Friday, September 18, 2009

Mahoning Valley Hidden Delights

Today's blog post from i will shout youngstown takes us inside an urban secret garden. The Mahoning Valley is full of such treasures. I argue that this is the essence of Rust Belt Chic, but every region has under-appreciated assets. The point is that there is a lot more going on in a shrinking city than an outsider would think and those strengths deserve celebration.

Another example is Just Pizelles, a cookie boutique that was recently featured on The Rachel Ray Show. There is nothing more authentic than a family run business, particularly when it comes to food:

It would not be possible without the help of my amazing family...from physically helping to 'drizzle', package, and do shows with me (my mother/partner); creating efficient ways to produce my products and develop ideas for multiple uses for pizzelles (my father/research & development); giving me ideas for new flavors and helping me set up my booth at shows (my husband/labor assistant); willing to monitor the quality of my creations (my brother/quality control); helping with fundraising activities, brainstorming about other markets to explore and fun flavor creations (my niece/marketing). My friends also make a huge contribution with their devoted support and the extraordinarily "hard" task of taste-testing my new "concoctions"!!!

Just Pizzelles is a relatively new and growing small business in an area that most people perceive as dead. Liminal Youngstown incubates ideas and risk taking. Geographically independent ventures are particularly robust here. If it doesn't matter where you do your thing, there are few places as advantageous as the Mahoning Valley.

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