A RICH BUT AFFORDABLE EXPERIENCE—New Yorker, Damien Grayson brings his clothing line to Pittsburgh.

A RICH BUT AFFORDABLE EXPERIENCE—New Yorker, Damien Grayson brings his clothing line to Pittsburgh.

With Dec. 23, the closing day of the Holiday on the Ave, a pop-up storefront on Centre Avenue quickly approaching, participating retailers are preparing for their final sales.

Eric Folks of Cobbler World, LLC and Damien Grayson of Riche Threads, two businesses on site Monday through Friday consider the experience unique and rewarding. Their recommendation to anyone looking to buy from and wanting to support local entrepreneurs is to visit the 2015 Centre Avenue first floor storefront.

An initiative of the Hill Community Development Corporation, Holiday on the Ave, according to Hill CDC Program Associate Diamonte Z. Walker, the pop-up is a centrally located storefront space designed to provide local entrepreneurs a venue where they can conduct business at a prime spot during the busiest shopping cycle of the year.

“As a driver of economic development in the Hill District, members of the Hill CDC think it is important to provide existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with an opportunity to take full advantage of the busiest retail season of the year. Holiday on the Ave, a yuletide market and a promotional event of existing Centre Avenue businesses, supports that goal,” said President and CEO Marimba Milliones. “It’s important for people to buy from within their own community, and we want to make sure a variety of options exists for residents and all shoppers.”

Along with local entrepreneurs other businesses located along Centre Avenue have been engaged to provide holiday deals by offering Holiday on the Ave coupons. “Our goal is to help drive traffic to existing businesses located on Centre Avenue, and provide new retailers with additional exposure in the Hill CDC’s pop-up shop,” said Milliones.

Businesses included in the pop-up with Cobbler World and Riche Threads; are A Woman’s Touch Fashion, Cupcakes Most Wanted, Exotic Hush Boutique, Good Body Stuff, Paparazzi Accessories, Sabika Jewelry, Snobbish Bee and Sweet as Honey Publishing. Walker identified the Thelma Lovette YMCA, Urban Innovation 21, Vernard Alexander, the Hill District Federal Credit Union and Color Me Urban as partners and sponsors of the pop-up.

The Ujamaa Collective, Big Tom’s Barber Shop, Ike Wear Hoodies, Subway, and Farmers Insurance are Centre Avenue businesses providing in store discounts until Dec. 23.

“Business has been good so far,” said Folks who has been participating since the Nov. 27 kickoff. “This is a great opportunity for Cobbler World to introduce our bake goods, to receive some recognition and to support what is happening in the Hill District.” Cobbler World is a distributor of baked goods, which includes cobblers, sweet potato cheesecakes and sweet potato pound cakes.

The manager of the business owned by his mother Terina J. Hicks, president and chief baker officer, Folks said their goal is to continue to get their products into more area stores and to expand into the south. Cobbler World baked goods he said are currently sold at Whole Foods and Shop ‘n Save both on Centre Avenue and the Shop ‘n Saves on William Penn Highway in Wilkens Township and 5th Avenue in McKeesport. Negotiations are also underway with Kuhn’s Market.

At age 25, Folks has been involved with the year-old business since April. With several years of college under his belt he says working with his mom has enhanced his customer relations skills and provided the opportunity to strengthen his decision making skills as he prepares to go into the U.S. Navy.

Grayson a former Brooklyn, NY native started Riche Threads with his partner Kareem Hanley in 2010. He describes his clothing line as one that taps into a life style brand. “We carry a full line of clothing, but no jeans as of yet.” Items include sports jerseys, jackets, hoodies, t-shirts and hats.

While in Pittsburgh Grayson said he has been deeply engrossed with the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center operated by his family. “When I came here I was impressed by the impact my relatives were making in the community with the work they were doing. I wanted to be involved.” During the summer he said he taught students in the ninth through twelfth grade entrepreneur and design skills and used some of the participants in a fashion show. “The program gave the kids something to aspire to. I tried to show them that if I could do something like this that they could too. To have aspirations and follow their dreams,” said the 29-year-old.

Once the pop-up closes, Grayson said his cloths can be purchased at Time Bomb at 5450 Penn Ave. but also are sold in New York City, Rochester, New York, Boston, Massachusetts and New Jersey. One of his major clients is Puma from the Black Ink crew. He also said that several celebrities have been spotted wearing his line. R and B singer Trey Songz, rapper Chiinx, commentator Terrence J, Pittsburgh Steeler Marquience Pouncy and former Steeler LaMarr Woodley.

