It was a sad day for many in Pittsburgh, including the NEXTpittsburgh team.
After three-and-half years as a go-to destination for coffee meetings in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, Marty’s Market announced on the company’s Facebook page yesterday that it has closed, to the chagrin of many of its followers. “We have had to make the extremely difficult decision to close our doors,” the message read.
Owner Regina Koetters did not elaborate on what led to the decision to shut down. “My team and I are so grateful to the Pittsburgh community and our farmers, suppliers and customers. We have had an amazing three and a half years,” Koetters wrote in an email.
The building owners could not be reached for comment .
But the Marty’s Market space on Smallman Street, which once housed the Right By Nature grocery store, presents a unique opportunity for the Strip District. The Pittsburgh Public Market, which lost its lease at 2401 Penn Ave. in December, will have to move by April. Its board is still looking for a new home.
“If they could make it work it would be incredible,” says Don Orkoskey, president of the board of directors for community group Neighbors in the Strip. “It would be up to their board, but we’d love to see them stay in the Strip.”
Rich Westerfield, general manager for the Pittsburgh Public Market said he contacted Orkoskey and PPM board member Kit Mueller as soon as he heard the news about Marty’s, but he wasn’t aware of any “substantive conversations” on the matter as of Monday afternoon.
Strip District resident Holly Brubach, developer of the upcoming Forbes Hotel downtown, says Marty’s may have been ahead of the curve for the neighborhood, since the Strip is seeing offices and condos under construction and in planning over the next few years.
“I’m sad because Marty’s was my ad hoc conference room—great as an informal setting for conducting meetings,” Brubach said.
She and other residents see several potential uses for the 10,000-square-foot space. “The Strip still needs an all-day-long gathering place,” she adds. “The other big need that I see is a salon. It would be great to have a walk-in blowout service (like Drybar), with nails. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like that in Pittsburgh.”
Spencer Zoth, who lives right around the corner from Marty’s on Mulberry Way, says the store closing leaves a gap for residents. “Without Marty’s, it makes it more difficult to acquire food, and great food at that,” Zoth says. “We do still have places like Reyna Foods and Strip District Meats and Wholeys but Marty’s served so much more than what these places do singularly.
While he’d like to see another grocery store in the space, Zoth has a theory about why Marty’s ultimately was unsuccessful. “In my opinion, they were a bit too specialized and pricey for the Pittsburgh market.”
Orkoskey says he’s not sure the Strip can sustain another grocery store, but thinks a restaurant would be a draw for the neighborhood, and could persuade some of the other shop owners to stay open later. “I’d love to see more restaurants in the Strip, because it not only helps residents, but could help grow evening business for everyone.”