Shopping on the South Side

There are lots of shops on the South Side. I've listed some that I think are worth a trip--places that you can't find in your run-of-the-mill mondo mall.
Benny's Flower Shop
***> Sent by Laura Ann Wagner on April 30, 2002: Hey there is a flower shop [on the Sahside] that has been in business for 50 years this year. Benny's flower shop. Check them out online at They do great work.

2012 East Carson Street, telephone 412-381-4991

Bloom Cigar Company
***> Sent by Larry Ciptak at What directory of South Side establishments would be complete without a notation of Bloom Cigar Company, 52 South 12th Street, arguably the most interesting cigar store in the United States? Blooms--with a comfortable trailer-home decor--has been entertaining "Cigar Campers" every Saturday afternoon for the past five years, a weekly event known as "Cigar Camp."

Food, drink, cigars, you name it, 500 men (and women) from around the area, and sometimes coming in from out of state just for the weekly event, come to Cigar Camp to hang out and fraternize with their cigar-chomping brethren. Cigars have never been more popular, but Blooms was cool before cigars were cool, and when this yuppie cigar-smoking fad fades away, Blooms will still be Blooms, a Pittsburgh staple that has truly achieved cult-status amongst cigar lovers.

For more info about Cigar Camp, call Marc Adams, Bloom's owner, at 412-431-4277 or check out their web site at

Bookends on Carson
Bookends is on the "far" end of E. Carson (near 26th?). I haven't been there yet.

***> Sent by Beth at Extremely cheap, yet quality books. All used, many categories to choose from. Search service available and all profits go to help Goodwill Industries continue providing employment and training programs to those with disadvantages. (6/14/96)

City Books
City Books is at 1111 E. Carson St. Haven't been there yet, but I hear all about them on WYEP, so they are probably worth a look. 481-7555

** In Pittsburgh's Best of 1995, 1996: Best Used Book Store

The Cuckoo's Nest
The Cuckoo's Nest is at 1513 E. Carson St. The area's largest supplier of magic effects and supplies, including books and videos. They also carry a full line of juggling equipment and theatrical supplies, and you can shop online at their web site. 412-481-4411

E House Company
E House Company is at 1511 E. Carson St. The E House Company advertises themselves as "Pittsburgh's home for eco-products." They offer environmentally-conscious gifts (organic clothing, body care products, etc) and products (office supplies, cleaning products, and recycled paper products, etc.). 412-488-7455

Eljay's Used Books
1309 East Carson
(412) 381-7444

***> Sent by Frank Oreto,
There's another used bookstore on Carson Street. Its called Eljay's Used Books and is located at 1309 East Carson. It carries all types of used hardback and paperback books. It's relatively new having opened in October of '97, but I have to say that in my opinion its one of the best used bookshops I've ever been in. OK so I own it, as if that would make me biased.

Fireborn Studios
2338 Sarah Street (the corner of 24th and Sarah St.)

A wonderful place where Daniel Vito and his wife Donna Hetrick make hand made pottery in extraordinary glazes. See our dinnerware, serving pieces, vases and more - all in spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement. They have a great Web site, too!

A new gift shop at 1411 E. Carson Street (488-1101). They have many unique items and advertise as a unique shop selling gifts, custom florals, Beanie Babies, and collectibles.

Miss the 1970s? Or perhaps you were born after that and want to know what all the fuss is about. Check out the's at 12th and E. Carson across from Schwartz's Market at 1317 E. Carson.

Handwoven on Carson
Handwoven on Carson is at 2013 E. Carson St. As the name implies, they make handwoven goods, including scarves, jackets, and wall hangings. Lots of beautiful colors and fabrics. 488-0112

Options is at 2000 E. Carson St. (telephone 412-481-7322). They sell futons and related furnishings.

Perlora is at 2220 E. Carson St. (telephone 412-431-2220). For "furniture that makes a statement," they do the ads "if Mr. Spock was a chair..."

Contemporary and traditional furnishings, artful accessories, with a complete bed, bath and linen department and floor coverings department. Nice Web site, too!

Pittsburgh Guitars
Pittsburgh Guitars is at 1409 E. Carson St. and on the web with a great site at, telephone 412-431-0700

***> Sent by Betty Cilia at Yes, the guitars in the window are very warped. Inside there are some great guys and all kinds of musical instruments - not only guitars. The store is owned by Carl Greffenstette and has been in business for at least 15 years. Carl also leads a very cool band called the Flashcats and each year at Christmas they reunite for an evening of great music.

Pittsburgh Guitars buys, sells and trades guitars. They have amps, bongos, conga drums, a couple of keyboards and they repair guitars downstairs as well as give guitar lessons. They also throw one hell of a Christmas party in the store every year. (3/8/96)

***> Sent by anon on 8/6/99: Pittsburgh Guitars is in its 20th year of business and is still a great place to shop. The store has lots of new lines, and more guitars than ever. And there's always something fun going on there!

