A grocery store in Youngstown has officially reopened, a dream for the local owner.
A new beginning for Gene’s Market, roof leaks were fixed and the counter was enclosed. The store has now reopened.
“Perseverance. Overcoming that everything that I had to do just to get to this point, I mean, this whole lot of sad, a whole lot of happy,” said Roncarlos Hilton, the owner of Gene’s Market.
The grocery along Hillman Street has another new chapter. Bridgeway Capital, a commercial real estate office out of Pittsburgh, heard the story and asked just two questions before getting involved.
“We said well, is it a low income area? Is it a food desert? Yes,” said Marty Randal, a commercial real estate officer at Bridgeway Capital.
The company provided a $3,500 grant and backed a $78,000 loan.
Gene’s Market has fresh fruits, including pineapple, and fresh vegetables like onions and potatoes.
The purpose was to provide a place with fresh items, so people can buy them close to home.
“You can have somebody in the immediate neighborhood who can [provides this] service…and that’s what I’m trying to do,” said Hilton.
Gene’s is taking this approach one step at a time. The shelves and cases have good items, but they’re not full. Hilton knows what would be an extremely popular addition.
“Deli meat man, I think Deli would help me out,” said Hilton.
Hilton is proud of how Gene’s Market has grown in the neighborhood, and knows there is plenty of work ahead. But so far, he’s been able to turn lemons into lemonade.
“His dad had this vision. And you could see when Roncarlos talked about it, how important it was for him to fill his fulfill his dad’s dreams,” said Randal.
As RonCarlos’s dad would say, “The turtle won the race.” He didn’t quit despite the obstacles in the way.
RonCarlos hopes the next person in a similar situation will remember those things. He also likes the potential for that part of the city.