Northside Business Briefs: July 2021
Stay up-to-date on what’s coming, going, and changing in the Northside business community with The Northside Chronicle’s monthly Northside Business Briefs. This month’s briefs feature Live Fresh Cold Pressed Juice + Smoothie Bar, Nearby Creative, Riverview Church Thrift Store, PCTV, Elks Lodge #339, Bier’s Pub, Bistro to Go, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and Highmark Health.
By Ashlee Green
Photo: Nearby Creative Account Manager, Content Specialist Elisa Kownacki and Vice President, Creative Andrew Gordon in a meeting at Alloy 26 coworking space in Allegheny Commons. The tech and marketing agency, which has been renting space at Alloy 26 since 2017, works with some international clients, but their Chief Technology Officer Chris Page said its their local Northside connection that helps the company grow. By Aaron May
Live Fresh Cold Pressed Juice + Smoothie Bar opening location in Allegheny West
Live Fresh Cold Pressed Juice + Smoothie Bar, founded in 2019 and owned and operated by Brett Gilliam and Catey Burget, began in Pittsburgh’s Homestead community. The juice bar is expanding to the Northside’s Allegheny West neighborhood with a second location at 845 Western Ave. later this summer.
“Creating healthy food options creates better communities…,” the company states on their website. “We believe that consumers have the right to expect healthy options in a market full of fast food, while balancing daily responsibilities and routines.”
The Live Fresh menu includes juices such as “24 Carrot Ginger-Aid ” and “Don’t Stop The Beet,” smoothies called “Triple Berry Blast” and “Jungle Fever,” smoothie bowls such as “The Champyinz” and “Cocoa Banana Nut Bliss,” and immunity shots in three different “potions.” There’s also sea moss gel, which is rich in magnesium and potassium and can be taken externally for your skin or internally for mood boosting; juice cleanse packages; and catering available.
Nearby Creative a ‘one-stop shop’ in startup culture
Chris Page, Chief Technology Officer at Nearby Creative, has spent his whole career working in startups. He “hopped around” between New York, remote jobs in California and Seattle, and his hometown of Pittsburgh, but eventually grew tired of the scene.
“I gained a lot of skills and made a lot of great connections along the way,” he said, but he always felt that “the rug kind of gets pulled out from under you.” Page said owners of startups, for example, might change direction with their companies after a couple of years, or the businesses could run out of money and have to let the whole staff go.
“There was really no stability,” Page said. “I needed something that was going to be there forever. I wanted to finally take a stab at making my own thing.”
With that, he came back to Pittsburgh. In 2014, he registered Nearby Creative as a company and in 2017, began renting office space in Alloy 26. Nearby Creative focuses on technical expertise and software engineering; design and branding work; and content creation for websites and mobile apps. Page’s very first client was Huszar Hungarian Restaurant in Historic Deutschtown.
“At the time, [Huszar’s] was my first one-hundred dollar check and I said, ‘I’m in business.”
He met Tim Colbert, Nearby Creative’s CEO, in the process and together they created content, snapped photos, and took over public relations for the restaurant. In the span of the next few years, Nearby Creative grew from receiving its meager first check to “floating $1 million a year now,” Page claimed. The company staffs about nine employees and 10 additional contract workers over various projects.
Nearby Creative works with a wide range of clientele, including Marinus Analytics, a company that uses artificial intelligence to support law enforcement and social workers in the fight against human trafficking, child abuse, and internet fraud across the U.S., United Kingdom, and Canada. They keep it local too, with clients such as “wood-fired concept restaurant” Fig & Ash in Historic Deutschtown: Page said Nearby Creative did all of the restaurant’s marketing, branding, and website from the beginning.
“We can always do the big stuff—we love getting the big stuff—but there’s that connection that is local that helps this company grow,” Page said. “We’re so intertwined; we’re literally working for our neighbors.” So many of the company’s clients have been recruited through relationships that Page joked about Verdetto’s in East Deutschtown serving as his company’s first real office, “… because that’s where we’d meet after work with our laptops.”
Many team members of Nearby Creative are scattered throughout the U.S., so the secret to its success, Page explained, is “less about butts in seats and more about, ‘Is the client happy?’”
“Everything we do is oriented around: ‘Are you enjoying your life outside of work?’” Page said. “We have a motto… ‘Do you love Mondays?’ If not, we have to figure something out.”
Recently, Page added an on-staff videographer. In time, he wants to “scale out” his company from around 20 people to 40. He said clients often ask, “‘Oh, can you guys do that too?’ And usually that answer is ‘Yes.’”
“Often you get a marketing agency that doesn’t do tech or a tech agency that doesn’t do marketing and we’ve always tended to be very deep in both. That’s been one of the key pieces to our growth: We’ve been able to be a one-stop shop.”
