Vertical Integration, Kiva Zip style!
Dora Walmsley, a Kiva Zip borrower in Pittsburgh, never anticipated becoming an entrepreneur. In 2013 she, and her business partner Deirdre Kane, became just that when they opened the 52nd Street Market in response to the demand of their neighbors in Lawrenceville. During her search for start-up capital, Dora checked out numerous online crowdfunding platforms, but it was through her connection with Lawrenceville Corporation, a Kiva City Pittsburgh trustee, that she found Kiva Zip. In September 2013, the 52nd Street Market crowdfunded $2,525 in startup capital at 0% interest.
The market, which opened its doors in early 2014, is taking its cue from shoppers, offering the variety of products the neighborhood wants to see--organic, affordable and locally sourced. Fortunately, bringing in local goods was no challenge for Dora and Deirdre. In addition to connections they had developed through their primary employment, as a member of the Kiva City Pittsburgh community they were now part of a great network of local businesses! Local Kiva Zip borrowers looking to house, expand and market their products turned out to be the perfect candidates to be featured in the store.
Dora stated that having Kiva Zip borrowers in the store “was a no brainer,” going on to say that “Kiva Zip borrowers reached out to us, we reached out to them. Working and communicating with other borrowers allows us to grow the Pittsburgh network with the added bonus of having the opportunity to commiserate with people who understand some of the problems we face”.
Almost every aisle offers a Kiva Zip borrower product. Currently you can find coffee and pastries from Zeke’s Coffee, ice cream sandwiches from Leona’s LLC, mini pies from The Pie Guy and TeaPop’s from Healcrest Urban Farms under their roof.
To learn more about the Kiva City Pittsburgh initiative and our local supporters, visit our landing page on the Kiva website. From there, you can link to our list of borrowers, which currently includes three local entrepreneurs: Leslie of The Ultimate Beauty Spa, Mechele of Me’chele’s Wellness Spa LLC, and Lia of MIX Salad Concept, Inc.