As promised, this post will document some of the great office supply related stuff that you can find if you travel to Boston, MA. I though that the most fitting way to start this post off was with a tribute to a man who was not afraid to use a pen, and use it BIG. As you probably know, among other things, John Hancock is famous for his large and quite nicely styled signature on The Declaration of Independence. It was really cool to see his grave site, and also those of Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and Crispus Attucks all in the same cemetery. One great thing about this write up before I continue though is that I got some help from some of my Twitter followers on some must see places along the way, so thanks to Tom at Goldspot Pens and to GBLPR for your help! The rest of this post is much more directly related to office supplies, so lets move on.
Upon arriving in Boston, one of the things I was most excited about was visiting the Levenger store located inside of The Prudential Center. After checking into my hotel and getting settled we headed over in the general direction of The Prudential Center which had lots of other great stores along the way. Once we arrived at The Prudential Center, it was not long before I tracked down the bright glowing light of the Levenger sign and headed straight for the doors. The cool thing about this location is that when it was opened, it was their first freestanding store. The biggest reason I wanted to check out the store was because I am interested in buying one of their Bomber Jacket brief cases, specifically this one. Unfortunately for me, I realized tonight (from home in NJ) that I was looking at the wrong bag in the store, so now Im back to square one, wondering if this one will really work for me. Im just a little reluctant on spending almost $400 for a bag without having had it in my hands for a few minutes to inspect.
Forgetting about my frustration in realizing that I was looking at the wrong bag, it really was an awesome experience to get to poke around the store and pick up and examine all of the Levenger items that I have not had the pleasure of purchasing…yet. I thought the picture above was pretty funny, I didnt even notice it myself in the store, it was my fantastic girlfriend(and photographer for the trip) that caught this and snapped the photo. She hates the hand that I use in some of my photos and thinks it is “creepy” so I am not surprised that she noticed it in the store. For anyone who has not had the chance to visit a Levenger store, it really is a great place to do some looking around before you buy anything. I will warn you though, all of those things you look at online and in their catalog only look better in person, so you WILL end up buying whatever it is that you have had your eye on once you get to see it in the store. As for me…I shockingly managed to not spend a dime in the store, still not sure how I did that.
My next office supply related stop in Boston was the Bromfield Pen Shop at 5 Bromfield Street. I was excited about this store because I really have not had the chance to visit many pen only stores before my DC trip, so this was my second one. When you walk into the Bromfield Pen Shop, you notice that even though it seems really small, it is FULL of lots of great pens and other accessories like stationery, notebooks, and of course plenty of ink. Once I spent a bit of time ogling all of the pens in the display cases to my right when I walked in, I was surprised by the quantity of fountain pen inks that they had on display. As soon as I saw the multiple shelves of ink, I knew I wouldnt be leaving without at least one new bottle, and sure enough, I found myself back at the counter after a while with two bottles of Noodler’s. I’m not sure how long I spent in the store, but I could have easily spent twice as much time drooling over all of the great pens. They had quite a nice display of Rhodia notebooks, but I decided to pick up a different brand of notebook that I had never seen before which they had displayed on the counter. The very friendly woman who helped me showed me an already opened sample of the notebook and described its qualities to me, including how and why it was fountain pen friendly. This store is a must visit if you are in Boston, not only for their great selection, but also for the very helpful folks that work there. They are not the type of folks who are pushy and hounding you for a sale, they just kind of let you know that they are there if you need them, which I really appreciated.
The next stop on my office supply tour was something that even as a Yankee fan, I always look forward to. It was a trip to see the Red Sox at Fenway Park where Pentel of America sponsors “Autograph Alley” where they have an ex Red Sox player signing free autographs for the fans. The day I was there, Gary Waslewski was the ex Red Sox player signing autographs. Unfortunately I did not have time to get in line and get an autograph before the game started, but it is really cool any time I get to see baseball AND pen related stuff in the same place…even if the Red Sox are involved. For the record, the Sox lost to the Rangers that night and there was a very good chance that I may have been on TV because one of the people on the trip with me and sitting next to me had a ball bounce out of his hand. So anyway, even as a Yankee fan, my obsession with office supplies trumps my baseball loyalties here when I suggest that you check this out if you are at Fenway, just look at for the sign above at the Yawkey Way entrance to the park, and you can pick up a free photo of the player who is there signing, and Im sure you can probably bring your own item as well. Seems like a perfect fit for Pentel to be sponsoring an autograph event, although I am shocked that Sharpie didnt get in on this instead…if anyone from Sharpie is listening, I’m sure that the Yankees would love to know what Pentel is doing at Fenway so that they can try to keep up with the Red Sox when it comes to things to keep the fans happy. I wonder if we can start a Pentel vs. Sharpie rivalry that is up there with the same intensity as the Yankees vs. Red Sox one?
My last office supply stop on this trip was in Cambridge, MA. Bob Slate Stationer is a small office supply store that is just jam packed with a ton of unique office supplies and really goes to show why it is important to have stores like this around. Not to say that a Staples, Office Max, or Office Depot dont serve a purpose, but the small store like this is just such a pleasure to get to visit. They have a small and helpful staff, and they carry some great items that a mass market retailer just wouldnt want to carry. They had a ton of great pens, inks, and notebooks that I couldnt stop looking at over and over. I was especially stuck on their aisle of loose pens, some of which I have not seen for years, Im not sure how they have some of the older styles of pens that I remember using back in my elementary school years, but they did have them and it was almost like getting to look in a museum of pens. It took me quite a bit of time to decide what exactly I “needed” and once I did, I was certain that I was now set with all of my office supply purchases for the day, and for a while. Then a funny thing happened when we left the store, we happened to walk right past one of their other (bigger locations) and of course I couldnt not go in, so here I was in my second Bob Slate Stationer store in the same day. The second location that I stopped in was at 1288 Massachusetts Ave, where I couldnt resist making one last purchase. If memory serves me correct, I think I have 5 items from them that I will be reviewing in the coming days and weeks. I was really impressed by the Bob Slate Stationer stores, they had such a unique selection of office supplies, and if I lived anywhere near their stores, I would certainly be a frequent browser and customer, so if you live in MA or are just visiting you really need to make sure you stop by one of the three locations.
Now that my office supply geek tour of DC and Boston are done, I’ve got a ton of stuff to review. Not only do I have the items from these trips, but I also have some other purchases I made, plus some items that were given to me by folks I met at the Stationery Show to take write up. My list of upcoming reviews includes a bunch of new ink, a handful of new pens, multiple notebooks, a pen holder, and one new paper fastening device. I’ve also got a trip to Vegas this weekend, and a potential trip to SF later this summer where I can hopefully hit up more office supply stores and sights. Hope you enjoyed the write ups of these Massachusetts office supply attractions, and if you are in the neighborhood make sure to see them, and give some business to these great stores.