Yinzers is going downtown after Mike Feinberg Company closed. The move signals the end of one iconic Pittsburgh purveyor and the rise of another Steel City supplier.
After nearly 60 years of selling items some people never knew existed, Mike Feinberg Co. ceased its Strip District presence.
“It’s just the right time; all the factors involved, it’s just time to retire,” Marcia Cantor, daughter of the late Mike Feinberg, explained to The Jewish Chronicle in an earlier story regarding the cessation of her family’s business.
Last month, Mayor Bill Peduto read a proclamation declaring March 26 to be “Mike Feinberg Day.” The occasion was marked by festivities and sales as well as recognition that March 26 was the birthday of the store’s namesake and late founder.
Nearly four weeks earlier, on Feb. 17, Mike Feinberg Co.’s storefront, a building that pitted thousands of quirky products, such as the cardboard cutout of a brick fireplace alongside oodles of functional goods, sold for $1,150,000, according to Coldwell Banker.
Jim Coen, owner of Yinzers in da Burgh, another Strip District shop that specializes in Pittsburgh paraphernalia, purchased the property.
“We are going to do some of the things they had done but probably do our own brand of Pittsburgh merchandise,” said Coen, whose store, with its thousands of Pirates, Penguins and Steelers items, is the self-described “No. 1” sports store in the city.
As opposed to enveloping the businesses into the new larger locale, Coen intends on retaining both sites. Bridging the stores will be names denoting regional dicta.
Coen’s current space, which is located at 2127 Penn Ave. will be renamed “Yinzers Up There,” whereas the other, located at 1736 Penn Ave., will be called “Yinzers Down There.”
“We’re trying to capture the Pittsburgh market,” he said.
In doing so, Coen added that he is conscious of catering to different clientele.
The stores will be a “bit different because I don’t want to compete against myself.”
Or, for that matter, against anyone in the Strip.
“I want everybody to make money. The more stores there are, the more people come.”
Coen likened it to the one-time growth of tailor shops. The stores keep increasing, and “soon enough there’s a tailors’ district.”
Critical to the neighborhood’s advancement is its merchandisers’ makeup, said Coen. Between the various ethnicities and immigrants, there are more than 20 countries represented in the Strip, he said.
And that number signifies something important to the Peabody High School graduate.
“With all the bad publicity about people coming to this country, the Strip works so well in everyone helping each other out. We’re a big family,” he noted. “It shows what this country was built on: small businesses.”
While offering additional national perspective, Coen claimed to provide a wholly unique shopping experience.
“There is no other sports store in this country that does what we do in the way we do it,” he said. “There is so much merchandise, you can’t walk out the door not buying something.”
The allure of potentially procuring such distinctive Pittsburgh novelties leaves customers mouthing one word, said Coen.
And that is something that the 57-year-old Lawrenceville native hopes to recreate.
“When people go into the new store, I want people to say, ‘Wow!’”
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.