Stay Gold adds family-owned bookstore to Regent Square business district | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Stay Gold adds family-owned bookstore to Regent Square business district

click to enlarge Stay Gold adds family-owned bookstore to Regent Square business district
CP Photo: Rege Behe
Carrie (left) and Corey (right) Wittig of Stay Gold Books
Carrie and Corey Wittig were used to being surrounded by books. Carrie worked as a language arts teacher and Corey was a librarian.

But Carrie’s bout with breast cancer a few years ago convinced the couple they needed something closer to their East End home  jobs where they could be more available to their two young children.

“After kind of getting through the treatment, the most aggressive treatment, trying to go back to our old life, that just wasn’t really working,” Carrie tells Pittsburgh City Paper. “We were also trying to think about, how can we make our lives shrink a little, be more local?”

Thus was born Stay Gold Books, a charming, intimate venue on South Braddock Ave. in the heart of Regent Square’s business district. The family-owned business features new books – concentrating on fiction, with non-fiction and children’s titles also available – and carries gifts made by Marla Kauffman of Pittsburgh Personified.

The décor includes a newspaper box for the former Pittsburgh alt-weekly Pulp, a small space for children’s readings, and a vintage wooden phone booth they hope will serve as a recording booth.

Stay Gold celebrates its grand opening with a weekend of activities taking place Fri., April 5-Sat., April 6, with readings by local authors Cameron Barnett, Brittany Hailer, and Dave Newman, storytime, music, giveaways, and more.  
click to enlarge Stay Gold adds family-owned bookstore to Regent Square business district
CP Photo: Rege Behe
Corey (left) and Carrie (right) Wittig of Stay Gold Books pose with their vintage phone booth.

The couple admits that opening a bookstore was always a dream, if seemingly impossible. But the need to create their own space and schedule convinced the Wittigs it’s now feasible.

“This neighborhood, as far as we know, has never had a bookstore on the main drag. It feels like it fits,” Corey says. “There are so many readers in the neighborhood, so many families.”

It is not lost on the Wittigs that there are many bookstores nearby, including Fungus in Wilkinsburg, Riverstone Books and Amazing Books and Records in Squirrel Hill, and the White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield.

But the Wittigs are confident that there’s room for one more bookshop.

“I feel like in the early 2000s when we were starting college, there was a bigger independent bookstore vibe around town,” Corey says. “And then it kind of got wiped out, whether it was Jay [Dantry] retiring from the Bookstall in Oakland, or the Barnes & Noble in Squirrel Hill being pushed out. But we’re at a place now where, hopefully, a few years into or post the pandemic, however you want to say it, a lot of people are working from home and it’s this very walkable neighborhood. We just kind of want to be the hyperlocal bookstore in the area.”

The store's name stems from S.E. Hinton’s 1967 novel The Outsiders, a touchstone book for the couple. In it, Ponyboy recites the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," to which another character, Johnny, replies “I never noticed colors and clouds and stuff until you kept reminding me about them. It seems like they were never there before.”

“This is part of our mission at Stay Gold Books,” Carrie says, “to notice what is all around us, invite awe, and let that feeling heal us. Over the past few years, everyone, from our youngest to our oldest community members have experienced loss. It is important to notice and take in what we’ve lost, and it is just as important to let ourselves be held and eventually healed by what is good all around us. At Stay Gold Books, we want to create a space for doing just that.”
Stay Gold Books.1104 South Braddock Ave., Regent Square.

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