Tucked away in a tiny room of a suburban home, back in 1981, a Pittsburgh gift store institution was born. A teacher at that time and always frugal, my Mom, Ruthie, embarked on her dreams of retail and self-employment, while not totally “dropping” her red pen and giving up her steady income. Since the space was not much more than 100 square feet and the hours were by appointment only, the inventory was minimal, too! Lucite, Lucite and a little more Lucite! Who would have thought that fancy plastic would have so much appeal? The appointments became more numerous and the neighborhood traffic increased. While the customers loved Ruthie’s great prices and friendly customer service and unconventional store setting, the local authorities were not in accord. A move to a larger and more “commercial” space was imminent and so the story really begins.
“You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” from Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
To the basement of an office building Ruthie went. More products were added to the inventory and the bridal registry began. Dinner conversations quickly became more about what was selling and who came into the store. Even though I was in grade school at the time, I got to know all the customers just like my Mom did. They became our family, because personalized customer service was of the utmost importance then as it still is today! This little hole-in- the-wall was the birth of Contemporary Concepts: Pittsburgh’s premiere gift shop, offering Bridal Registry, an array of high-end table top accessories and gift items that satisfy the most discriminate shoppers.
Upon graduating from Penn State in 1992 with a degree in marketing and working for a year for the Limited Corp., I decided to follow in my mom’s footsteps and open a second location of Contemporary Concepts in Allison Park, PA. We established the small “Mom & Pop” shop family atmosphere that people had grown to know and love from the original location. Soon we had a whole new “family of customers” in the North as we had in the original location in the East. Our product selection grew to include an array of high-end tabletop accessories and gift items to satisfy the most discriminate brides and shoppers. We even added a baby section as naturally that is what our brides would need in their future.
Decades have now passed, and while Contemporary Concepts North’s mission to serve the needs of our customers has remained the same, our product mix has evolved to better serve our customers here in the northern suburbs. We are currently “dressing” everyone and everything! We have clothing for your babies and for yourself. Toys for babies and your furry ones, too! Jewelry and fashion accessories to decorate ourselves, as well as our traditional table “dressings” for our home. Our offerings have become unique to this location.
And when things start to happen, Don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along You’ll start happening too.*
The time came to usher in a new era, with a new name, yet the same quality products and service that our valuable customers have always received. We are now so APROPOS!
*excerpts from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”