Nick Drombosky uses his own Fiks: Reflective tape on his bike.
Todd Barnett, right, and Albert Ciuksza of PortaBeer, model their PortaDraft unit, a portable beer keg.
Mike, Mollie and Susie Fitzgerald of Frontiers Travel developed a niche clientele.
Deena Blumenfeld, owner and principal educator of Shining Light Prenatal Education in Lawrenceville, leads a prenatal yoga class, with Kristen Zeigler of Allison Park (in the front row) reacting to instructions. (In background, left to right Kaitlin Dichiera of Regent Square, Heather Holdoy of Mt. Lebanon, and Shannon Prota of Brentwood.)
Five women who wanted to help pets get adopted started the non profit group CARMAA to fill a need. From left, back: Eve Salimbene, April Minech, Holly Gumbeski, front (l to r): Becky DiLucia, Lillian Akin
East End Plumbing and Mechanical in Sharpsburg has been a family business for 57 years. Left to right, Anthony Mascilli; his mother, Florinda; father, Art Sr.; and brother, Arthur Jr. The sons have plans to move operations to Richland in the near future.
Michael Annichine, CEO of C-leveled says "we are definitely striding in the right direction."
Kelly Collier and Jenn Lambiase with some of the drawings for products at ActivAided Orthotics. They make shirts that support lower back muscles.
Julie Peterson inside the studio in her North Side home, that she runs as part of the British franchise House of Colour, which provides personal evaluation for individuals to help them pick the right shades for clothing and make-up that best fits them.
Bob Donaldson / Post-Gazette
Donnie Beaver shows one of his latest products, the "MuckStomper," an idea born from solving the problem of gas field workers tracking mud into another invention, a vacuum air shower that removes fracking sand particles from the workers.
Mike Sullivan in his auto body shop, Flagship Collision in Verona. Mr. Sullivan left an accounting job to pursue owning his own auto body shop.
Jennifer Enciso, Amy Kaikis and Darcy Dayton of Dayton Enciso, PC in Bloomfield.
Chuck Sanders in the offices of his Urban Lending Solutions in the Federated Investiors Tower.
Lee Davis, co-CEO of Mission Control Recordings, at work in his office on Fifth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Margaret Schlass of One Woman Farm, plows a field next to where she is growing lettuce on the property she leases in Gibsonia.
Todd Palcic stands in the lobby one of his real estate projects at Fifth and Penn this month.
Stephen Gurgovits Jr., managing partner of F.N.B. Capital Partners - "We see overall demand from small businesses as very strong."
Candy Hepple at her business in Belle Vernon, Doggie Spa.
Louis Butler, owner of Pittsburgh Pie Guy, with an apple cranberry pie.
Mark Proud, CEO of Bridgeville-based automated solutions provider The Proud Co., with one of his company's industrial robots. "In Pittsburgh, the climate has never been better, I've never seen so much activity from the new startup perspective."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Business Staff
Much has been made about the economic importance of entrepreneurs. We take a look at some of Pittsburgh's entrepreneurs, and see how they fit into the business landscape.
When Art Mascilli Sr. started East End Plumbing and Mechanical in 1957, he had $4,000 from a cashed-in veterans’ life insurance policy, the support of his wife, Florinda, and little else. Nearly six decades later, his sons Arthur Jr. and Anthony have taken on the day-to-day operations of the company.
Since her clientele is only part of her niche demographic for about nine months, Ms. Blumenfeld works to retain students after they've given birth. She also is always networking to develop new clients, unlike a a traditional yoga studio that can have clients returning over 10 or 15 years' time.
Connecting with a global audience might not seem like the most obvious priority for a new small company, but two Pittsburgh organizations want entrepreneurs to prepare for the world beyond Allegheny County's borders. “I tell startups that as soon as you put up a website, you’re a global company,” said Reed McManigle, who works in Carnegie Mellon University’s technology transfer office.
April Minech and four other women started the Coalition to Adopt, Rehome and Match Abandoned Animals (CARMAA) because each of them had worked for at least one of the three major animal shelters in the Pittsburgh area, and realized there wasn't a lot of overlap in the services being offered. They worried that the needs of a lot of animals were falling through the cracks.
When she opened Bocktown Beer and Grill in 2006, Chris Dilla almost didn't care if it closed the next day. "I just wanted this to exist," she said, sitting in a booth in the North Fayette eatery on a recent afternoon. "I just was so happy that it was finally three dimensional."
Mr. Childs, owner and founder of Eyetique, started his business in 1979 as a one-man operation in a tiny store on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. Today, his eyewear boutique business has grown to include 13 stores in Western Pennsylvania, dozens of employees, a manufacturing center in California and a Squirrel Hill headquarters in the same location as the original store -- just four times larger.
The business plan was simple, if a little unusual. Two philosophy students, Louis Butler and Wren McGalliard, had $300, no formal culinary training and no business experience.To translate into pie vernacular: Their plan to make dough looked a little flaky. But less than a year later, the Pittsburgh Pie Guy has turned a profit, has regular customers and Mr. Butler is now employed full time by the still-mobile business.
Nobody can say that Candy Hepple is afraid to make a big decision quickly and stick to it. After all, she married her husband Gene exactly 29 days after they met in 1989 at Naval Base San Diego. This February, they will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.
For those who know her, then, it's unsurprising that once Mrs. Hepple had decided to open a dog grooming business, she quickly found a prime downtown Belle Vernon location, did some remodeling, ordered necessary equipment and was welcoming her first customers less than two months later.
A former Steeler, Chuck Sanders played from 1986-87 as a running back. After his brief NFL career, Mr. Sanders worked for a while in marketing for a semi-pro basketball team, before he decided to get on the high road to financial success in America -- entrepreneurship.
As an ambitious 19-year-old with one foot planted in classes at West Virginia University and the other in Braddock's streets, Mr. Davis had hoped the music industry would pave a path toward a legitimate business.
Donny Beaver's newest business is devoted to cleaning dust in industrial settings. Its main product is a mobile air shower designed to blow silica sand off oil and gas workers' clothes so they don't track it off the field. But like most of his ideas, there are spinouts and hedges along the way.
Kelly Collier just wanted an A. In her final year at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Collier, a dual major in material science and biomedical engineering, teamed with a group of peers on a class project to invent a product for the medical world. She got that A -- and a lot more than she bargained for.
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