Pittsburgh partners with CommonWealth Press to sell official city merchandise

The City of Pittsburgh partners with CommonWealth Press to sell the city’s first officially licensed merchandise.

Peduto administration officials announced in September that they were looking to partner with a company to create Pittsburgh-branded products. On Wednesday, the city council approved a partnership measure with Pittsburgh-based CommonWealth Press.

CommonWealth Press employees said they were eager to work with the city, but declined to provide details on what kind of merchandise would be available or when it would go on sale. The company said it aimed to create an official line of merchandise representing a “wide range of Pittsburgh-centric ideas.”

The company sells Pittsburgh-themed merchandise, ranging from shirts and bags to greeting cards and coffee mugs. The company, owned by Dan Rugh, has an outlet in Mount Lebanon and has printed items for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign and other organizations.

This agreement will not prevent other businesses from selling Pittsburgh-themed items. Several companies, including Shop412 and Steel City Clothing, have based their brands on selling items that invoke Pittsburgh pride.

Officially licensed merchandise will bear a label or decal that declares it official merchandise of the city to differentiate it from other items bearing Pittsburgh colors or symbols.

A portion of the proceeds from merchandise sales will go to the city, said Patrick Cornell, deputy director of the city’s Office of Management and Budget. He told council members last week that he could estimate the revenue that merchandise sales could generate.

Councilman Bruce Kraus said at last week’s meeting that he’d like to make sure the final deal includes a measure for city officials to have a say in what kind of merchandise is produced and sold.

The measure was approved unanimously on Tuesday. Councilman Ricky Burgess was not present during the vote.

Julia Felton is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, [email protected] or via Twitter .