Lawrenceville Striving to Become the ‘Little Everything’ of Pittsburgh
Mar 31, 2015 09:56AM ● Published by Clare Heekin Lynch
While Lawrenceville has seen tremendous growth over the years, it is still a work in progress, according to Matthew Galluzzo, executive director of the Lawrenceville Corporation, a community development organization. “It is incredible to see the number of small and women-owned businesses in the area because they are a real, curated component of the area,” he said. “To their credit, these owners are putting it all on the line to be here; they truly believe in their products, the independent culture of entrepreneurship that is fostered throughout the neighborhood, and the region itself. Our job is to shine light on those businesses for everyone else to see.”
The corporation was established in 2000 with the vision of showing others that Lawrenceville is a diverse community embracing both newcomers and long-time residents, while meeting their needs for a safe and healthy community. At the same time, businesses were welcomed, and the area has proven itself as a thriving place for both retail and industrial companies to grow. The group promotes an attractive neighborhood that provides all of the amenities needed to support a growing community, including shopping, restaurants, community gardens, parks and recreational facilities.
From 2000 to 2010, the organization managed the 16:62 Design Zone as a marketing strategy to establish Allegheny Valley as a place where people could find high quality, high design elements for their homes. The 16:62 Design Zone framed the area as Pittsburgh’s interior design district—a unique destination for products and services in home and office design, décor and furnishings. “This strategy helped attract and retain many small, independent merchants in the district’s storefronts,” said Galluzzo.
But Lawrenceville is not just about business. Galluzzo has seen an uptick in the residential market as new amenities were introduced. “This neighborhood is very family-oriented, offering a bowling alley, single-screen movie theatre, a dog park and family-friendly eateries,” he said. “Plus, the close proximity to downtown and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC makes it the ideal location to settle down and live a dynamic and urban lifestyle.”
Galluzzo likes to view Lawrenceville as the ‘Little Everything’ of Pittsburgh. “It’s a great neighborhood to come down to visit, shop and just check out the unique items being offered,” he said. “And, for visitors, there is enough vibrancy within the area that anyone can easily make a day trip and stay to enjoy a meal, or even two!”
In addition to everyday business and residential happenings, the area boasts three signature events: Art All Night, an all-night ‘No Fee, No Jury, No Censorship’ art experience hosted in a warehouse in the Fort Willow development of Lawrenceville during the last weekend in April; the Lawrenceville Blossom tour in early May, where, for three days, visitors are given a map of the neighborhood to help them course their way through the area’s shops as well as seed packets at each location to take home and plant; and The Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour, held the weekend after Thanksgiving to officially kick off the holiday season. “Fifty participating businesses open their doors for four days of early holiday shopping, with each shop offering a special cookie and recipe card to patrons,” said Galluzzo.
But the organization’s director wants Pittsburghers to know that Lawrenceville is still a place that needs support—and one that can still be discovered. “There are hundreds of businesses in the neighborhood, ranging from home-based to industrial-sized businesses,” he said. “Our businesses are putting their hopes and dreams and their chance to make it in this neighborhood. It’s really fantastic to see visitors support them, because our merchandisers really care about their clients.”
To learn more, visit the Lawrenceville Pittsburgh page on Facebook, or visit www.lawrencevillecorp.com.