Volunteers wanted at Riverview Church Thrift Store
Observatory Hill’s Riverview Thrift Store, founded by the late Marguerite “Margie” Schaefer, is now open again with new COVID-19 guidelines in place. Store hours are: Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The store is located at 3929 Perrysville Ave.
Guests to the store must wear masks to enter and only four people at a time are allowed inside. Everything is half off except for May and June-tagged items.
Reliable volunteers are wanted to help staff the store, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mary Anne at 412-953-1420 for more information.
PCTV now in second phase of reopening
Pittsburgh Community Television Corporation (PCTV)—Pittsburgh’s community access media organization—entered its second phase of reopening on June 1, 2021. Up to two people at a time are now allowed in the production studio and camera equipment is again available to be reserved and loaned out.
PCTV is continuing to operate with a number of COVID-19 safety precautions in place. The organization, for example, is open on a by-appointment basis at this time; no drop-ins are allowed. Visitors are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and must wear a mask at all times except for when they are on-screen. Visitors are also required to sign a COVID-19 release form upon entering the premises. Call 412-322-7570 to make an appointment.
PCTV is located at 1300 Western Ave. You can stay up to date on PCTV’s COVID-19 policies by subscribing to their newsletter at pctv21.org.
‘Banjo Night at the Elks’ back every Wednesday in Historic Deutschtown
Pittsburgh Banjo Club, a longstanding Northside staple, resumed their live performances on Wednesday, June 16 at the Elks Lodge #339 in Historic Deutschtown. Performances start at 7 p.m. and will continue every Wednesday evening going forward.
“We’ve missed you all and hope we see you folks soon,” read a Banjo Club flyer announcing the revamp of “Banjo Night at the Elks.”
Light food and beverages are available for purchase at the Elks Lodge #339 on Banjo Night and attendees must be at least 21 years old to enter. Guests are encouraged to make group reservations one week in advance by calling 412-321-1834.
Bier’s Pub now offering indoor seating after COVID-19 hiatus
Bier’s Pub in Allegheny West has reopened for both indoor and outdoor dining.
“After six long months, we’re excited to announce the pub and tap room will reopen on Thursday, June 3rd!,” the pub announced via Instagram on May 23. “We can’t wait to see these seats filled with you all!”
Bier’s is located at 900 Western Ave. Current hours are: Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The biergarten is open for happy hour on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.: Drafts are two dollars off, house wines are five dollars, and select appetizers are half off.
Bistro to Go reopens cafe, catering still available 24/7
Bistro to Go, the “full-service, bistro-style restaurant” on East Ohio Street is back in business after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of the grand reopening on Wednesday, May 26, new cafe hours are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Catering is still available 24/7. Follow Bistro to Go updates and check out their weekly menus on Facebook.
New timed ticketing system now in use at Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is once again open to the public.
The museum has implemented a timed ticketing system online to allow for safe social distancing practices. Guests are encouraged to reserve their tickets in advance by visiting https://pittsburghkids.org/visit/tickets/ or by calling 412-322-5058, ext 240 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. They are also asked to arrive at their scheduled entry time 30 minutes early. Museum visits are not time limited.
Children’s Museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MuseumLab is now open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit https://pittsburghkids.org/ for more information, including descriptions of the latest museum exhibitions.
Highmark Health expands pediatrics office in the Northside
Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Pediatrics has moved into a larger office inside the Allegheny Professional Building at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH).
Dr. Joe Aracri, chair of the AHN Pediatric Institute, said he has worked for AHN for eight years. The move, he explained, was a result of wanting to accommodate more patients.
“We knew that there was a need for high quality pediatric care in the Northside and we wanted to make sure that we were providing good health care and fulfilling a need to the community,” he said.
The former pediatrics office, Aracri said, was located in the same building but was a shared space with no room for the team to expand. The staff has since gone from one to two providers plus a nurse practitioner, offering an alternative option to North Side Christian Health Center, the only other pediatric care currently available in the Northside.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aracri said, AHN Pediatrics was slow: That’s because most children who developed the virus had mild or no symptoms. The day-to-day work that primary care pediatrics physicians do, though, can range from well child checkups to treating acute or recurrent infections and managing chronic diseases and asthma.
Aracri got into the field of pediatrics because he “loves the energy that you get back from working with kids.”
“One thing that we always say is that children are not little adults,” he said. “Their bodies are different; their physiology is different. Not only are you working with the patient, but you’re working with the entire family, and sometimes the community as well to ensure their health.”
AHN Pediatrics, Aracri said, is always open to new patients.
“We’re looking to support the community and help develop healthy kids for our future.”