Pittsburgh’s Creative Culture Shines through The Glassblock

Adam Shuck’s writing has been called honest, snarky, irreverent, and even merciless, but his voice is one that resonates with progressive-minded Pittsburghers young and old. In 2014 Adam began publishing Eat That, Read This, a daily email newsletter rounding up stories on news, culture, and politics with a heavy focus on the Pittsburgh region. What started as a lunchtime lark soon soared in popularity, becoming required reading for the city’s in-the-know set.

Having garnered a sizeable audience, Adam recognized an opportunity to start something bigger. His vision: An online multimedia magazine dedicated to showcasing all the creative talent the Steel City has to offer. But before going to press, Adam sought the guidance of the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center to lay the logistical groundwork for this endeavor.

Challenges
Adam met with a management consultant at the Pitt SBDC to sort out the managerial aspects of his project – forming an LLC, crafting a business plan, determining financing requirements, and understanding the tax and legal implications of the new enterprise. Thanks to his burgeoning fan base and network of supporters, it became clear that a crowdfunding campaign would be Adam’s best bet, allowing him to raise funds whilesimultaneously raising awareness and support for the project, now christened The Glassblock – a nod to Pittsburgh’s instrumental yet unsung role in the industrial glass industry over a century ago.

Assistance Provided by the Pitt SBDC
After attending the SBDC’s First and Second Step Workshops, Adam had the foundation needed to align his creative vision with a clear and concrete business strategy. His SBDC consultant guided him through the steps required to register the new business entity, also referring Adam to trusted legal and financial advisors. Consultant and client touched base regularly to keep the startup on track. Block by block, Adam’s business was falling into place.

Impact and Results
Guidance from the SBDC provided crucial context to Adam’s Kickstarter campaign, and the public’s response was overwhelmingly positive. On December 16, The Glassblock’s Kickstarter campaign came to a close – with $18,366 contributed by 366 backers, well above its $17,000 goal. The Glassblock is slated to launch in January 2016, and the anticipation is tremendous. The enterprise will be a full-time job for Adam and his business partner, and will provide freelance opportunities for many more Pittsburgh writers, artists, and creators. With the ongoing help of the Pitt SBDC, The Glassblock will soon be cemented in Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape as a window into the creative soul of the Steel City.