South Side screen printers and purveyors of Pittsburgh pop culture, Commonwealth Press, will relocate production to a warehouse on the Allentown/Beltzhoover border.
The 20,000-square-foot warehouse at 415 W. Warrington Avenue is roughly twice the size of their current warehouse in the South Side, where they’ve based production since 2010. Located blocks away from Route 51 and the South Hills Junction T stop, the new location is less than a mile from the heart of Allentown’s resurgent E. Warrington business district.
They hope to move all of their production to the Hilltop by April or May.
The move comes shortly after CW Press relocated their retail storefront on East Carson Street to their Wharton Street warehouse under the Birmingham Bridge. The South Side warehouse is slated to be torn down as part of a 316-unit apartment complex proposed by Edwards Communities Development Co.
“We had a big party and parade with a marching band and everything on a Friday to celebrate the move,” says owner Dan Rugh, “and on Tuesday we heard from our landlord the building was being sold.”
“We’re really disappointed to be leaving the South Side,” says Rugh, “but we’re incredibly excited to become part of the Allentown community. We have a ton of friends up here who recommended the neighborhood to us and we couldn’t be happier.”
CW Press was founded in 2002 and began as Rugh printing shirts for friends’ bands in his basement. Over the years they have developed a niche in marketing Pittsburgh pop culture, from t-shirts and stickers to parking chairs and pierogi pillows. The CW crew also runs Troika Skateboards and hosts an annual beer barge on the Gateway Clipper.
“This is exactly the type of business we hoped to attract to Allentown,” says Hunter Morris, COO of RE360.
RE360 purchased the former RW Ripley building in 2014 after it sat vacant for nearly a decade. Joe Calloway, founder and CEO at RE360, says that his firm had other offers for the building but wanted to ensure a long-term tenant that would grow and become a part of the fabric of the Hilltop.
Commonwealth will be renting the warehouse with an option to buy.
“We met with Dan last year, and after we heard they were looking for a spot with a quick turnaround we really hoped something would work out for them in the Hilltop,” says Siena Kane, Allentown Business District Manager at Hilltop Alliance. “They are a great addition not just because the company and the people are great but because Commonwealth will be one of the largest employers and companies in the area.”
Commonwealth employs a staff of about one dozen. Currently there are no plans to operate a storefront in the Hilltop but they will maintain their current retail store in Mt. Lebanon on Washington Road in addition to an online store.