By Jenna Latcheran
With Youngstown’s unfortunate reputation of having nothing to do, many do not know where else to go besides the standard bars and restaurants that dot downtown. My City Hangouts seeks to offer some alternative options to Youngstown residents, students and visitors.
My City Hangouts is a website-turned-app, which is becoming a one-stop shop for deciding where to go each night. More than 200 businesses are a part of My City Hangouts.
Different businesses offer specials, student discounts and a variety of events that are made available exclusively from the app.
This app originally started as a website when Jeremy Morales, president and CEO of the company, and Kevin Arcuri, Morales’ right hand man and senior account specialist, got tired of the “same old thing” and not knowing where to go in Mahoning Valley.
“With nothing to do and no place to go gives off the idea of a ‘dead city,’” Arcuri explained.
The website has been up and running since 2011, and the app has been in use since last year.
Morales and Arcuri explained how their app is helping businesses all over the Valley.
“My City Hangouts gives a more consistent and closer relationship to businesses. By businesses participating in this app, gives them publicity, exposure and also gives a new perspective to a restaurant or bar,” Arcuri said. “The business will give us all the information they wish to present, we go in and take pictures of the business front, inside and select menu options to display on their link.”
Morales also said that the businesses that are part of this app, so far, have seen an increase of traffic in their business. He also noted that this gives each business the opportunity to be on an equal playing field with competitors.
My City Hangouts is partnered with the athletic and student affairs departments at Youngstown State University.
Sean Meditz, vice president of university affairs for YSU’s Student Government Association, explained how My City Hangouts is working with YSU.
“[Morales and Arcuri] are also currently working with YSU athletics to promote YSU’s athletic events,” Meditz said. “I strongly encourage all students, living locally or commuting from outside of the Mahoning Valley, to download the free app. The application gives students the opportunity to find hangouts, bars, restaurants, events and much more that they would normally not have the chance to encounter.”
The app also has a link to special YSU exclusives that give students discounts to the restaurants on campus, as well as exclusive offerings for the Scrappers, Phantoms, Covelli Center, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course and a number of local restaurants.
My City Hangouts is hoping to expand to gyms, tanning salons, hotels and shopping centers.
Morales and Arcuri would like to stay local to the Valley’s four counties. By staying politically and locally connected, they hope to become a household name when deciding where to go out or what to eat.