John Slanina waxed nostalgic as he recalled having visited the former Briel’s Flowers & Greenhouse as a child. A large smile then beamed on his face while he explained part of his role in helping to revive the building from which many happy childhood memories occurred.
In late July, the nonprofit downtown beautification, development, and revitalization organization bought the closed 97-year-old building for $145,000. CityScape has a series of plans to remodel and repurpose the building, Sharon Letson, CityScape’s executive director, noted.
In the meantime, the spacious former greenhouse is home to a Winter Greenery Sale and Open House, which began Saturday. The event Youngstown CityScape is hosting continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 4 and December 11. In addition, CityScape will host a night market from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday on Phelps Street in downtown Youngstown, Letson noted.
Among those whose holidays will include a larger dose of greenery are longtime friends Melissa Mancini and Christine Price, both of McDonald. For Mancini, sentimentality also is part of the picture.
“I’ve been waiting for this sale before I can put my lights up,” Mancini said, adding that she will see plenty of family and friends during the holidays, which also causes her to think of those she has lost, such as her father, Robert Hartill.
“Christmas plans have gotten smaller over the years,” she said. “I will celebrate Christmas Eve and have a big feast.” Price added with laughter that she intended Saturday to “bribe my husband” via persuading him to add the Christmas lights and decorations to their residence.
Briel’s, often described as the city’s last urban greenhouse, closed December 31, 2019. Nevertheless, Youngstown CityScape intends to return the building to being a greenhouse, as well as to include a flower shop, along with educational events and workshops on flowers and horticulture.
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