Youngstown displayed its entrepreneurial spirit when its steel industry, long the backbone of its economy, virtually disappeared in the ’70s, causing the city’s population to tumble from its 1930s-1950s high of more than 165,000 to just 65,000 today.
With a smaller city less dependent on a handful of huge industrial concerns, Youngstown provided more opportunities for people with great ideas and a shoestring budget. The Youngstown Business Incubator has fueled technology and software startups, with Youngstown State University, now the area’s largest employer, offering educational resources for the young and creative. The city’s central location and ample infrastructure make it a convenient and attractive city in which to do business, and new small businesses including restaurant, bars and shopping have been springing up.
The city retains many of the cultural institutions, parks and architectural assets it acquired in its manufacturing heyday, including the Butler Institute of American Art, the McDonough Museum of Art, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and its elegant Stambaugh Auditorium. The new 6,000 seat Covelli Center, built in 2005, which has hosted artists like Elton John, Tim McGraw, John Mellencamp and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, brings new visitors to the city.