The rumor is true. A Pleasant Present, the wonderful gift and pride shop in Squirrel Hill, is closing its doors after 16 years in business.
I stopped by yesterday to chat with owner Michael Ferraro. He explained they will continue the close out sale (40% off!) through mid-July and close their doors forever. Ferraro is very matter of fact about his decision, but has many fond memories of his 16 years.
A Pleasant Present has been a real community hub. From Pride merchandise to LGBT flyers, Michael has been a part of almost every single LGBT group, event and activity in the past decade. He sold tickets to events, distributed flyers and has been a true champion of progressive political values in his own kitschy way with all sorts of delightful bumper stickers, magnets and paraphenalia. He always had a smile, a bit of news and something new to show me.
I've purchased dozens of gift baskets, lots of presents for children, scores of cards and all sorts of unique items I'll never find agan. I'll miss that, but … most of all, I will miss Michael. His joy, his service to the community and his kind heart are the real presents.
Rest assured, he will remain in Pittsburgh and will be making his signature gourmet gift baskets. I asked about the rainbow flag that flies proudly on Murray Avenue. It would be a great item to display in the GLCC, perhaps framed and labeled. That flag has been a beacon for many an lgbt person in the region.