Sport Clips Haircuts: It’s Good to Be an Owner

Let’s face it, getting your hair cut it kind of a chore! At Sport Clips, located at 3614 Forbes Avenue in Oakland, they’ve turned something that you have to do into something you want to do. Owner, A.J. Rodriquez, opened Oakland’s Sport Clips in February 2015 and is fixated on giving his clientele – not just an ordinary haircut – but a fantastic experience. “We love our client mix in Oakland. We get everyone from business professionals, to healthcare workers, to students looking for a good haircut before their weekend,” said A.J. “It’s so rewarding having opened a store in Oakland giving opportunities to our team members closer to the city, as well as serving the clients in the Oakland market…. I love providing great value to our customers and being a part of the community,” continued A.J.

One may not know the difference between a fade, a pompadour, a cropped fringe or faux mohawk, but Sport Clips’ ‘guy-smart stylists’ sure do! Sport Clips is known for their Signature MVP Haircut Experience where clients receive a precision haircut and a hot steamed towel on their face – all while receiving a scalp, neck and shoulder massage. “We have all the products the pro’s use, so make sure to stop in for a holiday gift!” said A.J. “And all UPMC and University of Pittsburgh employees get $2 off any service!”

Oakland’s Sport Clips is currently the first and only store in an urban area of Pittsburgh. “We decided to go to Oakland because of the consistent development and improvement of the area, and felt our services were needed in the market,” said A.J. Oakland’s location has eight talented team members led by store manager, Andrea.

Make ‘going to Sport Clips in Oakland’ your New Year’s resolution – especially in the spring! “We are looking forward to our St. Baldrick’s event in March around Saint Patrick’s Day where we raise money and awareness for Childhood Cancer by hosting a head-shaving event!” said A.J.

A.J. (left) and his father Al Rodriquez (right) are co-owners of a Sport Clips franchise in Oakland and have enjoyed almost 3 years in the business district.

Sport Clips
3614 Forbes Avenue 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
(412) 681-2345
Monday – Friday9am-8pm

Puccini’s Hair Design: Personal Professionals for an Honest Price

If you head down to Oakland’s very own Puccini’s Hair Design (Located at 237 Atwood St.) a little earlier than your appointment, you will be greeted by Sal Puccini with a warm “Hello!” followed by, “We’ll have you ready in just a second. In the meantime, would you like something to drink?—comes with the haircut.” Sal stresses the importance of taking care of his appointments, but he truly goes the extra mile. Case in point: How many hairdressers have a complementary refreshments bar while you wait?

That’s not all—Puccini’s follows the slogan it champions: “When you look good, you feel good” but in this sense, they apply it to their very own establishment. With a fresh coat of paint on the walls, beautiful décor around the room, vibrant music, and new chairs catered to the customer’s comfort, Puccini’s looks good so you feel good as soon as you step in to the establishment.

This most recent set of installments to Puccini’s is just another example of how its owners have catered to their Oakland customers over the last 43 years under the supervision of Sal’s father and namesake, Salvatore Puccini. At the age of 16, Salvatore Puccini Sr. suffered the loss of his father, forcing him to make an adult decision that others were not even capable of processing at a young age, and that decision led him to Pittsburgh Beauty Academy. After a long and determined struggle, Salvatore Puccini opened the flagship store of Puccini’s in Oakland.

At its roots, Puccini’s has always been about servitude to its clients, and the Puccini family have made sure this was shown through action over words. “We make sure our people are taken care of,” assures Sal. When he says people, Sal refers to both those who come into his doors to get serviced as well as those who come into his doors to provide the service.

“People see how much we charge and ask us, ‘Why this price? Are you guys any good?’ and I have to tell them that all of our stylists are very much experienced, we just know what a fair price is,” explains Sal, “and despite this, we still make sure we pay our people right.”

Puccini’s Hair Design blends personal care, professional stylists, and honest prices that Oakland’s mostly college-income inhabitants can feel great about. Sal Puccini invites you to sit back, refresh yourself, and watch as Sal and his team make sure you leave looking good and feeling even better.

Avenu Company Spotlight: WebKite

WebKite is a small advertising technology company located at our 1936 Fifth Ave. studio. They specialize in marketing inventory on search and social exchanges like Google, Bing and Facebook. They work with major brands in automotive, real estate, healthcare and consumer goods to create highly-specific product ads that motivate buyers to click and purchase. WebKite’s products leverage machine learning for the benefit of the everyday business owner seeking to sell more of their specialized, high-margin inventory. Their core belief is that much of advertising today does not account for the benefits of where technology and consumer behavior intersects – they are fixing that. Read more from the perspective of CEO, Mark Heckmann.

What is one thing people are surprised to learn about your company?
You would be surprised to learn that in our early days, WebKite routinely hired PhD Philosophers and trained them how to code as software engineers. We found that these types of professionals were expert in solving logic problems, which is fundamental to many programming challenges our company faced at the time. It made for a very interesting work environment and a great mixture of intellectual strengths within teams.

