Soap Shop Owner Expands Business, Hopes To Bring New Life To City

By Kim Leonard
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the Pittsburgh area entrepreneur who is doing her part to help lift up fellow small business owners. As the organizer of the “Small Business Association of New Kensington,” soap shop owner Autumn Walker hopes to spark more life into the vacancy-plagued downtown area.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Autumn Walker added a cosmetics line this month to her bath products business in the former G.C. Murphy store in New Kensington.

But makeup is only part of the makeover Walker is looking for.

It is part of her ongoing efforts to put a better face on the city’s business district.

Walker, who owns the BoHo Bath & Bubbles by Apothecary Soap Co., discovered New Kensington seven years ago through an online real estate listing.

She is organizing a small-business owners group — the Small Business Association of New Kensington — to solve problems and spark more life into the vacancy-plagued downtown.

Walker, 34, said she sees progress.

“Over the last two years, we’ve had a net growth of about 14 businesses down here — Fifth (Avenue), Fourth and probably from 11th Street down to Eighth. Just downtown,” she said.

Walker attributed much of the renewed interest to the occasional Better Block festivals with vendors held in recent years.
In all, she said, about 21 businesses opened downtown during the past two years and 14 remain.

Building values in the area are ideal for entrepreneurs, she said, so, “You can get in at the bottom level and help (the area) rise.”

Modfinish shop owner Corey Pistininzi and Knead Community Cafe manager Chanda Moyes were among about eight business owners at February’s initial meeting of the small-business association.

“It’s a start,” Pistininzi said, although insight from more merchants is needed. He suggested at the meeting that downtown building owners do more with lighting.

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