Shop412 Founders, Kinkela brothers Aaron (background) and Christian (foreground) have a commitment to Burgh style and innovation. Now they have added a commitment to community to their resume as a main driver of the current collaboration with Heinz to raise money for the Food Bank — #OneMillionMeals.
We decided it was important for our supporters to learn some more about these brothers that care so much about the 412.
Give us a bit of background, where are you from etc?
Sure, we were born and raised in Plum, east of the city. We Graduated from Central Catholic in Oakland.
What do you think makes Pittsburgh so special?
Pittsburgh is special in many ways, haha we can sit here for a while, but honestly its the people. I know everyone always says that answer, but its very true. There is a special feeling when you interact with someone from Pittsburgh.
What was the catalyst of opening Shop412?
The catalyst was one day we looked at each other and said, well, lets go. We knew that it took a lot of work, but we were ready for the challenge.
What has been the most exciting point in your career so far?
Hmmm, that is a tough one because we never really look at it that way. Everyday is exciting. The fact that someone wants to walk into our space is why we get up in the morning, we appreciate every last thing. Seeing people embrace it is the most gratifying thing we can ever ask for.
Was philanthropy/giving back an important part of your childhood?
Yes, we were always aware of how important it was to be able to give back to others, and we participated as well growing up.
How did Heinz approach you about collaborating?
Actually, we reached out to them with the idea and they liked it.
Have you ever had first hand experience with food insecurity, such as maybe a friend, schoolmate or family member needing food assistance?
Fortunately no, not first hand. But its something that we know exists and that’s why being able to help someone not to have that problem is a no brainer.
How did you hear about the Food Bank and what inspired you to get involved with us?
We knew of the food bank for a while, we have relatives that volunteer there quite regularly, so it definitely made sense when we all (us and Heinz) came up with the idea to benefit the food bank.
Why do you feel that supporting the Food Bank through the Shop412 brand is such a worthy cause?
We like everything the food bank has to offer. The facility is amazing, the staff is great, and the amount of volunteers you have there is beautiful to see. So when you see such good spirited people working together, the decision is easy.
Why do you think the Food Bank and our supporters are so important to the community?
The food bank is very important to community. They serve as a pillar of goodness to the community of which where they live, and offer food for people that need it. No one should go to sleep hungry.
Is there anything new and/or exciting on the horizon for Shop412?
Haha, yes there are a lot of new things on the horizon! You’ll just have to wait and see. haha!
What would you want the main takeaway/message that folks get from the One Million Meals Campaign?
We just want people to know that it doesn’t have to stop at ONE meal. Why ever stop you know? The more the better right?
You can still get in on the #OneMillionMeals Campaign by purchasing the Shop412 and Heinz co-branded apparel from Shop412 online or in their South side store at 420 S. 27th St Pittsburgh, PA 15203, or make a donation to the campaign online.