September 2011

Pen Stores - Standing the Test of Time

It is great to live in a city with Great Pen Stores. Being in Vancouver, BC, I have just lucked out that we have a number of pen stores in this city of 2 million+ in the lower mainland area.

As I travel through France and Italy extensively, it is common to find a store in most good-sized towns, and the larger cities like Paris, Rome, Milan, Florence etc have a number of stores to choose from. But, not only one, but more than one pen store in your home town is always a great benefit.


CharalsAugust 2011 marked the 25th Anniversary of business for Charals. I talked with owner Al Charania and include a special write-up of his store.

Al Charania of Charals in
Vancouver BC.

I must pass on my congratulations to Al and on behalf of the many individuals who regularly visit his store, thank him for the service and selection he has provided for so many years.

Having a great pen store is something not to take for granted. I have been in some cities on business trips to be surprised to find very limited options in terms of stores selling pens.

On a recent trip to San Diego there was a Montblanc Boutique in the city, but the other store that previously sold pens had scaled back their selection considerably. In talking to the owner they indicated they may bring pens back, but the recession pretty much closed off that line of business for them for now.

In Canada, the recession was not as deep, although in talking with store owners, the slow down in the economy certainly took its toll in terms of business and the type and price point of pens that sold.

So when a great pen store nicely weathers a recession, it is a good thing.

Margo McRae of Vancouver PenIn October, Vancouver Pen celebrates its 25th anniversary of business. Margot McRae has been at Vancouver Pen for 24 of its 25 years and now operates the store. I talked with Margot about the the 25 years of Vancouver and include a special write-up on Vancouver Pen's 25th Anniversary.

Margot McRae of Vancouver Pen.

When I talked with Leo Desautels, Director, Sales & Channel Marketing for Newell Rubermaid Office Products - the company that owns Waterman, Parker and other lines of pens, we talked about the niche that a specialty pen store such as Vancouver Pen holds. Stores that specialize in fountain pens meet a specific market need. Leo noted that the reputation that Vancouver Pen holds as a speciality pen store is one well deserved.

For those who live in Vancouver, BC, or those who will be visiting the city, Charals and Vancouver Pen are just two of the pen stores worth a visit. More Vancouver Pen Stores are listed here.

For those in cities with pen stores, visit and support them. No on-line process can replace the positive experience of visiting a store, talking with staff that know pens and trying out a pen or two.

Enjoy your pens. 

Your pen, an expresssion of you.