Moop, a popular local maker of canvas bags, opened its first walk-in retail space and moved its manufacturing operations Downtown.

Launched in 2007, Moop offers collections of handmade-in-Pittsburgh messenger bags, tote bags, backpacks and shoulder bags. Until now the goods were only available online or at limited pop-up events.

Customers at the new space at 429 First Avenue will be able to hear the whir of sewing machines making the various bags as they peruse the collection in the new 1,800-square-foot facility.

moop wendy

Wendy Downs at work.

Having those two things live side by side at Moop has always been part of owner and founder Wendy Downs’ vision. “It’s always been important to me that the manufacturing process is visible,” says Downs. “Many things in our lives are made by hand but we often lose that connection; there is still a physical barrier to the process of it.”

Downs chose Downtown because of the energy as well as the central location–she can take the T to work from her home in Mt. Lebanon.

Moop bags will be for sale in the retail space as well as a curated selection of small-scale manufacturers. Current hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with weekend hours likely during the holidays.

The first in-store event will be held in collaboration with Pittsburgh-based clothing manufacturer Neon Social on Friday, October 21, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to kick off Moop’s next chapter with a Neon Social pop-up shop, showcasing two brands that exemplify well-crafted, durable, functional design,” says Downs.

Moop shelves

Moop’s new headquarters in Downtown Pittsburgh.