Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Anna Adams-Sarthou worked from home.
The founder of A.S. Comms, a public relations firm, grew tired of seeing the same four walls, so she joined Beauty Shoppe. Since 2011, the Pittsburgh-based company has been transforming historic buildings into creative hubs that feature flexible seating, private desks and offices and light-filled community spaces.
Adams-Sarthou worked at Beauty Shoppe’s East Liberty site for a few months, until the shutdown forced her back into her own abode.
These days, you can find her at Arsenal Motors, the newest coworking location in Lawrenceville, where she does strategic communications for various businesses, including Beauty Shoppe.
“I like to work with entities that I really believe in and whose mission goes beyond them just making money,” Adams-Sarthou says. “Beauty Shoppe wants to be part of the fabric of the community.”
Originally constructed by Ford Motor Co. in 1910 as a manufacturing space, the building at 3700 Butler St. opened to members and for public reservations on July 6. The 30,000-square-foot, mixed-use project is a joint venture of Q Development, Ernie Sota (Sota Construction) and Beauty Shoppe.
Arsenal Motors will host the first of four socially distant summer open houses on Friday, August 7. Tours will be held from noon to 7 p.m., with live music from 3 to 7 p.m. You can book your visit online.
Guests will get a peek at private offices and workstations spread out across two floors, as well as eight unique and bookable event and meeting areas, including lounge space, a boardroom, conference rooms and shared kitchens. There’s internal bicycle parking, showers for commuters and an indoor parking garage. A ground-floor café and retail space are in the works, along with a rooftop area for private events.
“The design was really built from the building’s terrific bones,” says Matthew Ciccone, CEO of Beauty Shoppe. “We had these huge windows, tall ceilings, lots of natural light, big spaces, and the aesthetic naturally built on those qualities. It is an inspiring space in which to work or meet. We’re excited to welcome people and eventually events when we can, and eager to see people using it.
While workspaces have taken a big hit during the pandemic, Arsenal Motors was about 30 percent pre-sold before its grand opening.
Beauty Shoppe members can access all three locations — there’s also one Downtown — for meeting and flex workspace. Pricing for memberships is $200 per month or $30 per day, and private meeting space starts at $75 per hour.
Although the virus has changed work routines, Ciccone feels Beauty Shoppe provides safe spaces for people to socialize and escape the isolation of their own homes.
There are COVID-19-specific safety measures in place, which are applicable to all members, staff, visitors and vendors. Everyone must utilize PPE within all common or shared areas. Disposable PPE, as well as hand and surface sanitizers, are available to all members.
Daily cleaning checklists are posted in common areas to promote transparency. Additional janitorial services are offered to private office members. Common area seating and workstations are sanitized regularly by staff throughout each workday.
Entryways are modified to limit hand contact while still maintaining access control and security. All visitors are required to be pre-registered in Beauty Shoppe’s member portal in order to enter the building.
Aadam Soorma, a freelance writer and digital curator for Very Local Pittsburgh, has been a Beauty Shoppe member since 2015.
The Sharpsburg resident says he feels safe in the new facility.
“It’s quiet. I feel like everyone is doing a very nice job,” he says. “With co-working, you have to be very self-aware of the noise level, sense of space and how you interact with it. People are being respectful, wearing masks and being mindful of one another.”
Morgan Stewart and Lexi Ribar, co-founders of the interior and design business, Studio Lithe, used Beauty Shoppe office space, and served as the in-house design team, when building their own company.
“It’s core to our business to support entrepreneurs and we’ve been fully supportive of two strong women entrepreneurs and designers taking that step on their own,” Ciccone says. “We’re excited to see where they go and excited to continue working together on future projects.”