Inspired by philanthropy and motivated by good causes, these local shop owners support charity with the belief that retail therapy isn’t only about good shopping, it’s also about shopping that does some good.
Photos by Becky Thurner Braddock
It’s easy to see that Pittsburgh is looking good while doing good. Just in this feature alone, we reference 26 local shops, stores or boutiques that are giving back by supporting close to 30 charities. One example is Chick, a downtown boutique with the latest report on spring trends: “Color, denim and white—of course,” explains manager Richard Bryan. The shop also makes a fashion statement by providing T-shirts to the Steel City Enforcers, the City of Pittsburgh police baseball team, and by donating items to events benefiting those with leukemia or cystic fibrosis.
In Squirrel Hill at Charles Spiegel, owner Charles Spiegel himself dons a skinny black suit, explaining, “This is what’s in—a suit with a skinny pant.” What’s also in at the fashion-forward menswear shop is giving back. Spiegel’s commitment to philanthropy is demonstrated through his annual support of juvenile diabetes research. “We’re on board with doing our part by contributing gift certificates for a juvenile diabetes event,” says Spiegel.
Yes, style, trends and fresh design keep shoppers shopping season after season. However, beyond ever-changing trends in hemlines and color palettes, the most “in” element with its longevity and popularity—season after season—for many retailers has been philanthropy. A model sashaying down the catwalk for a charity fashion show in all black or perfectly wrapped items on a silent-auction table waiting for the highest bidders are visible signs that philanthropy comes packaged as the perfect fit for everybody—the ultimate one-size-fits-all.
serve our community and its residents.
Supporting our community is the right thing to do.”
– Tom Michael,
Not only do some shop owners sponsor cause-driven events, they might also carry products in their stores that benefit charities through the manufacturer’s commitment to giving back. Other retailers may not align themselves with an event annually or support one charity full-force, but they do their part to get behind important causes by carrying a label that means a percentage of proceeds from the sale is given to charity.
Take Sephora. This business isn’t only about providing customers with the right shade of eye shadows for spring—FYI: Pink and lilac are in hot demand—it also lends support to customers battling cancer who want to learn how to create the illusion of eyelashes or eyebrows lost during chemotherapy. In addition, Sephora carries Anthony products for men. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Anthony products is donated to prostate-cancer research (look for the little blue ribbon).
At Pursuits on Filbert Street in Shadyside, don’t miss Cute Tools, a line of kitchen utensils that donates a portion of sales from each Cute Tool product sold to Art for a Cause, an organization that encourages continued art education in schools.
Partnering with charities is another philanthropic strategy. During any given week, shop owners receive 10 to 15 requests for donations from local charities, according to most retailers. “It’s overwhelming at times, because we as the retailer want to help, and the great thing about this business is that we can. This business provides an avenue to give back,” explains Roberta Weissburg, owner of Roberta Weissburg Leathers in Shadyside. “So many of the fashion shows we do are for charities,” adds Weissburg, who supports several organizations, including Hillman Cancer Center, Ohio Valley General Hospital, Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends.
How about a five-minute shopping spree during which you can take home all that you can put on for free? Carol Kinkela, owner of Carabella in Oakmont, organizes an annual fall fashion event to benefit Alzheimer’s disease research. “At the end of the evening, a raffle ticket is drawn, and the raffle winner receives a five-minute Carabella shopping spree,” she explains. The winner walks away with what she can fit on her body during that time. “With proceeds of each sale that evening being donated to Alzheimer’s research and the shopping spree, we raise over $30,000 each year,” Kinkela says. Carabella also supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House, which provides lodging in its Shadyside home and apartments for families whose children are being treated in local hospitals.
A few blocks away from Carabella on Allegheny River Boulevard is Mia Boutique, where owner Yvonne Petraitis contributes a percentage of monthly sales to the local chapter of Gilda’s Club, a meeting place where men, women and children living with cancer, along with their families and friends, can go for support. “I love this organization; it’s completely nonprofit,” says Petraitis.
At Larrimor’s, supporting children-related, cause-driven events is the preference. “If we succeed in impacting the life of just one child, we have made a difference, and to us that is what giving back is all about,” says Tom Michael, president of Larrimor’s, with locations downtown and at The Galleria in Mount Lebanon. Over the years, Larrimor’s has proudly supported other organizations, including the Children’s Institute and the Ronald McDonald House.