What is one goal for 2018?

One goal for 2018 would be to further productize in our key verticals. We “grew up” in automotive, and that expertise created residual opportunities in real estate and healthcare. We have plenty of use cases to solve for in those markets, so I’m looking forward to deepening our understanding and our offerings in those verticals.

Why Avenu?
Avenu has proven to be a key part of our success. Our company has fluctuated in size over the years, but the diversity of real estate holdings allowed us to move and remain in a tax-advantaged location without disrupting our operation. The staff continues to be very supportive of our business and understanding of any needs we have. I have always liked the residual benefits of being near downtown but locating in an up-and-coming area like Uptown – my team supports local businesses and appreciates how the neighborhood continues to evolve. I personally identify with how Avenu positions it’s coworking strategy as but part of a larger vision; where other office spaces would treat our being there as simply just another rental agreement, Avenu integrates you into its larger roster of promising companies and innovation players. That’s a serious amenity, almost better than the free parking!

Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille – Food for Thought, Thirst for Knowledge

Thirsty Scholar Bar and Grille, located at 3610 Fifth Avenue in Oakland, is one of the area’s latest spots for good eats and cool drinks. Having opened in June of this year in the former location of the Campus Bookstore, Thirsty Scholar provides an enjoyable atmosphere – perfect for unwinding after work, going out with friends, or simply grabbing that burger and wings you’ve been craving. Mike Chizmar, owner of Thirsty Scholar, transformed his former book store’s ~5,000 square feet space into a lively and happening bar, grille and bottle shop and really enjoys serving up some of his establishments’ amazing bites and brews. Going from a book store to a bar and grille is quite a 180 degree turn, and Mike is happy he did. “We’re a family-owned restaurant – my wife, Joanne Chizmar, brother-in-law, Mike Meinert, and I are all mangers, and we love providing a place where the college students and the area’s employees can unwind!” said Chizmar.

Thirsty Scholar has incredible, mouth-watering food options, too, with ‘Daily Grille Specials’ for only $6 – featuring tacos, wings, quesadillas and appetizer specials on certain days of the week. “We press our own burgers and use Mancini’s Bread on all sandwiches and burgers for extra quality… Not to mention, we also make a fantastic grilled or fried chicken salad that’s topped with fires and cheese,” said Chizmar. “We know how busy everyone is in Oakland and actually offer a ‘Lunch Express’ option on the menu! ‘Lunch Express is offered Monday through Friday from 11AM-4PM featuring a burger and fries or a chicken salad – dine in or carry out – for only $6!” he continued.

Thirsty Scholar is also a bottle shop with many varieties of craft beers and other beverages. “We kept a little of our retail roots here at Thirsty Scholar and offer over 300 bottles of craft beer which you can mix-and-match as a six pack and 150 varieties of wine!” said Chizmar. “When we started, we knew that the restaurant and bar business would be a learning curve and that we were literally building it from the ground up, but we have a nice, aesthetically pleasing place now, and we welcome anyone who steps in!” said Chizmar.

Mon – Thurs: 11a – 12p
Fri: 11a – 1a
Sat: 4p – 1a
Sun: 12p – 10p

UPMC Presbyterian Kicks Off Wellness Wednesday

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland held its Wellness Wednesday kick-off event as a fun and informational day full of demos, tips, and a plant-based culinary workshop to promote healthy lifestyles to its busy staff.

“Wellness Wednesday is a great program for everyone at UPMC Presbyterian to promote wellness and to make our cafeteria a hub of health and nutrition… our goal is to expand this into a monthly program,” said Robert Franz, retail manager at the hospital. “This is a huge accomplishment, and it’s great to have such collaborative efforts from different departments within the organization to make this fun and informative event possible.”

The UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria actually has a Silver Plate designation level through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program.

Wellness Wednesday began with a healthy cooking demonstration at the entrance of the UPMC Presbyterian Cafeteria where Chef Ray Wesolowski and Dietitian Gretchen Zehner prepared a Mexican Quinoa for guests. They presented the recipe’s health benefits, answered questions and even served up delicious samples of the finished product! The day also consisted of other meatless food samplings and featured recipes with Kate Watts, Food & Nutrition Coordinator with the Humane Society of the United States, who held a presentation and discussion. UPMC Health Plan also hosted a Health Coach table for guests to have face-to-face conversations with experts, and MyHealth at Work gave employees a chance to learn more about the new UPMC Presbyterian clinic. Other informational tables were present as resources promoting wellness and healthy living.

A Plant Strong Culinary Workshop also took place in the Scaife Conference Center, featuring speakers from the hospital and the Humane Society’s Forward Food program. This workshop hosted a hands-on plant-based culinary and educational training for health professionals.

“We’re very proud of this event and the team that lead the charge: Chef Ray Wesolowski, Dietitians Gretchen Zehner and Elise Wade and Jean Nichloech. We hope to have other UPMC hospitals replicate Wellness Wednesday,” said Franz.