Music of yesteryears will never die if it is up to Nate Mitchell, James Scoglietti, Andrew Burger, Paul Dang and Jovon Higgins. The owners of Pittsburgh’s newest urban lifestyle experience offer what Mitchell calls a healthy marriage of music, clothing and coffee.
For the past month the partners have been operating 720 Music, Clothing and Cafe’ at 4405 Butler St. in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. “Business has been good so far. It is getting better and better weekly,” said Mitchell. “It’s a process. We have received good reception from the neighborhood and the City.”
|UUMM UUMM GOOD—Two owners of 720, Paul Dang and Nate Mitchell enjoy cupcakes designed like a record with their logo. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels)
From 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 702 offers its patrons what Mitchell describes as a soulful spot to enjoy live music, delicious pastries, and to purchase clothing and accessories. “720 differentiates itself from other local businesses by dedicating itself to urban genres,” said James Scoglietti. “We are the only game in the city for hip-hop vinyl and have been since the demise of Brave New Word roughly half a decade ago.”
Designed, rehabbed and creatively decorated by the minds and hands of the five partners, the business is divided into three sections which gives each component its own distinctive department, while providing an all-in-one business. The 720 experience begins in the café which provides an array of pastries inclusive of cupcakes, cookies and muffins that come from local bakeries. Beverages include an assortment of exclusive coffees and teas, fresh smoothies and other drinks. A Wi-Fi facility, seating is available for people to enjoy their pastries and drink while surfing the web or conducting business.
From forgotten treasure to new favorites, the middle section of 720 carries an eclectic mix of vinyl and Compact Discs in an array of music genres including Soul, Jazz, Deep House, Hip-Hop and Afro-Beat. Run by Burger, the section carries men’s and women’s clothing, including T-shirts, hoodies, hats, handbags and accessories from up-and-coming indie designers. Music cultural based oriented magazines are also sold.
The partners plan to use the stage in the back of the facility for live performances of music and dance by local and national artists. “We want it to be a place for our patrons to sit and relax as soul, R&B and jazz performers grace the stage and take them on a journey through the heart and soul of the new progressive urban movement,” Mitchell said.
Well aware that their establishment and concept is unique, Higgins points out that 720’s competitive advantage is that they are selling a lifestyle brand to their customers. “We are evoking their pleasure senses by offering great tasting beverages and pastries, cool vibes and a distinct and diverse selection of music and clothing.”
Based on a the record business once operated in Oakland, East Liberty and Squirrel Hill by Scoglietti, when they closed he maintained his entrepreneurial spirit and need for music on vinyl. During a conversation with his barber friend and disc jockey, he asked Mitchell if he wanted to partner and re-open the store. After eight months of group conversations, a thorough search for the right space and a complete do over of the site, three DJs, a graduate student and former counselor/therapist operate the unique art, and culture business.
Mitchell, aka DJ Nate Da Phat Barber has built a reputation as one of the city’s premier deejays and top-rate barbers. He is owner of the Natural Choice Barber Shop & Salon, Charismatic Nightlife, an event and Promotions Company, and a thriving deejay business.
Scoglietti has been known as Selecta-A staple in the Steel City’s hip-hop scene since the late 80’s. He started spinning basement parties and eventually landed several club residencies, all while holding down radio shows on WPTS-FM and WRCT-FM and now hosts a popular show on WYEP.
A professional illustrator, designer and animator, Burger is the sole proprietor of The Harmony Society record label. In addition, he deejays at J Senator Boo-Berry the former DJ Mr. Monkey MD and was the music director for WRCT-FM 88.3.
Like his counterparts, Dang maintains a busy schedule while attending graduate school and finishing his film project. Crediting his Vietnamese parents for his work ethics, he enjoys getting crafty and making T-shirts and prefers listening to John Coltrane and good Detroit and Chicago Deep House music during a smooth Sunday brunch.
The lone female in the business venture, Higgins has had goals and aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur for numerous years. She has always had the desire to work in retail and has more than five years of retail experience. Professionally, she has worked at many reputable institutions in the mental health field as a counselor/therapist, and has also counseled youth in various pre-college preparatory and after school programs. She is a graduate of Virginia State University and attended graduate school at Chatham University.
Predicting a bright future, Mitchell and the partners classify 720 as a world class concept with the potential to become one of the top recreation places in the city. Beginning Feb. 20 and every third Sunday of the month after they will host a Sunday Brunch, “Sunday’s Best” featuring Vietnamese, Latin and African-American Soul Food. By spring they have plans to sponsor Spoken Word nights, live music, dance events and listening parties.
Soon the café will be the exclusive seller and a distributor of Marley Coffee. Grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, the coffee is a product of Rohan, the son of the late Bob Marley. Carrying seven roasts and an espresso, 720 will also offer its own signature brand.
Like the bar in the former television show, Cheers, 702 is where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. “What makes this business different from the rest is its diversity and what will be a beautiful blend of music, lifestyle, art, and culture in one unique place in Pittsburgh,” said Dang. “It’s a new day in Pittsburgh, y’all!”