Visiting Wildcard, the East End’s resident treasure trove
February 24, 2016
In 2009, Lawrenceville began its dramatic transformation into one of the most sought-out retail destinations in Pittsburgh. For longtime resident Rebecca Morris, the year represents a business venture that, upon completion, would become a neighborhood staple overnight.
Widely known today for its colossal wall of hand-drawn, letterpressed, fair trade, and locally made greeting cards, Morris’ Wildcard appears enigmatic at face value. But beyond its distinguishable pink-and-green Butler Street storefront, the shop mirrors Lawrenceville’s inviting, love-thy-neighbor attitude at large.
Inside, Morris has designed the ultimate hub for artists and thoughtful gifters alike. Completing the space are thoughtful displays of handcrafted jewelry, reading material, regional artwork, gifting supplies, and enough Pittsburgh-themed items — paintings, aprons, T-shirts, tumblers — to fill an entire store themselves.
Morris thanks local artists for Wildcard’s conception. The shop’s original purpose, she tells us, was to make seasonal craft-fair vendors (like Handmade Arcade) accessible to shoppers year-round. Nearly seven years later, she remains just as selective when it comes to stocking shelves.
“My staff and I buy things that we think are beautiful or interesting; things that have local or pop culture appeal. We especially love handmade items,” she says. “We like to have a little something for everyone, whether you are shopping for yourself, your grandma, or your best friend’s new baby.”
Morris is a woman of her word. Her inventory, in a few words: versatile, constantly rotating, and, as promised, brimming with treasures made locally. In fact, the proprietor says she feels most fulfilled while sharing details on regional items with customers. “I love being able to say, ‘Did you know this was printed right here in Lawrenceville?’”
That’s the thing about Wildcard: Source reigns supreme. Not just for its owner, but for the patrons of Pittsburgh seeking a more meaningful, less commercial way to say “happy birthday.” We’ve since lost track of how often we’ve returned to the shop, but we do know this for sure: Lawrenceville’s resident wild child will always leave you wanting more.