Hannah Lane Critzer wants to be part of the fabric of her community, which is why she both lives and works in Swissvale.
Last September, she opened HLane Dry Goods & Coffee, a café and retail shop that offers on-site tailoring services. “Our goal was to be a modern interpretation of an old-fashioned general store,” says Critzer, who is married with a one-year-old daughter. “My background is in costuming, tailoring and alterations, so I always wanted a business related to that.”
While she says there’s a romantic appeal to owning a coffee shop, “if you want to be successful, you have to have something unique to offer in addition to it.”
The Virginia native, who served as a barista while studying apparel, textiles and design in college, says the Noble Street shop is a combination of all her passions. Need a pair of pants hemmed while you get your morning caffeine fix? Critzer is a whiz with a sewing machine. She once worked inside Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, stitching princess gowns. She can handle emergency repairs or create custom designs (her latest project was a vest for a cat). And she teaches classes on sewing basics in a small workshop in the back of the café on Mondays and Tuesdays.
In addition to espresso, lattes, cappuccino, hot tea and cold brew, Critzer occasionally whips up a limited-edition beverage based on her morning mood and posts it on social media. A recent concoction was an oat milk matcha latte with coconut, turmeric and cardamom.
Critzer, who received a lesson in roasting from the folks at De Fer Coffee in the Strip District, tests different blends — dark, bold flavors that are floral and complex — by making small servings using a pour-over coffee maker. Customers, who are served in mugs handmade by Critzer’s sister, can purchase a cup and add their two cents.
The entrepreneur supports other local businesses as well. Pastries from local ovens such as Blue Bonnet Bakery and Baked True North complement the beverage selection. And shelves are stocked with goods from local artisans — from jewelry and stationery to beauty products and artwork. There’s also an assortment of vinyl records on sale for $5 a pop and, twice a month, a local musician performs live.
HLane, located right off the Parkway and on the bus line, is an easy commute for adventurous coffee drinkers. It’s open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.