LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From the beginning, the General Motors Lordstown plant has been crucial to the Valley’s economic success. Even with fewer suppliers today, it still has a huge impact on local businesses.
Earl Ross was just 21 years old in 1997 when he opened Ross’ Eatery and Pub on Tod Avenue in Warren. He soon learned what it would take to be successful.
“Long business hours, 6 a.m. ’til 2:30 in the morning, six days a week, just to try and catch all three shifts of General Motors. That’s a longer day than most restaurants and bars.”
Ross’ is the last place GM workers see before turning into the plant entrance, and the first place on their way out. It’s been a recipe for success for the restaurant.
“Sixty percent of my business is generated through General Motors or people supplying parts to them.”
Ross notices when there’s a change at GM, such as the summer and Christmas shutdowns or work stoppages due to a shortage of parts.
“It’s a light switch. I’ve seen it when they have shutdowns. I have to adjust my business hours, cut staff immediately.”
Ross credits his 18 years in business to good word-of-mouth advertising. He knows the workers’ time is important, so he tries not to make any mistakes.
“Twenty minute lunches for them are very short, so I specialize on deliveries to the plant.”
Nese’s Country Café is two miles away on Salt Springs Road. It just opened two years ago and has experienced tremendous success from being near the assembly plant.
“We zigged quickly to make deliveries to the plant. A lot of the departments didn’t know we delivered,” said owner Denise Moss.
Nese’s always makes sure to have a special or two on the sign board so workers will know before heading into the plant.
“Every quarter from every dollar that we make here is just from delivery to the plant,” Moss said.
She says the sales numbers are growing every day. Nese’s made $68,000 in carryout sales last year, which is roughly $188 a day.
“Judging by the number of people I talk to and the customer flow in and out, I’d say it impacts us quite a bit,” said Lisa Grammatas, head waitress at Nese’s.
Nese’s has already talked about some improvements it wants to make because of the business.