Adios to Aldo Coffee

Coffee aficionados in Pittsburgh already know this:  Aldo Coffee in Mt. Lebanon has closed.  New ownership will carry on the practice of high quality coffee in the same venue.

Aldo's valedictory blog post is here.  The store opened in 2004, and at the time it was in the vanguard of a lot of things in Pittsburgh:  High quality coffee as an alternative to Starbucks.  Explicit concern not just for the quality of the beans and the flavor in the cup, but for fair treatment of the people who grow and sell the beans.  Aldo was an early adopter of broad-based social media strategies to support a small business.  Today, outstanding coffee houses are flourishing all over Pittsburgh.  Marketing via social media is the rule, not the exception.

Along the way, Aldo provoked.  It made a lot of friends.  It also alienated a few people.  The real cost of a cup of coffee at Aldo reflected the real costs of making coffee.  Was that honesty, or pretense? 

Above all, and in the face of a lot of locals who thought (and perhaps still think) that Pittsburgh is fine just the way it is, Aldo unsettled the status quo.  In this Pittsblog post, I linked to some Aldo comments about the future of localism and small business. Pittsburghers take enormous pride in their neighborhoods and in their small towns.  They still buy an awful lot of coffee at 7-11 and Sheetz and Dunkin' Donuts, and when they go upscale, they are often spotted at Starbucks. 

Thanks, Rich and Melanie, for giving us the love of your labors over the years.

They named the dog, "Aldo."


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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