Shoppers flock to New Ken for third annual Small Business Saturday program

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On Saturday afternoon, Mary Rinbloom took the ax by the wooden handle and approached the target on the nearby wall. The ax missed the bull’s eye, sending it crashing to the ground.

“Try to hold it tight and try to throw it hard,” said her coach – and owner of the ax throwing facility – Brian Mango.

The second and third time was no better.

“Don’t screw it up,” Mango offered. “Just leave it.”

“It’s definitely not as easy as it sounds,” laughs Rinblum.

On the Murrysville resident’s fifth and final attempt, the ax hit the mark and the blade went in and caught the cork-like wooden wall.

Rinbloom had never thrown an ax before coming to New Kensington on a small business Saturday and stopping by Las Hatches, the Alle-Kiski Valley’s only ax throwing facility.

She was happy to take part in the Las Hatches Small Business Saturday special – $5 for five throws.

“This is really fun — I highly recommend it,” Ringbloom said. “We’re basically walking around to see what small businesses New Kensington has and what small businesses we can support.”

Ringbloom and her golfer friend, Laura Maginness of Plum, were just two of the many shoppers walking up and down New Kensington’s rehabbing business district Saturday afternoon.

This year’s Small Business Saturday program involved visiting shoppers and collecting stamps from 36 businesses. His name? Shop Small, Shop New Ken.

In the year Since 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages the public to support local independent businesses by “buying small.” Saturday After Thanksgiving throughout the holiday shopping season.

American Express, a financial services firm, began its day as a way for independents to fend off large retail chains and online retailers. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has been the official organizer of the event for 12 years.

Jamie Parker wears two hats as she sips hot tea at Sweet Alchemy Baking Shop on Small Business Saturday: business owner and community organizer.

A Penn Hills resident and Penn State New Kensington alumnus helped launch the Free Small Business Saturday effort in the area in an effort to reduce foot traffic in the city’s business district. 2023 is the third consecutive year of the program.

“Events like this are great — we’re bringing in members of the surrounding communities,” Parker said. “We said, ‘Here’s what New Ken has in mind. But this is the truth.’ We will continue to promote New Kane as a destination.

One particular destination Parker was promoting: Sweet Alchemy, an establishment that doesn’t bill itself as a vegan hot spot even though its baked goods are entirely vegan.

In the year “You don’t have to be vegan to come in here,” said Parker, who went meat- and dairy-free in 2013 and opened her vegan eatery in another new Kensington location in 2021. We only focus on good food. over here”

By 1 p.m., many people had stocked the store, leaving behind a few homemade poptarts-style pastries and a slice of cherry pie. Scott Blades, Parker’s partner, said the donuts flew out the door. Sweet Alchemy sells ladylocks for $7 a half dozen, too.

Charlotte Kimer and Alex Oliver grabbed some tasty treats at Parker’s Shop on Saturday. It was the second time Springdale residents came to New Kensington on a small business Saturday.

And what treats did Kimer buy at Sweet Alchemy?

“We got to have them all,” Kimer, 38, laughed. “I enjoy supporting small businesses.

The Pistinizzi weren’t printing anyone’s small business maps at Fifth Avenue design shop Modfinish. But they were serving wine, coffee and cookies, and walking people through the industrial-influenced space they hope to expand to in 2024.

Corey and Alyssa Pistinizzi moved to New Kensington 10 years ago after living in an 18th-floor condo in Downtown Pittsburgh. A year later, he moved to 1013 Fifth Ave., which had previously been an electrical supply store. They bought.

In addition to this shop, Corey Pistinizzi, now a city councilman, botL owns and helps run the “shots and beer” joint at 1716 Freeport Road, Helpt’s Tavern, a World War II Army veteran. In the year It ran for 50 years before dying in 2016 at the age of 99.

He owns the National Public House in Leechburg and, rumor has it, That makes it old fashioned.

On Saturday, Corey Pistinizzi chatted with curious customers and passers-by as he sat atop a large “pattern wood,” roughly 400 pounds of wood used by industrial giants such as US Steel and Westinghouse to forge custom metal parts.

Corey Pistinizzi has approximately 1,000 of these pieces in storage and can help transform them with Modfinish into furniture or lofts looking for an industrial touch. They’re popular with Pittsburghers who live in former warehouses in neighborhoods like the Strip District, he said.

“We’re saving them, reusing them,” he said. “It’s history. And, it’s a table you won’t see anywhere else.”

The leader and owner of several Alle-Kiski Valley businesses says it’s not a stretch to make connections between industrial mold and people trying to get around this Rust Belt city.

“There’s a kind of frustration and permanence to this,” he says, pointing to another giant “wooden sketch” mold, “and sticking to the crowd.”

Justin Vellucci is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can find Justin at

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