Walker describes the mission of the Hill CDC as to work in partnership with residents and stakeholders to create, promote, and implement strategies and programs that connect plans, policies and people to drive compelling community development opportunities in the Greater Hill District. She said the pop-up, Tiny Retail and August on the Ave. two other activities that occurred on Centre Avenue are creative ways to adhere to the mission.

(Hours for Holiday on the Ave until Dec. 23 are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Saturdays from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.)

“As a driver of economic development in the Hill District, members of the Hill CDC think it is important to provide existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with an opportunity to take full advantage of the busiest retail season of the year. Holiday on the Ave, a yuletide market and a promotional event of existing Centre Avenue businesses, supports that goal,” said President and CEO Marimba Milliones. “It’s important for people to buy from within their own community, and we want to make sure a variety of options exists for residents and all shoppers.”

Along with local entrepreneurs other businesses located along Centre Avenue have been engaged to provide holiday deals by offering Holiday on the Ave coupons. “Our goal is to help drive traffic to existing businesses located on Centre Avenue, and provide new retailers with additional exposure in the Hill CDC’s pop-up shop,” said Milliones.

Businesses included in the pop-up with Cobbler World and Riche Threads; are A Woman’s Touch Fashion, Cupcakes Most Wanted, Exotic Hush Boutique, Good Body Stuff, Paparazzi Accessories, Sabika Jewelry, Snobbish Bee and Sweet as Honey Publishing. Walker identified the Thelma Lovette YMCA, Urban Innovation 21, Vernard Alexander, the Hill District Federal Credit Union and Color Me Urban as partners and sponsors of the pop-up.

The Ujamaa Collective, Big Tom’s Barber Shop, Ike Wear Hoodies, Subway, and Farmers Insurance are Centre Avenue businesses providing in store discounts until Dec. 23.

“Business has been good so far,” said Folks who has been participating since the Nov. 27 kickoff. “This is a great opportunity for Cobbler World to introduce our bake goods, to receive some recognition and to support what is happening in the Hill District.” Cobbler World is a distributor of baked goods, which includes cobblers, sweet potato cheesecakes and sweet potato pound cakes.

The manager of the business owned by his mother Terina J. Hicks, president and chief baker officer, Folks said their goal is to continue to get their products into more area stores and to expand into the south. Cobbler World baked goods he said are currently sold at Whole Foods and Shop ‘n Save both on Centre Avenue and the Shop ‘n Saves on William Penn Highway in Wilkens Township and 5th Avenue in McKeesport. Negotiations are also underway with Kuhn’s Market.

At age 25, Folks has been involved with the year-old business since April. With several years of college under his belt he says working with his mom has enhanced his customer relations skills and provided the opportunity to strengthen his decision making skills as he prepares to go into the U.S. Navy.

Grayson a former Brooklyn, NY native started Riche Threads with his partner Kareem Hanley in 2010. He describes his clothing line as one that taps into a life style brand. “We carry a full line of clothing, but no jeans as of yet.” Items include sports jerseys, jackets, hoodies, t-shirts and hats.

While in Pittsburgh Grayson said he has been deeply engrossed with the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center operated by his family. “When I came here I was impressed by the impact my relatives were making in the community with the work they were doing. I wanted to be involved.”  During the summer he said he taught students in the ninth through twelfth grade entrepreneur and design skills and used some of the participants in a fashion show. “The program gave the kids something to aspire to. I tried to show them that if I could do something like this that they could too. To have aspirations and follow their dreams,” said the 29-year-old.

Once the pop-up closes, Grayson said his cloths can be purchased at Time Bomb at 5450 Penn Ave. but also are sold in New York City, Rochester, New York, Boston, Massachusetts and New Jersey. One of his major clients is Puma from the Black Ink crew. He also said that several celebrities have been spotted wearing his line. R and B singer Trey Songz, rapper Chiinx, commentator Terrence J, Pittsburgh Steeler Marquience Pouncy and former Steeler LaMarr Woodley.

Walker describes the mission of the Hill CDC as to work in partnership with residents and stakeholders to create, promote, and implement strategies and programs that connect plans, policies and people to drive compelling community development opportunities in the Greater Hill District. She said the pop-up, Tiny Retail and August on the Ave. two other activities that occurred on Centre Avenue are creative ways to adhere to the mission.

(Hours for Holiday on the Ave until Dec. 23 are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Saturdays from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.)

 

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