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About

HIP at the Flashlight Factory is a historic industrial venue located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This unique destination was built in 1887, starting its life as a stamping factory for various automotive and train parts. From the 1920s until the early 2000s, Hipwell's patented single-cell battery and flashlight were manufactured within the factory, providing a sustained success for many decades. Following a brief period of non-use, Elaine Stone and Mitchell Schwartz purchased the factory in 2010. They endeavored to create a space that catered to business and events using their ample experience in refurbishing warehouse loft buildings throughout the city. This duo is diligent in their preservation, making use of what the building has to offer and turning it into an unforgettable showpiece. Nodding to the past while keeping an eye focused on the future, this team is proud to present HIP at the Flashlight Factory to betrothed couples for their exciting wedding event.

Facilities and Capacity

HIP at the Flashlight Factory is pleased to offer flexible event spaces to their clients for a variety of occasions. The extravagant main hall is ideal for larger soirees as well as receptions and banquets. Its gleaming hardwood floors draw guests out to dance and the 15-foot ceilings provide fantastic acoustics that bands can take advantage of. Brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows encase the room, providing an unforgettable industrial aesthetic to any party. The more intimate prosecco room allows couples to host a smaller gathering. This room may also be used as a get-ready space for wedding events. Whatever type of wedding a couple seeks to have, HIP at the Flashlight Factory is happy to assist in making their clients' dreams come true.

Services Offered

HIP at the Flashlight Factory has relationships with a variety of vendors in the surrounding area that couples are able to choose from for their wedding event. The team at this venue has worked tirelessly to curate a list of preferred vendors to a wide range of wants and needs that their clients may have. From catering to rentals, HIP at the Flashlight Factory is able to help couples choose the best-suited vendor for their occasion.

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Reviews of HIP at the Flashlight Factory

1.3 out of 5 rating
1.3 out of 5 rating
4 Reviews
25% recommend it
  • Quality of service
    1.3 out of 5 rating
  • Average response time
    1.3 out of 5 rating
  • Professionalism
    1 out of 5 rating
  • Value
    1.5 out of 5 rating
  • Flexibility
    1.3 out of 5 rating
Weddingwire
1.3/5 4 reviews
Google
4.2/5 55 reviews
M
Monica N. Sent on 01/09/2020
2 out of 5 rating

Not so Hip After All

To say my experience with Gracie and with HIP at the Flashlight Factory was less than positive is an understatement. This is very long, but worth a read if you are considering this as your wedding venue.
 
From the beginning, I found it odd that when I requested a floor plan or a drawing of the space, she directed me to her Instagram highlights to see how the tables could fit in the space instead of just providing rough dimensions of the different rooms. I signed her contract in February 2019 for a June 2020 wedding venue rental and asked for a signed copy by her to be returned to me for my records, and she never did. The venue’s space is very cool and was exactly what I envisioned for my wedding, so I didn’t let it bother me.
 
On October 28th, I get an email from my wedding planner (separately hired, not associated with the venue) asking if I had heard the news from Gracie about the venue no longer being able to hold my guest count (200) due to fire code violations, and that the venue can now only hold 50 people or less. I never received an email from Gracie or HIP stating that this major issue had arisen.  I had to email her to find out what was going on.  She said she didn’t have much information to share but that if I was uncomfortable waiting, she would issue me a refund.  She also stated “I will be sending updates as I get them.”  I asked specifically what the findings were so I could get a feel for what a realistic timeline would be (e.g. More exit signs? Blow out a wall to make a new exit etc.).  Her reply did not answer the question and it said “Keep an eye on IG it’s the fastest way to reach everyone” and that the issues were small and were fixed already, that it was more of a zoning/permitting thing, and that she “just moves a lot faster than the city.” 
 
November 19th, Gracie posted an IG Story video saying that there is some sort of meeting happening in December, and I emailed on 11/20 to ask several questions, including again asking what the items-to-fix are (her 11/19 video stated that all but one item has been fixed, a change from her prior update).  She did not answer what the items were.
 
HIP at the Flashlight Factory also has two Airbnb lofts that come with the 3-day wedding rental, one of the major selling points of the venue – cool, convenient, big spaces to get ready in and spend the night.  I saw on Airbnb on 12/13 that one of the lofts was listed as available on my date in 2020, so someone searching online could actually book it on Airbnb for my wedding night.
 
On 12/16 – 12/17, Gracie posted another IG Story saying her zoning meeting was rescheduled but maybe they would get a Christmas miracle. I emailed to ask when the meeting was, what was being discussed in the meeting, and what the possible outcomes are.  Her response was that it is frustrating that she doesn’t have more information and “I think we should refund your money so that you can move on with another space.  We both want the same things but I don’t want to cause extra stress with our current situation.  Again I am truly sorry this has happened and I wish you the best of luck on your wedding journey.”  I accepted her refund and then did not hear anything for almost five days, but I did receive the refund check.
 
