YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A well-known Youngstown native and founder of the Youngstown Flea, Derrick McDowell, bought a new building in downtown Youngstown.

On Saturday, he gave First News an exclusive tour and talked about what plans he has in store for the community.

With the pandemic interrupting plans within organizations, McDowell started thinking outside the box.

“We really got to thinking about how do we make our business our platform that supports so many other small businesses, a lot more pandemic proof,” McDowell said.

So, he bought a 150-year-old building that used to be a steel mill in downtown Youngstown.

“You’re looking at the new home of the Youngtown Flea, 365 East Boardman Street, but you’re looking at a larger platform and plan than that,” McDowell said.

He says that the Flea is just one component of what he wants to do with the building. He says this will be a mix used community space.

“I want to speak directly to this community and let them know this is for a small business owner on the south side. This is for the entrepreneur dreaming on the east side. This is for those on the west side. This is for the entire city of Youngstown,” McDowell said.

There will still be a traditional Youngstown Flea that will be held inside and outside the building, but this platform will allow them to work closely with small business owners, helping them from start to finish.

“A better way to say it is we want to do Flea school. We want to teach entrepreneurs how to be better, how to build business acumen,” McDowell said.

McDowell is having an open house Sunday morning from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

He hopes to see everyone there.

“This is for us,” McDowell said. “This is not just something for the Flea, not just something for downtown, but this is for us, and the only way, again, it works is when we come together to make it work.”