Ten Thousand Villages in Squirrel Hill is a nonprofit, fair-trade retailer offering quality, handcrafted products to customers while providing economic opportunity for skilled artisans in Asia, Africa and Latin America. “I wouldn’t be here if part of what we do didn’t help others,” says manager Jennifer Legler.
education, health care and housing for our artisans,
who are primarily women, from around the world.
We want to empower all women to build
a more peaceful, global community.”
– Jennifer Legler, manager,
Ten Thousand Villages
When you visit Lucy, an Oakmont shoe and accessories store, you’ll notice a box at the entrance, where customers can drop off their new or used shoes. Lucy owner Rosemary Zottola collects as many shoes as the box can hold then ships them to Soles4Souls, a Tennessee-based organization whose mission is: “To impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes.” Soles4Souls’ sole purpose is to provide shoes to people around the world who can’t afford them. “Last year alone I shipped over 200 pairs of shoes to Soles—it feels good to know I’ve helped someone who needed it—it’s a mix of business with personal attached,” says Zottola.
While business is still business, look at it this way: The better business is for retailers, the better they’re able to make contributions to charity. Shop owners have created for themselves the ultimate return policy when it comes to philanthropy: Give back to the community; receive 100 percent of personal gain in return.
Read on to find 50-plus prime finds for spring and learn about seven retailers who open their doors to share their phil-an-SHOP-ic philosophy on giving back.
1840 Greentree Road, Green Tree;
Jeff Lenchner couldn’t be happier. Having raised in excess of $150,000 in more than 15 years for the Make A Wish Foundation, the president and CEO of Today’s Home, an interior design center with three area locations, says, “I can honestly admit we have never been
associated with a more gifted organization.” In addition to raising money to help children, Today’s Home has also granted three direct
wishes of children who wanted new bedrooms. “Our link as a company with these amazing kids has been a blessing,” says Lenchner.
5817 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
For Cheryl Chotiner, owner of Cheryl W., an accessory and specialty gift boutique in Squirrel Hill, deciding to help focus attention on epilepsy was easy: “After finding out my friend had epilepsy, I wanted to help in the efforts to support others with this condition.” Chotiner, along with Sandra Weinstein, founded Imagine. This organization raises funds to support children and teens with epilepsy at Camp Great Rock, a week-long, overnight camp in Buckeystown, Md. Together they’ve designed multicolored bracelets sold at the store. Proceeds from the sale of the bracelets go to support Imagine.
and organizations as possible.”
—Kenny Cohen, owner
and manager, Contemporary Concepts
From left to right:
- Hard eyeglass case (left) ($17) by Vera Bradley with pink uptown-girl sunglasses ($65) by Brighton. Available at Littles.
- Left to right (below): Eighteen-karat-gold rose-cut hematite, quartz and diamond ring ($4,700), 18-karat white-gold coral, quartz and black-sapphire ring ($4,590), 18-karat white-gold mother of pearl, quartz and black-sapphire Boreno ring ($5,550) and 18-karat yellow-gold mother of pearl, champagne quartz and diamond ring ($4,590). All by Stephen Webster. Available at Orr’s Jewelers.
- Stainless-steel bowl ($99) by Alessi. Available at Contemporary Concepts.
From left to right:
- Hot-pink and yellow “don’t blow out” umbrellas ($79) by Sam’s Umbrella. Available at Mia Boutique.
- Shabby-chic white tin mantle clock ($98). Available at Anthropologie.
- Pink plaid wellies ($40) by Annabelle. Available at Lucy.
- Hand-painted wooden- handle server and matching coffee scoop ($15 each) by Cute Tools. Available at Pursuits.
techniques to reconfigure their eyebrows or flush color
back into their smiling cheeks.”
product consultant, Sephora
From left to right:
- Left to right: Fresh bloom all-over color compact with Plump and Shine lip gloss ($30/set); double compact mineral foundation ($22); colorful duo eye shadow ($16 each) with visual- effects mascara ($19.50). Available at Sephora.
- Yellow links shawl ($135) by Baby Alpaca. Available at Alpaca de Moda Boutique.
2220 E. Carson St., South Side;
"Perry and I have always believed that it is important to give back to the community,” says Lora Sigesmund of PerLora, the contemporary furniture store and interior-design group on the South Side she owns with her husband, Perry Sigesmund. Whether it’s for Gilda’s Club or for the Susan G. Komen organization, which is dedicated to education and research for the cure of breast cancer, PerLora has supported numerous charities. “Ever since we opened in 1994, we have been giving back to the community,” says Sigesmund, “and we try to spread the wealth, so to speak, as much as we can.”