In mid-December, I personally called the Allegheny County fire marshal and department of permits to obtain more insight into this situation, because I felt that there was more than was being shared.  The offices explained that HIP has a permit as a “business / storage” space, not an “assembly” space, which is why their number of occupants is less than 50.  I asked what a typical timeframe for granting a new permit is, and they said usually 30 days unless it is a more complicated situation. They said HIP had applied back in August / September 2019 for a temporary permit (valid for 6 months) which has not been granted.  My major takeaways from this are that Gracie has known about this issue since the summer and only started telling her clients in October / November.  The other concern is that the application was apparently for a temporary permit and not a permanent solution.

In all of this time, Gracie never once sent an email communication to us as her paid clients.  An Instagram-only communication model seems too unprofessional for the cost of renting her space.  My fiancé does not use Instagram, and I often cannot watch videos with sound while at work. The Instagram stories of Gracie speaking also disappear after 24 hours. I did not appreciate having to repeatedly ask the same question, only sometimes receiving answers, having to repeat my questions on more than one occasion. I recognize that she does not have or cannot share all of the answers, but we would have appreciated some transparency. In her final email where I was essentially booted for asking too many things, she said she didn’t have the info when her story said she had a date reschedule.  She did have a date and did not want to share it with me.  This whole situation is something that should not be blamed on the city for being slow and was controllable as a business owner.  All venues in Allegheny county have to deal with Allegheny county. It is a level playing field. Things do happen, and sometimes the way they are handed can make up for it, unfortunately not the case in this situation.  Ultimately, I am happy to be moving on with a new venue that has been excellent with communication and very professional thus far. 
Jordan
Jordan Sent on 08/16/2020
1 out of 5 rating

Do not consider

As previous reviews have stated, I was supposed to have my November 2020 here. I fell in love with this space and the idea of the space immediately, no other venue in Pittsburgh offers this kind of industrial feel. However, the owners are complete morons. We officially signed our contract August 2019. In November 2019, I found our through Gracie’s Instagram story that the venue could no longer hold events with more than 49 people. Never received a call or email from her about this change, had to literally find out on her IG story. When I finally called to ask what the hell is going on I received zero answers instead “they hoped it would be resolved soon and if I felt uncomfortable she would give me a full refund”. We didn’t even want to bother so we asked for a full refund and moved on. Zero honesty and zero transparency at this place, it sucks because the space is truly amazing.
Christina
Christina Sent on 11/06/2019
1 out of 5 rating

do not recommend

I was supposed to have a full weekend rental of HIP at the Flashlight Factory for my rehearsal, wedding, and sleeping accommodations. I got an email (not a text or phone call) ONE WEEK before my wedding from the venue coordinator at HIP stating that the fire marshal was no longer allowing them to host events with more than 49 guests (my guest list was 168) and to please not reach out until Monday regarding this issue as they were moving that weekend’s wedding. I replied to that email stating that I received it, and that I would appreciate a call on Sunday to go over my options once the chaos of that wedding was over. At this point my wedding was a week away and I was unsure if I had a venue or not, so my bridal party reached out to every venue we could find, hoping for availability for a plan B, which we found and put a hold on that day. Later that afternoon, I found out that HIP was made aware of this issue on THURSDAY and did not reach UNTIL SATURDAY, and stated I wait TWO MORE DAYS for them to contact me. I also found out they were performing construction on the venue for months despite being aware of the risk of not being complaint with the city requirements and were not warning clients of this risk. I didn’t hear back until I followed up with a text to the coordinator on Sunday saying I knew I was supposed to wait until Monday to be contacted, but I was 6 days out and would appreciate information. She called me back in a timely manner and let me know their team of lawyers was meeting with the city on Wednesday, so there would most likely be no answers until then, and the verdict was still very much up in the air, but she could call me back Monday to go over our options. Having worked in construction for 13 years, I was well aware of the permitting and inspection process and knew nothing would be handled quickly. My fiancé and I agreed to not take our chances on waiting until Wednesday to ultimately be told we would need to find a new venue, so I texted the coordinator on Monday to let her know we would be cancelling our rental with them, but was interested in using their tables because all of our décor that we worked on for over a year was based around their custom tables. Knowing full well I was in a pinch because of them and had now FIVE days to relocate a wedding, I was given the option to use the tables, to still use HIP as a hotel, and to take pictures at their venue as if I was still having my wedding there for $2,500. If I wanted just the tables with delivery and pickup, that would be $500. My sister was able to negotiate off this rental fee, but the coordinator took over 48 hours to respond to her phone calls, and we now had to pick up and return the tables ourselves. During that time, the coordinator was posting Instagram stories regarding her situation and how it impacted her, stating HIP was "hemorrhaging money.” When my fiancé and a handful of his groomsmen went to pick up the tables on Friday, they were met with rude behavior from the staff at HIP. At one point, my brother-in-law was actually mocked like a child for saying that one of the tables we were picking up was already damaged, along with the other tables being in a very worn condition. We retuned the tables on Sunday, at which point I texted the coordinator to let her know we were returning them, and to please reach out to me when she looked them over to discuss the deposit. She called me on Monday stating that we retuned the tables in an unacceptable condition and we would not be getting our deposit back. I asked to negotiate to get half back, and she had to return my call later, which inevitably still ended in us not getting the deposit back.
During this whole process, I felt the only thing that mattered to HIP was money, not doing any and everything necessary to right their wrong and alleviate stress instead of creating it all.
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