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Cookie Monsters: Lawrenceville carries on thirteen year tradition

By Alexandria Perry

PointPark News Service

Lawrenceville hosted its 13th “The Joy of Cookies” cookie tour this past weekend on Butler Street. A combined 26 small businesses shared homemade cookies with their customers on the four-day, 20 block tour to celebrate the Christmas season.

Hundreds of shoppers of all ages made their way through the streets of Lawrenceville purchasing homemade crafts, from soap to glass to jewelry.

On Saturday, Nov. 29, a 1920’s style trolley provided by Molly’s Trolley shuttled shoppers through the heart of Lawrenceville; from Rite Aid, Teamster’s Temple and Shop-N-Save and few participating shops. Eleven cafes and restaurants offered shoppers a place to take a break along the way to warm up and enjoy a meal, includingLa Gourmandine, Perk Me Up Café and the 720 Café.

“The cookie tour has gained so much popularity; we have people asking us about it all year.” Said Jim Savarino of Jay Design Soaps & Gifts, the tour’s eighth stop. “We reordered and restocked our best selling items from our incense to novelty soaps.”

In each of the shops that participated, owners decorated their windows, shelves, tables and counters. Each stop on the tour had plates filled with samples of cookies along with their recipes.

The tour was sponsored by Lawrenceville United, Mainstreets Pittsburgh, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PNC Bank, Rite Aid, Pittsburgh City Paper, Shop-N-Save and First Commonwealth Bank. Non-participating local businesses also offered their support, from shopping to body and beauty to community and professional services.

The tour was established thirteen years ago by Jay Bernard of Jay Design Soaps & Gifts as a way of bringing the community together during the holiday season, while offering family-friendly hospitality to shoppers from all over the area.

Mary Coleman of the Gallery on 43rd Street coordinated this year’s cookie tour. Pamphlets featuring a map of the tour and information about each stop were mailed out to thousands of homes inviting everyone in the Pittsburgh area to visit Lawrenceville this weekend.

“It’s a nice way for us to show off our neighborhood.” Said Hellen McMullen with a smile. McMullen is the owner of Perk Me Up Café, stop four on the take a break list. “[It’s] so nice to look out onto the streets and see the holiday spirit on Butler.”

Some of the shops created special promotions and discounts for the weekend. The 14th stop, Gallery on 43rd Street registers customers who spend $25 to win a $25 gift card; Panello Boutique, stop 19, will hand out $10 off coupons for purchases of $25 or more; and 23rd stop be Galleries will be offering $25 coupon for all merchandise and service. For most of the small businesses on Butler Street, the tour is the most important weekend of the year.

On Saturday, Teamster’s Temple held the Cookie Mall bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by Lawrenceville United, the event offered children’s activities including toy giveaways and   meeting with Santa Claus. The free event is free benefits local community groups.

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