Growing a small business is hard. Will you be able to keep up with demand? Will your cash flow meet your needs? Even basic requirements, like finding an affordable space, can make or break a company. Three local food-based businesses were facing these challenges and discovered a sustainable solution together.
Coworking in the Kitchen
The Umbrella Cafe will begin offering fresh juice, hot soup, and delicious baked goods starting Wednesday, September 9 at 7:00 am from a Downtown storefront on Liberty Avenue. Their unique menu combination is no accident. Instead, each of their offerings comes from an existing business that is ripe for growth, including Om Nom Bake Studio, Savasana Juice Company, and the Soup Nancys. Each business got its start as a vendor in the Pittsburgh Public Market. Merging each of these businesses under one umbrella provides an excellent way to sustainably manage that growth.
Although we were familiar with each of these companies from their servings at the Public Market, DECO learned about this new project through our partner Alex Binder Contracting, shown in the photo above. Alex built the counter-top bar for the Umbrella Cafe at our coworking space in Millvale. DECO President, Anthony Stewart, helped to build and install the bar.
Shared work space can help reduce costs, increase shared resources, and promote faster growth for a business. We have seen these results for DECO and other businesses at coworking spaces like the Open Floor Maker Space in Millvale and the Work Hard Pgh office in Allentown. It is exciting to see sustainably-minded businesses like the Umbrella Cafe continue to grow, working together in a supportive environment. All three of the Umbrella Cafe founding member-businesses will continue retailing their items independently, with the new storefront serving as a base of operations.
This style of collaboration is not always easy to foster, but can result in a diverse and exciting space. It is especially exciting to see these local companies enter the aggressive and high cost market of the Downtown neighborhood.
It looks like Anthony is putting mustard on bread behind the cafe counter, but he is actually putting wood glue on the counter-top.
Steve Bland of Savasana Juice Company and Linzee Mihalcin of Soup Nancys behind the new bar.