WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – When Jerome Justice got his first job working at a Giant Eagle, he never imagined he’d one day be running a store.

“It can be done, I’m no different than anybody in this store. If I can do it, anybody can do it in all honesty,” Justice said.

It’s been a month since Justice took the position of store manager at the Mahoning Avenue in Warren location. He’s the first African American man to hold the position in the area. He says this gives him the opportunity to show younger workers it can be done.

“Growing up, I really didn’t have black males to look up to in a professional atmosphere, a professional workspace. And that’s one of the key things that I wanna put on my plate, that they can see that. So that when a kid walks in Giant Eagle, they can see someone that looks like them and be authentic to who they are,” he said.

Justice has a strong background in community involvement. It’s what got him to where he’s at now.

“Whatever type of partnership we can have with the community is key… I really wanna show the impact, and really be the change,” Justice said.

His desire to give back to the community stretches far beyond his time at Giant Eagle. Being community oriented is something he’s always felt was important.

“When I knew I had a passion for being involved with the community was when I was running the Villa… I was hands-on with the kids, embracing the kids, seeing the kids… It encouraged me to honor them with perfect attendance gift cards, report card gift cards, and from that, I just wanted to figure out a way to increase the reach,” he said.

Now, he’s taking steps to make sure customers feel appreciated and the community feels supported. 

The store now has a weekly customer appreciation, where customers are chosen to receive gift cards.

“So, all of my perishable departments, every week, they’re now charged with finding a guest, let’s get them a gift card, and let’s write down what their recommendation is,” he said.

Justice is also running a Harvest for Hunger Campaign. He also plans to hold future events for kids in the area.

Justice says he wants to create a space that the community feels connected to.