By Kim Lyons
Over the past few years, Butler Street in Lawrenceville has become one of the hottest retail corridors in the city.
But when entrepreneur Rebecca Morris opened WildCard gift shop five years ago, she was something of a pioneer, even though her choice of location was partly one of convenience.
“I moved to Lawrenceville in 2003 and bought a house because I really liked the neighborhood,” she said.
WildCard was one of the earliest tenants of the 16:62 Design Zone, an interior design district stretching from the 16th Street Bridge to 62nd Street. “There were a few businesses there, like Coca Cafe, and a stained glass studio, really focused on art and design. At the time it was a little easier to get into retail there, and I felt like we fit in well in the neighborhood.”
The shop features a variety of handmade, one-of-a-kind goods, from Godzilla-themed Hanukkah cards and “Raise the Jolly Roger” T-shirts to hand-painted and hand-crocheted items. It’s like a one-stop craft fair, which has been part of Ms. Morris’ plan all along.
“I had been going to different independent craft fairs in and out of town, but some of them are quarterly and some of them are only once a year,” she said. “I thought it would be really cool to have a place where vendors could have a collection of their stuff.”
Ms. Morris grew up in Shaler and has a background in graphic design. She moved to Chicago for a few years, keeping the Lawrenceville house and renting it to a friend, and worked at a craft store in the Windy City with the intention of returning to Pittsburgh and opening her own shop.
She returned to Pittsburgh in 2008, with a plan for a store that involved craft supplies.