A hometown return hits the spot

Two NA alumni recently expanded their local business, The Spot Pittsburgh, opening a location right down the street from where they grew up.

The+Spot+Pittsburgh%27s+second+location+in+Wexford+offers+acai+bowls%2C+smoothies%2C+and+coffee.

photo by Abby Pingpank

The Spot Pittsburgh’s second location in Wexford offers acai bowls, smoothies, and coffee.

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

When they graduated from North Allegheny in 1987, Tom O’Day and Greg Rizzer never thought they would own a small business only a couple of miles from where they grew up. However, a little over 30 years later, they started an acai bowl shop called The Spot Wexford just down the street from NASH.

“Tom and I met because we shared common interests and both played volleyball for NA. We are both proud to have been members of the 1987 state championship volleyball team. We also shared a common interest in movies and music, such as the Cure, the Smiths– you know, the 80’s stuff,” Rizzer said. 

Both Rizzer and O’Day took different paths after high school.

“Tom worked in the glass industry for over 20 years. I have had many careers [and have been] a video game designer and a producer for Electronic Arts and Sony,” Rizzer said. “I also worked for Tesla Motors for a few years here in Pittsburgh.”

The idea to start a business was always something the two friends had dreamt of, but when it came to what they wanted to do, the possibilities seemed endless.

“I give Tom the credit here,” Rizzer said.  “We decided we wanted to go into business together but didn’t really know what type of business. Tom was well versed in acai bowls and basically enlightened me about the industry. After doing some more research, we saw a great opportunity to develop this business in Pittsburgh because there are few options for bowls.”

Since the acai bowl business has been successful in many other parts of the country, including major cities and tourist spots, the two NA grads decided to give it a go.  The Spot Pittsburgh is the name the owners use to cover all locations

The new location on Brandt School Road is a dream come true for us because I grew up off of Wexford Bayne Road. [As kids], we used to play in the orchards when we were little.”

— Greg Rizzer, the Spot Pittsburgh co-owner

“Our first location is in Fox Chapel. That store opened July 5, 2019. We are extremely proud of the growth there, and we even saw a significant increase in sales during the pandemic,” Rizzer said.

On April 10th, the two opened a store right in the heart of their old stomping grounds.

“The new location on Brandt School Road is a dream come true for us because I grew up off of Wexford Bayne Road. [As kids], we used to play in the orchards,” Rizzer said. 

North Allegheny sophomore Tess Erimias started working part-time at the Wexford location when it opened.

“I really enjoy working at the Spot,” she said.  “I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many kind upperclassmen from NA that otherwise I would have never known.” 

Erimias enjoys seeing familiar faces walk through the door.

“I love getting to see people come in after school to get one of our bowls or smoothies and seeing them enjoy what I or my coworkers have made,” she added.

Part of what makes Erimias’s job special is the North Allegheny alumni who always stop by.

“I really love seeing NA graduates come back and choose to work within the community,” she said.  “Hearing about everything they have accomplished and experienced makes me really excited to see what I can go on to accomplish after graduating.” 

As more and more customers flock to the The Spot Wexford, O’Day and Rizzer are thrilled to be growing a thriving business in their hometown.

“We are so excited to see all the NA students coming through on a daily basis,” Rizzer said. “We’re extremely happy to be a part of the North Allegheny and Wexford community and want to thank the incredible customers who are coming in on a regular basis to pick up our bowls, smoothies, and coffee.”