From left to right:
- This cotton and rayon sports coat ($1,147), linen jeans ($325), paisley linen silk shirt ($322) and patent-leather crocodile embossed belt ($340) are all by Etro. Available at Charles Spiegel.
- “Essence of Pittsburgh: The Paintings of Ron Donoughe” is a set of 20 cards with envelopes ($20) featuring paintings from the book of the same name. Available at Signatures and donoughe.com.
- Scoop-neck tank dress ($148) with tulips motiff. Available at Anthropologie.
- Spirit green spice body spray ($20) by Anthony. Available at Sephora.
From left to right:
- Sunflower platter ($188) by Mariposa. Available at Contemporary Concepts.
- Eighteen-karat white-gold multistone necklace with white diamonds, champagne diamonds, brown tourmalines, green tourmalines and orange tourmalines ($15,425) with matching pendant ($4,370). Available at Henne.
- Lamp shade ($88) with aviary theme and birdcage motiff. Available at Anthropologie.Silver lamp base ($128). Available at Anthropologie.
- Blue and white teapot ($34) stacked with cup. Available at Ten Thousand Villages.
5401 Walnut St., Shadyside;
Michael Barone, owner of Moda, a hip menswear boutique in the heart of Shadyside, makes a conscious decision to support local charities. Although his efforts include donating silent-auction items for events, raising money for good causes and donations made to various charities, Barone chooses not to select just one group to support. “We don’t align with any one charity, but will donate to most worthy causes,” explains Barone. Daily sales of Nudie Jeans Co., a denim label that Moda carries, support Amnesty International, a human-rights organization. Nudie has created graphic, cotton T’s ($79 each) to raise money for Amnesty’s work. Part of the proceeds from every T-shirt sold are donated to Amnesty.
From left to right:
- Beaded and sequined purse ($65). Available at Dales Maxima.
- White straplessdress ($440) with belted waist by David Meister. Available at Occasions.
- White leather watch ($95), by Brighton. Available at Roberta Weissburg Leathers.
- Silver “Key to Happiness” ($30) by Jessica Elliott Designs. Available at Mia Boutique.
—Roberta Weissburg, owner,
Roberta Weissburg Leathers
From left to right:
- Black and white graphic-print three-quarter coat ($422) with black beaded neckline and white-cotton stretch pants ($170) are both by Donna Degan; the black tank ($52) is by A’nue Ligne. All available at Carabella.
- White Collin coat ($298) by French Connection and beaded necklace with crystal ($146) by Alma Lleras. Available at Mia Boutique.
- Paper cutout 5-by-7-inch frame ($20) in all white. Available at Ten Thousand Villages.
- Short-sleeve white jacket ($430) by Francesca and solid black pants ($350) by Laurel and are available at Linda Bucci.
IN THE KITCHEN
1725 Penn Ave., Strip District;
“Our main focus at In The Kitchen,” explains owner KC Lapiana of her cookware, bakeware and cutlery store, “is to focus on supporting women and children.” Through gift certificates to ITK cooking classes or for merchandise, Lapiana is able to provide a form of education for those who love the art of cooking. ITK also sells many breast-cancer-awareness products to support research and awareness of the disease. Look for merchandise in all-over pink—items include utensils to larger appliances such as an electric mixer.
PITTSBURGH PRO BICYCLES
5876 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
It’s hard to miss the basket of stacked license-plate frames on the main counter of Pittsburgh Pro Bicycles. A large hand-written note sticks out and grabs your attention: “License Plate Frames $5. All Proceeds Will Go To Charity.” The charity that benefits from the sale of these frames is Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group, which protects and encourages multi-use trail access around the city. “They put the money into redoing the trails and reinvesting it into our biking community,” says David Blank, co-owner of the Squirrel Hill shop. “We will do anything to help keep biking an open road for our customers and our community.”
717 Liberty Ave., downtown;
At its prime location in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, upscale fashion-forward clothier Chick makes a statement about doing good while looking good. In this downtown shop are found designers such as 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Tibi and Robert Rodriguez. “We do what we do to help others; it makes everything worthwhile,” says manager Richard Bryan. That includes sponsoring the Steel City Enforcers, the City of Pittsburgh police baseball team, by providing team T-shirts that carry the Chick logo on the back and giving silent-auction items to events for the Leukemia Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
phil-an-shop-ic charity directory
Help support your local retailers in their effort to give back by contributing to any one of these worthwhile charities.
- Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, Ohio Township;
- Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, 6620 Hamilton Ave., East Liberty;
- ALS Association: 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 150, Calabasis Hills, Calif.,
- Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Pennsylvania Chapter, 1100 Liberty Ave., Suite E-201, downtown;
- American Heart Association, National Center, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, Texas;
- Amnesty International, Mid-Atlantic Office, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.;
- Art for a Cause, 2294 Cole St., Birmingham, Mich.;
- The Children’s Institute, 1405 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, 3705 Fifth Ave., Oakland;
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 810 River Ave., Suite 100, North Side;
- Forbes Hospice of the West Penn Allegheny Health System, 115 S. Neville St., Oakland;
- Gilda’s Club of Western Pennsylvania, 2816 Smallman St., Strip District;
- Hillman Cancer Center, 5115 Centre Ave., Shadyside;
- Imagine at Camp Great Rock, Buckeystown, Md.; childrensnational.org/departmentsandprograms.
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Western Pennsylvania Chapter, 960 Penn Ave., Suite 1000, downtown;
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western Pennsylvania, 333 E. Carson St., Suite 441, South Side;
- Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Neonatal Unit, 200 Lothrop St., Oakland;
- Make a Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and Southern West Virginia, The Gulf Tower, 707 Grant St., downtown; 800/676-9474, wishgreaterpa.org.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Reading and Cultural Center, 636 Herron Ave., Hill District;
- Ohio Valley General Hospital Foundation, 25 Heckel Road, Kennedy Township;
- Persad Center, 5150 Penn Ave., Bloomfield,
- Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, 5913 Penn Ave., East Liberty;
- Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group, 33 Terminal Way, South Side;
- Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1250 Fourth St., Santa Monica, Calif.;
- Ronald McDonald House, 500 Shady Ave., Point Breeze;
- Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, 424 Third Ave., downtown;
- Soles4Souls, 2900 Lebanon Road, Nashville, Tenn.;
- Susan G. Komen, Pittsburgh Chapter, 1133 S. Braddock Ave., Suite 1A, Regent Square;
- Alpaca de Moda Boutique, 1120 Three Degree Road, Penn Township, Butler County;
- Anthropologie, The Galleria, 1500 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon;
- Carabella, 328 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont;
- Charles Spiegel, 5841 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Cheryl W., 5817 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Chick, 717 Liberty Ave., downtown;
- Contemporary Concepts, 5820 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
412/521-2500; Duncan Manor Shopping Center, McCandless Township,
- Dales Maxima, 5867 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Henne, 5501 Walnut St., Shadyside;
- In the Kitchen, 1725 Penn Ave., Strip District;
- Larrimor’s, Union Trust Building, 501 Grant St., downtown,
412/471-5727; The Galleria,1500 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon,
- Linda Bucci, Shadyside Village, 826 S. Aiken Ave. at Walnut Street, Shadyside;
- Littles, 5850 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Lucy, 510 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont;
- Mia Boutique, 638 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont;
- Moda, 5401 Walnut St., Shadyside;
- Occasions, 5873 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Orr’s Jewelers, 5857 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
412/421-6777; 532 Beaver St., Sewickley,
- PerLora, 2220 E. Carson St., South Side;
- Pittsburgh Pro Bicycles, 5876 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill,
412/521-2453; 4203 William Penn Highway, Monroeville,
412/373-4140; 102 Fort Couch Road, Bethel Park,
- Pursuits, 740 Filbert St., Shadyside;
- Roberta Weissburg Leathers, 5415 Walnut St., Shadyside,
412/681-8188; SouthSide Works, 527 S. 27th St., South Side,
- Sephora, 5526 Walnut St., Shadyside,
412/687-2484; Ross Park Mall, 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Ross Township,
412/364-3311; South Hills Village Mall, 301 South Hills Village Drive, Bethel Park,
- Signatures, The Galleria, 1500 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon;
- Ten Thousand Villages, 5824 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill;
- Today’s Home, 1840 Greentree Road, Green Tree,
412/343-0505; 7601 McKnight Road, Ross Township,
412/364-4760; 4711 William Penn Highway, Monroeville,