Many people thought that with the advent of the Internet and email that regular physical mail, or snail mail as it’s become known, would die off. While most people definitely send more electronic mail than snail mail, there’s something to be said about receiving an actual card on your birthday, and few things show that you’re thinking about someone more than sending a letter or postcard that you actually wrote yourself.
This is the idea behind Sapling and Sons in Beaver. This new store offers people the chance to really interact with other people in a real way that’s lost when sending a greeting on Facebook or an email congratulating a friend or family member. Real tangible stationary is a wonderful thing, and when you pair it with locally-made products and a definite quirky attitude, you get a shop that’s equal parts fresh and amazing. In short, you have Sapling and Sons.
Sapling and Sons: The Beginning
Lisa Krowinski firmly believes that stationary and other paper products are far from dead and in fact play a vital part in the world today. Lisa should know, as she started the Sapling Press in 2003 and moved the business to Pittsburgh in 2005. The Sapling Press is a printing company that makes custom stationary, business cards, and just about anything else that can be printed on paper, and they’re extremely good at what they do.
While Lisa loves her Sapling Press, what she always wanted was to open a stationary store on the main street of Beaver. You see, Lisa grew up in Beaver County and moved away to get her degree in graphic design, a degree she used for six years until she fell in love with the art of letterpress and printing. Her newfound love of paper and typography drove her to start the Sapling Press and her dream of a Beaver-based stationary store was born.
It wasn’t until a storefront opened up recently on 3rd Street in Beaver that Lisa’s dream started to come to fruition. 11 years of dreaming finally paid off and on October 25th Sapling and Sons opened their doors to customers, featuring a surprisingly large selection from an assortment of all local companies.
So where did the name come from? Well, Lisa’s original company that she still runs is Sapling Press, which I mentioned above. The sons come into play by way of her two sons, aged 7 and 8 years old. She wanted something they could be involved in when they are old enough to be and wanted to give the feeling that her business truly is a small, local family business. While Sapling Press may have started in 2003, Sapling and Sons got its start when her first son was born in 2006, which is why the date on the front window says: Established in 2006.
So What’s For Sale?
As I mentioned above, Sapling and Sons is all about snail mail and products that are fun, odd, and mostly vintage. The front half of the store is dominated by greeting cards for every occasion and for a few you may not even know you needed them for. There’s the basic Happy Birthday and Get Well Soon cards, but the fun comes into play with the weirder and wilder cards, which Lisa tells me are the hottest sellers and are becoming hard to keep in stock thanks to their demand.
The edgier, more interesting cards and products are hands down the best sellers, which makes Lisa happy. There’s a lot more than just greeting cards, even though these are pretty great. You’ll find prints like the animal prints from Ryan Berkley and whimsical cartoon animals from Everyday Balloons as well as cards and prints from the always interesting Alternate Histories.
There are bags large and small for everything from pens and pencils to tote bags great for shopping along the main street of Beaver. Speaking of things to put in bags, Sapling and Sons features an assortment of notebooks, paper, and pens to journal with or just make notes in style.
If you already have the gifts you want to give and just need a way to package them up, Sapling and Sons has you covered too, literally! The store features wrapping paper that’s made locally and is honestly the only wrapping paper I’ve ever seen that is worthy of gently un-taping and saving for another use. There’s amazingly detailed To/From tags that give your gifts a vintage feel and a look that is second to none. If you’re looking for the full vintage feel or if you’re mailing your package, you can even get locally made twine to tie your package up tight with.
Along with the paper goods and bags, you’ll find an assortment of unique gifts and vintage pieces that are so great you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. From the vintage exit signs to the locally made candles and pillows, there’s far more than just paper to fill your bags with.
In short, there’s a lot hiding in this little storefront in Beaver, and it needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Along with the businesses listed already, Sapling and Sons is the only place you can find Dulcinea Chocolates and Caramels by Lauri Rice. If you’re into amazing chocolate and sweets, this is something you need to try, but don’t be surprised if they’re sold out when you stop in, as it’s hard to keep it in stock for more than a few days, which speaks to how amazing it really is.
More Than Just a Retail Shop
Lisa says she wants Sapling and Sons to be more than just the stationary store she dreamed of opening. She wants the shop to be a place for the appreciation of local art and creativity as well as a source for learning about all things paper.
There’s a calligraphy class being planned in the near future and a big Valentine’s Day event in the works that sounds pretty amazing. These are the first in what is looking like a year of similar events at the shop where people can not only buy letterpress and other products, but actually interact with them and even create their own.
Sapling and Sons is more than just a retail front. The shop is a way for local artists and businesses in and around the Pittsburgh area to have their work and products be seen and available for purchase. In a world where big card shops rule, Sapling and Sons is trying to show us that local really is better, and that we can get some pretty amazing products without leaving the area.
Lisa is allowing folks who might only be able to sell their products online where they can’t be seen in person and touched a place to sell. Paper products and other vintage and edgy items lose something when they are viewed on a screen. By seeing them in person you gain more respect for the work and can see the value inherent in it.
Sapling and Sons is open from 10-6 Monday through Saturday and can be found online at saplingandsons.com