How SCORE helped. 

SCORE PITTSBURGH Client Awarded A Pittsburgh Magazine 2013 “Best of the Burgh" Award
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The Pittsburgh Chapter of SCORE is pleased to announce that Paint Monkey, owned by Mary Lou Bradley and Joe Groom, was recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine with a “Best of the Burgh” award for 2013 - Best Alternative to Paint By Numbers.  Paint Monkey, located in Lawrenceville, serves aspiring painters of all skill levels, offering classes, parties and a creative environment to gather, celebrate and enjoy a unique artistic experience.  Its success is prompting an expansion by the owners, who are planning a second location in Cranberry in late 2013. 

When Mary Lou and Joe relocated to Pittsburgh with aspirations to start a business, they had the ideas and skills, but needed some education and help to move forward with their business start-up. They were familiar with SCORE and decided to attend a SCORE workshop: Small Business Basics: How to Start & Grow Your BusinessSubjects covered in the workshop include developing an effective business pan, record keeping and taxes, bank loan financing, marketing, and legal aspects of small business.  The workshops are presented by professionals in the field and SCORE counselors.  They also took advantage of SCORE’s free mentoring and received some valuable information and suggestions from their mentor, Art Green. They were not alone in their workshop; it was also a good opportunity for networking with other people with similar interests in starting businesses in the Pittsburgh area.

Mary Lou and Joe are advocates of the SCORE workshops and the mentoring programs.  They would recommend them to business owners and aspiring business owners. Mary Lou said "SCORE gave us the tools we needed and showed us the basic elements of opening/running a business...kind of like showing someone how to ride a bike...once you've mastered that basic skill, you can go pretty much anywhere.” Joe has a similar opinion on SCORE, "SCORE covered all the bases - it was up to us to bring it home.  It should be your first step in opening up a business."

Art Green of SCORE acted as a mentor to Mary Lou and Joe.  He indicated that they arrived at the SCORE workshop with their dream and a business plan already well on it’s way.  He said that “he had a real good vibe right away that they would make it.  They are a nice success story and it’s gratifying to have worked with them.”  Art has been active in SCORE for over eight years.  He believes, along with Mary Lou and Joe, that the assistance SCORE provides by mentoring, workshops, referrals and advice to business owners and aspiring business owners made a difference in the success of Paint Monkey. 

Mary Lou uses Social Media extensively, such as FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram, as a mainstay in building and marketing her business.  Social Media is also an effective outlet for the budding artists to post their artwork. As a large portion of their customer base is 25 to 35 years old, the incorporation of social media in the marketing of their business was a logical choice.

Paint Monkey is making a splash in the Burgh and has even been visited by Sally Wiggin and WTAE.  The success of Paint Monkey is a perfect example of a successful blending of the owner’s talents, expertise and drive, the outreach of today’s technology and media environments, and the mentoring and workshops offered by SCORE.  

Mary Lou, a Native Pittsburgher with a background in Operations Management and Joe, a multi-talented artist from New York, have made a colorful mark with their unique business.  They are online at and their studio is located at 100 43rd Street, Ice House Studios, in the Burgh, where they help people create art work, enjoy parties, celebrate, and make memories! 


For more information on the Pittsburgh SCORE chapter, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, please visit them at   SCORE is a business counseling/mentoring organization providing free counseling, resources and advice to people who are in business or want to start a business. SCORE also provides free or low cost workshops on various business topics.  Volunteer counselors are experienced owners or managers of businesses that volunteer their time to help small businesses succeed.


Paint Monkey