Pittsburgh Public Market opens new home in Strip District

The Pittsburgh Public Market has a new home.

The market, whose merchants sell items ranging from woodcarvings to beer to pasta to produce, opened its doors for the first time this morning at its new location, a large building that stretches along the 2400 block of Penn Avenue in the Strip District, with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl ringing the opening bell as merchants readied their spaces.

“We encourage everyone to come down and visit,” Mr. Ravenstahl said later, speaking to reporters. “It’s open for business.”

Pittsburgh Public Market has 'soft' opening

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was among those on hand for the "soft" opening of the new Pittsburgh Public Market, Downtown. (Video by Nate Guidry; 10/23/2013)

The Pittsburgh Public Market, which opened in 2010 and made the move this year with the help of funding from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, did not move far from its original location, in the Produce Terminal on Smallman Street.

But Mr. Ravenstahl, the staff of the organization Neighbors in the Strip and the merchants themselves, predicted the move would represent a big improvement for both the vendors and the Strip District neighborhood.

The Penn Avenue location, Mr. Ravenstahl said, is more pedestrian-friendly than the previous location.

“It’s a location that’s going to work,” he said.

Becky Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip, said the new location expands the Strip District business corridor, better connecting it with residential areas. The building space itself, which has about 20,000 square feet of market space compared to the 10,000 square feet of space at the Produce Terminal, is also a step up, she said.

“It’s exciting, because in this location, we have air conditioning, and heat and bathrooms that work,” she said. “That’s a big thing, and I think we’re better suited to help the Strip.”

The move required the market to close for a little more than a month. At the Produce Terminal, it was open just Friday through Saturday, but now it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, except for Saturday when it is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A grand opening is scheduled for sometime in November, and the market plans to add more features, such as signs and seating for visitors, said Tiffani Emig, the market manager. The market also plans to recruit more vendors, adding to the current roster of more than a dozen full-time merchants and 10 weekend farmer’s market vendors.

“We’re excited to grow,” Ms. Emig said.

This morning, as the market opened, the space was filled with several vendors who made the move from the Produce Terminal to the Penn Avenue location, such as Jthn.Moran Woodworks and Clarion River Organics.

Also at Pittsburgh Public Market — for the first time — was Ohio City Pasta, owned by Eric Earnest.

Mr. Earnest, who is based in Cleveland, looked at the Produce Terminal spot a few years ago, but never brought his business there.

However, when the market decided to make its move, he decided to join them, and today he was open, manning a booth stocked with pastas and sauces.

Asked why he’d decided to bring Ohio City to a Pennsylvania city, he said he liked the facility and he liked the location.

“And I think the timing is right, for Pittsburgh in general, to have a more expanded public market,” he said.

Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.

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