Women-owned businesses unite in Aspinwall to host inaugural shopping, socializing event for the public

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A group of women-owned businesses have united to create The Merchants of Aspinwall, a new, collaborative approach aiming to attract business in the historic borough.

The new organization will host its inaugural “Sip, Chat & Shop” event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 15.

Participating female-owned stores in the borough will invite customers to stop in for socializing, refreshments and naturally, shopping.

“We’re excited to harness the energy of all of our unique businesses and hopefully introduce each of our customers to all of the other amazing women-owned businesses in Aspinwall,” said Jessica Rehling Vukmir, owner of Dovecote and Nouveau PGH on Brilliant Ave.

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Courtesy of Merchants of Aspinwall

Members of The Merchants of Aspinwall stand on Brilliant Avenue in Aspinwall. The newly formed female-based organization aims to promote Aspinwall as a thriving retail destination. L-R; Kiersten Ferno, Amy Bass, Kristi West, Rachel Schaffer, Jessica Vukmire, Adriene Rister, Erica Miller, Sarah Tuthill, Patti Danforth and Rosie Welch.

 

The new group aims to establish Aspinwall as a thriving retail destination.

“Where else in Pittsburgh can you do some shopping, get your nails done? Meet for lunch or pick up dinner and stroll down the park for a concert after dinner,” said Sarah Tuthill, owner of EZPZ Gatherings cheese and charcuterie store in Aspinwall.

Veteran business owner Rosie Welsh, who opened Rosebud’s gift shop on First Street in Aspinwall 35 years ago, is part of the group.

“I grew up in the area, so I wouldn’t have opened anywhere else but here, I wanted to (be) part of a town where I knew people and they would know me or get to know me,” said Welsh. “It is great to have a great group of merchants to work with and having this group be all women is amazing.”

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Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

The Merchants of Aspinwall is a new collaborative, women-owned business group aiming to promote Aspinwall as a thriving, retail destination.

 

Home to more than 20 innovative and unique shops, all owned by women, new business owner Rachel Schaffer, of Carte Blanche Home & Design on Freeport Road, said the girl-power factor is high in Aspinwall.

“That statistic is truly remarkable. We’ve had all of these successful and highly-motivated business owners each of whom is best-in-class in their respective niche. By coming together to lift each other up, we can better harness each of our unique talents,” Schaffer said.

The group formed this spring and will meet monthly to create fun and cross-marketing opportunities that will bring customers to all of Aspinwall’s businesses, said Tuthill.

Partnering with Aspinwall’s Chamber of Commerce, organizers said they don’t want to “reinvent the wheel.”

“We feel as merchants, we have a unique set of issues and goals and can be a united voice on how to make Aspinwall a shopping destination,” Schaffer said.

Aspinwall resident Kristi West owns Kristi Boutique, a women’s specialty clothing store.

“Our hope is to mobilize and capitalize on the energy of our business district, starting with us, the retail merchants,” West said.

Deb McManus, owner of Lynlott Miniatures on Commercial Avenue, recalled a time when businesses were a bit scant in the borough.

“In 1989 we were a well-established store, but there wasn’t much else here to draw people,” McManus said. “Thirty-three years later, the street is busy all day long with people walking their dogs, pushing strollers and traveling from near and far to shop and dine in this town.”

McManus praised the formation of the merchant group.

“There is a great sisterhood of ladies doing what they love to do at each and every shop,” she said.

As of June 1, the following businesses comprise the Merchants of Aspinwall: Sol, Nota Bene Fine Paper Boutique, Kristi Boutique, Carte Blanche, Nouveau PGH, Dovecote, Spark, EZPZ Gatherings, Feast on Brilliant and Rosebud’s.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725 , [email protected] or via Twitter .



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