The rueLife: Culture

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The rueLife Culture Features

 

8.4.17

The Shops Next Door

rueRoad Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, PA is way more than the land of bridges (for real: like, over 400 bridges) and the headquarters of your fave fashion retailer (*ahem* rue21 *cough*). The ‘Burgh boasts some of the coolest and totally unique neighborhoods, with more than a few local legends.

Take Lawrenceville, one of Pittsburgh’s oldest industrial areas. It’s housed manufacturing plants, an arsenal that supplied the ammunition during the Civil War, and the iconic Strip District. Don’t get ideas—the Strip is a series of warehouse blocks along the Allegheny River where the city’s meat and produce used to be shipped in. Now Lawrenceville is home to artists, musicians and foodies (and some great shopping).

Squirrel Hill is Pittsburgh’s leafy city neighborhood, home Schenley and Frick parks, plus tons of coffee shops and restaurants (hint: if you like Thai food you’re gonna be happy here). College bound? Squirrel Hill has Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University on offer. Oh and fun fact—it was the home of TV-icon-from-everyone’s-childhood, Mister Rogers. Won’t you be our neighbor?

We sat down with a few local shop owners who are taking Steel City to the next level.

 

Jason Cook: Backstage Guitars

Neighborhood: Lawrenceville

rueRoad Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

Q: How long have you been here in Lawrenceville?

A: 8 years.

Q: Where’d you get the idea for your business?

A: My friend and I were in a band together and we used to tour a lot. We saw a lot of stores in other cities around the country that were really cool, and we thought Pittsburgh needed something like that. So we decided to open a store here that would cater to musicians in the area.

Q: What’s your fave thing about your job?

A: My favorite thing about my job is being able to meet a lot of different kinds of people. Our customers really vary in the type of music they place, so I meet a lot of different characters. We do a lot of service, so I get to help a lot of people get their instruments right. It makes me happy. I like to help people. That’s why we’re here.

 

Jerry Weber: Jerry’s Records

Neighborhood: Squirrel Hill

rueRoad Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

Q: How long have you been here in Squirrel Hill?

A: 42 years.

Q: Where’d you get the idea for your business?

A: I got started in 1975. I’ve always loved records and have been collecting them since I was actually about ten years old. My buddy owned a bar with an empty store room and he let me have it for $75 a month. So I took a bunch of records I had and put a sign out that said “We Buy Records.”

Q: What’s your fave thing about your job?

A: My favorite part is getting music to people who really enjoy it. Not collectors who are trying to make money—just someone who wants to get a record for $5, then take it home and play it and enjoy it. That’s what I’ve been doing all these years and that’s still my favorite part.

 

Nicholas Brungo: Love Bikes

Neighborhood: Lawrenceville

rueRoad Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

Q: How long have you been here in Lawrenceville?

A: 6 years.

Q: Where’d you get the idea for your business?

A: The name of the store came because I wanted people to feel welcome, and not intimidated if they weren’t very well educated on the subject [of bikes]. I just wanted them to feel like they could come in here and there’ll be a friendly place to get their bike fixed.

Q: What’s your fave thing about your job?

A: My favorite part about the job is helping people with the problems they’re having—whether it’s something very simple that they didn’t know about, or something that they’ve been struggling with for a while, and might be frustrated with. You can help them and they’re normally very appreciative and it’s a nice feeling.

 

Heather Shurina: Mister Grooming & Goods

Neighborhood: Lawrenceville

rueRoad Trip: Pittsburgh, PA

Q: How long have you been here in Lawrenceville?

A: Almost 4 years.

Q: Where’d you get the idea for your business?

A: My husband and I have worked in the industry for years. There are a lot of salons that offer full service for women and you get things like a glass of wine, so we wanted to do the same thing for men. So we offer the classic straight razor shaves and haircuts, as well as facials, manicures, and hair color for men. We give them bourbon, beer and espresso…we take care of them!

Q: What’s your fave thing about your job?

A: Being able to work with my husband and our barbers and staff. We’re like a family and we have so much fun that it’s like we’re not even working at all.