Downtown Circle convenience store celebrates Thanksgiving with turkey giveaway
By Sarah Lehr
People escaped biting wind and scattered snowfall Sunday as they stepped into the warmth of Downtown Circle.
The convenience store at 116 W. Federal St. hosted a free Thanksgiving feast.
A line extended outside the business’s doors for the meal that included turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, salad and green-bean casserole.
“It’s really important to give back to the community that supports our business and comes through here every day,” said Lina Adi, manager at Downtown Circle. “It’s so wonderful to see the smiles on everybody’s faces.”
George Ball, another Downtown Circle manager, added, “They support us as a small, family business. Everybody that comes here is part of the family.”
Volunteers, some of whom were affiliated with the Residence Inn – Marriott of Niles, spent the afternoon serving close to 200 free dinners.
“It’s really important to give back, and our team has found a way to do this,” said Jack Butler, Residence Inn general manager. “It’s been a great experience just interacting with everybody who comes through here.”
This year marked Downtown Circle’s third turkey-dinner giveaway.
“The idea came to us as a way to show our appreciation for our customers,” said Al Adi, Downtown Circle owner. “This is the time of giving, and we saw that there are quite a few people that come here that are in need.”
Adi opened the small convenience store, which includes a deli section, in 2011.
The business received approval this month from the city’s Design Review Committee to convert into a full-service grocery store, which is expected to stock more hot foods and produce.
Downtown Youngstown has lacked a full-service grocery store for decades. Within city limits, there are only four full-service grocery stores.
Roughly 75 percent of Youngstown residents live in “food deserts” more than a mile away from a full-service grocer, according to Youngstown State University data.
“If you look at the history of the downtown and what the downtown has been through with the rich culture and the difficulties after the mills closed, then it drives you to support the area,” Adi said. “I’m proud to say that we were one of the first businesses to take [a] risk by moving back into the downtown.”