Tis the season for giving, and in the same spirit that we decide to gift area businesses once a month with a case of Iron City, we’d like to take this opportunity to identify some hip spots in the Pgh that you can purchase your holiday gifts while buying local. With all the political turmoil these days, buying local is one of the best ways to help improve the U.S.’s economy. Forget about Wal-Mart, these ten local shops are sustaining their businesses without turning corporate. We spread our own version of holiday cheer this past weekend, Beer Run style. Here’s what we found.
Our first stop was Kards Unlimited, who sells way more than just cards. Located at 5522 Walnut Street in the lovely neighborhood of Shadyside, Kards Unlimited is the perfect store if you’re looking to find something for everyone on your list. They even have Party Rats! Tchotchkes galore and more await you here. They have an excellent book and calendar selection as well. Need a novelty t-shirt or two? They just might have what you’re looking for. We were also delighted to learn that a member of the staff has heard of our Beer Runs before and we made her day! That’s what these are all about here folks.
The newly-opened Panello Boutique was our second stop. Located in the former space that Sugar occupied at 3703 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, we recognized the decor from Jupe Boutique in the South Side, and sure enough, it’s owned by the same person! The lovely Cara Moody knows how to curate a shop that’s both inviting and stylish at the same time. The clothes were adorable, and we were more than happy to leave her with a case of beer she surely deserves! We also discovered that both boutique names translate to skirt, one in French and one in Italian. How clever!
The Framery, which is located at 3627 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, is the perfect spot to get art and photographs framed to give to your loved ones for the holidays. Everyone knows that getting something framed isn’t cheap, so if you’re going to spend the money, you might as well have a great experience to go along with it. The woman who runs this shop was amazingly friendly, and I could tell she treats every customer that walks through the door with that same sense of welcomeness and kindness. The Framery aims to provide a framing and mounting service that is fast, efficient and cost effective. When it comes to framing, what more could you ask for!?
Divertido was our next stop. We’ve always wanted to check this place out and were worried when we saw the former storefront empty, but not to fret! For those of you out of the loop, Divertido had to relocate down Butler a bit due to a flood last year. We were happy to see them still alive and kickin’. Located at 3609 Butler Street, this is the perfect store if you’re looking for some high-end tchotchkes. We found a nifty block puzzle, which is 8 puzzles in 1, as well as a handy pocket cutlery set, some awesome handmade beaded jewelry, delightfully cute ornaments and an awesome pi-shaped pie cutter. If you’re looking for a lighthearted novelty gift, Divertido is just the store for you. They also have a blog that’s worth checking out! I found this shirt on it. WANT!
Next up, Furnish, a quaint furniture store located at 4312 Butler Street. Furnish offers “industrial country” finds and reclaimed furniture. I wasn’t familiar with the term before, but I must say, industrial country is a nice take on a classic style, incorporating a variety of creative techniques to inject the edge into an otherwise conservative look. We found these cute monkeys who apparently like beer. They also had a drum set behind the counter. This store had a lot of character. It also had one of our favorite long lost pals, Smellis Ellis. Nice to see ya girl! Check out some of their re purposed items online, which are perfect for the unique individuals in your life. They have some truly one-of-a-kind finds!
Looks like someone shares our affinity for knocked-out owls! Located in the bustling Strip District neighborhood at 2124 Penn Avenue, hot haute hot is just that! Everything about this store was hot, from the lovely ladies working, to the beautiful jewelry, to the amazing home furnishings. If I wanted to step up my hotness game, this is where I’d go. They even wrapped the gift we purchased beautifully. Everything about this place oozed a sense of class and style that was top-notch. If you need something for the classy broads in your life, this is where we’d recommend you go.
Contemporary Craft, located at 2100 Smallman Street in the Strip was our next destination. This combination gallery/retail space sustains itself by selling items in their retail space to keep the gallery up and running. They host a variety of artists “to engage the public in the creative experience through contemporary craft”. We had the opportunity to check out the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s 101st Annual Exhibition while we were there – what a feat! The space also offers classes and a drop-in studio. Be sure to check out their holiday gift guide to find an item that is perfect for the crafty person in your life.
The Andy Warhol Museum Gift Shop was our next stop. While I’ve been to the museum quite a few times, I’d never been to the gift shop, which is nestled in a corner of the museum that contains a window to the outside world. Their variety of artifacts have been luring me in to take a peek for some time now, so I was glad to check it out. While they carry a wide variety of Warhol-related items, they also have a lot of random things as well. We found an awesome spray paint can cocktail shaker. They also have some really sweet iPhone cases as well. The perfect stop for the art-lover in your life, Located at 117 Sandusky Street in the North Side, the Warhol’s gift shop is more than just a gift shop, it’s the hippest museum gift shop in town!
We ventured to the South Side for our final two stops. We wanted to hit a place for the chocolate lovers out there and decided The Milkshake Factory at 1705 East Carson Street was the perfect choice! While their milkshakes ARE fantastic, this place is also the perfect option for buying a box of chocolates or three for those in your life with a sweet tooth. Peanut butter, mint, caramel, cherry – you name it, they had it in chocolate form. They also had chocolate covered Oreos, pretzels and peanuts. I left there drooling, for sure! Be sure to check out their recent feature on KDKA to learn how to make delicious milkshakes at home!
Last, but certainly not least, as my partner in crime had been dying to come here all day, we ventured into The Culture Shop. Perfect for the free spirit in your life, this shop has everything a hippie could possibly want. Incense, earrings, belly chains, tapestries, skirts, dresses, purses, shawls, ponchos and more – forget about tie dye – this place has it all. The staff was extremely helpful when it came to stretching our dollar. They offer quality items at reasonable prices. A South Side staple, The Culture Shop is a place I will be visiting more often. They chose the most interesting fabrics for dresses! Unique finds and a friendly staff at 1602 1/2 East Carson Street are where it’s at.
This was our favorite Beer Run to-date! We killed two birds with one stone, delivering beer to some deserving local businesses and getting the bulk of our holiday shopping out of the way in the process. We couldn’t be happier to support these fantastic local establishments. See you next month, Pgh!