Editor's note: If their web site is any indication, I'd wager this most recent comment is entirely correct!

Randy's Alternative CDs
Randy's is at 1210 E. Carson St. Randy is hoping to get on the net one of these days, but until then, he'd like you to know that he carries a "large selection of rock n roll CDs, with emphasis on alternative rock music, including imports, latest releases, vinyl, used CDs, British Music Magazines. T-shirts and collectables. Listen before you buy in a friendly, helpful atmosphere." 481-7445

***> Sent by Dan Stafura at Go here to get board! Skate boards and snow boards and all of the stuff you need to use them. You can also pick up videos, magazines and stickers. Good selection of shoes and clothes for the South Side under 20 set.(and those who wish they were under 20. You can also find out about extreme sport events happening in the area and regional ski reports. Go see Rosco, Rob, Rich and others. (2/20/96)

Rustica International
Rustica International is at 1107 E. Carson. They sell "healthy" foods, including some organics and Breadworks bread (you can have them order your favorites!).

Rynn's Luggage
Rynn's Luggage, located at 1922 E. Carson St., telephone (412) 481-8862. Rynn's Luggage has Pittsburgh's best selection of luggage, briefcases, computer cases, leather goods, and travel accessories. Known for their low prices, friendly customer service, and expert luggage repair, it's a great place to stop in and visit when you're on the South Side. (8/4/98)

Silk Thread
***> Sent by Meredith Benedict in January 2004: Silk Threads, located at 1415 E. Carson St., offers various kits teaching you how to make quilts, knit, etc.; workshops on knitting, quilting, etc.; and the works of the owner, Louise Silk, who is a very talented fiber artist. Moreover, there are accessories for the home and a very relaxing, nice atmosphere.

***> Sent by Zizi Messner at Into rubber? How about piercings? Every punker's favorite place to get gear. From jewelry, to T's, pipes to video rentals, hair dyes to gargoyles. If it's punk, goth,or alternative, it's at Slacker.

South Side Beer and Pop
South Side Beer and Pop is at 74 S. 20th St (on the river side of E. Carson). I've heard from a friend that this place has a good selection of "real" beer. Haven't been there yet (PA has such stupid liquor laws), so I can't comment. 481-2337

Spotlight Costumes
Spotlight Costumes is at 1503 E. Carson. I haven't been here yet, but I would assume that they rent and/or sell costumes. Their windows always look interesting. 381-7733

***> Sent by David Chew at I noticed in your Pittsburgh Website that you have not been into Spotlight Costumes. The shop is wonderful and is owned by a friend of mine, Kim Brown. She recently won Grand Prize at the National Costumers Association costume contest for the Mask of the Red Death from Phantom. (2/28/96)

***> Sent by Laura Zentz at This is a shameless plug. I work at Spotlight Costumes. If you are looking for theatrical costumes, masquerade costumes, or just make-up and prosthetics; we can help you. We have a makeup artist on staff full-time, along with a full testerboard of Ben Nye products. We carry complete shows for high school, and community theatre and a large assortment of masks and costumes for your party needs.

For those seamstresses out there we carry the hard-to-find Folkwear pattern line along with resource books from Dover.

So drop by to look around, have a good time, and meet the two dachsunds that live here (Brownie and Digger). (2/9/96)

St. Elmo's
St. Elmo's is at 2208 E. Carson St. They sell books, magazines, and CDs. Gay and lesbian friendly.

***> Sent by Wayde Killmeyer at The only place to go for philosophy, religious, or new-age books. (6/16/95)

T&T Hardware
T&T Hardware Co. is at 2112 E. Carson. This is the hardware store your grandfather liked to shop in. Product plus service! 431-5326.

***> Sent by Mike Tumas at T&T is an old "wood floor" hardware store that caters to local clientele and the many businesses in the area. We will still sell you one screw, not a package of 15 as the "Big Boxes" (Heckinger, Home Depot,etc.) do today. Our claim to fame is the fact that if we don't have it or can't get it them you don't really need it. I am always flattered at people who say " if you can't get it at T&T then you are not going to find it". Most of the store still has the old bin type boxes and old cheese boxes to store small repair pieces and other small parts. We are not afraid to get our hands dirty if you bring something in that neeeds fixed. Old people still come in to have us change batteries or bulbs in flashlights and old transistor radios. (1/22/97)

Zotter the Potter
Telephone 888-496-8837
2131 Wharton Street, near Giant Eagle at 22nd Street
Making hand-made stoneware since 1976, inspired by the traditional salt-glazed stoneware made in 19th century Southwestern Pennsylvania. Visit their Wharton Street workshop, or their webshop, either way to buy beautiful pottery directly from these artist-craftsmen.

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Copyright 1995 by Beth Mazur, maintained by Penn, please send corrections, additional URLs and reviews to