Mt. Washington establishes new business advisory council
February 20, 2018
The new business advisory council, which was announced at last Thursday’s community forum meeting, includes 14 business owners from Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights.
The council includes representatives from: Bingham Tavern, Cafe Cravings, Cafe Express, Galasso Real Estate Services, Grice Chiropractic, Jennifer’s Hair Studio, LeMont Restaurant, Love Pittsburgh, the Medicine Shoppe, Redbeards, Rewis & Yoder Law Offices, Shop n’ Save, Vibes on the Mount, and Wallace Florist.
According to MWCDC board member Tom Tighe, the business advisory council was formed because of the amount of community development feedback collected during last year’s strategic planning meetings.
“Everybody agrees that to have a good community, you have to have strong and vibrant businesses to service the community,” Mr. Tighe said.
Mr. Tighe added the goal of the council is to advise the MWCDC on how it can assist local businesses with marketing strategies while bringing the community together with its businesses.
One of those strategies is to provide local business owners the opportunity to address community members at the monthly MWCDC forum meetings.
Jamie Wyels, the owner of the Medicine Shoppe on Bailey Avenue, gave a short presentation on his business and the benefits of choosing a locally-owned pharmacy to fill prescriptions compared to doing business with a larger corporation.
Mr. Wyels said he has owned the Medicine Shoppe for more than three years and has worked in Mount Washington for 10 years. He said owning his own business allows him the opportunity to become more involved in the community and donate to local causes.
He also added his biggest challenges as a business owner are marketing and self-promotion, as well as competing with the Rite Aid on Grace Street which is able to provide business hours on Sundays and evenings.
“I’m the one business up here that competes directly against a corporation,” Mr. Wyels said. “It’s tough.”
Mr. Wyels said his prescription costs are usually similar to Rite Aid’s. He also said he is able to provide a high level of customer service that sets him apart from his corporate competition.
“I make it a personal effort to try to get to know you,” Mr. Wyels said. “You’re not just a prescription number for me. We go above and beyond.”
Mr. Wyels said in the future, he’d like to hire a part-time pharmacist so that he can focus on marketing activities and offer longer hours.
Joe Grice, owner of Grice Chiropractic, was also on hand to speak about his business on Grandview Avenue.
Mr. Grice has been operating his business in Mount Washington for 30 years. In addition to chiropractic care, he also makes it a point to educate patients on natural healthcare, vaccines, supplements, and pain management.
Grice Chiropractic is open on Saturdays and many holidays as well.
Mr. Grice said he frequently recommends Mount Washington restaurants to out-of-town patients. He also participates in local events and gives back to the community when possible.
“We never say no to donations,” Mr. Grice said. “We always support who we can.”
According to Mr. Tighe, more local business owners will have the chance to speak at future community forums. Additionally, the MWCDC’s development committee will host its second annual business expo on April 19 in Sullivan Hall on Bingham Street.
MWCDC Development Committee co-chair Greg Panza said that the development committee meets the fourth Wednesday of odd months and all meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is March 28.
Mr. Panza said the committee is always looking for help and encouraged residents to attend future meetings.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith suggested the newly formed business advisory council develop a strong relationship with the West Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, which has a strong network of businesses in District 2.
“Together we have over 2,000 businesses,” the councilwoman said. “Alone, we have 200 in Mount Washington, so it’s best to stick together.”