Tag Archives: shop local

Reflections on Another Year as a Pen Clerk

Another year as a pen clerk! Who would’ve thought we’d make it this far…


Life has changed in many ways over the last year. We now have a new baby. Sometimes customers come in and say, “Oh, what a darling, asleep in the wrap, oblivious to all the pen and ink browsing.” And sometimes he is wailing and shrieking and customers quietly move away, unsure if it’s a baby or some sort of rabid gollum that’s strapped to me.

Our newest family member, the robot vacuum, has proven more useful than both the dog and the baby. Jon jokes it should be part of our family pictures, and not just because it spooks the dog by bumping into Super’s legs, much to Jon’s delight. Jon now sits on the couch while drinking his coffee and “vacuuming.”

Here are some lessons I’ve learned this year:

photo-251. I may think it’s okay to wear sweatpants in the shop on Mondays because it’s supposed to be closed, and your husband says “yeah, you look totally fine,” but inevitably someone will come knocking and look upon me…in my sweatpants. Coincidentally, or potentially ironically, our landlord – Portuguese grandmother Maria – gave Caleb a pair of Roots sweatpants (and sweater) that match my sweatpants exactly. Not sure if she’s giving me some sort of hint there…

2. I need to start preparing for the holidays in …the summer (mentally and otherwise). Last year, we didn’t know what we were doing, and we ran out of almost all our stock mid-December, if not earlier. This year, we thought we knew what we were doing (HAHA), and we still ran out of many items. Next year, no excuses.

3. A baby is happiest when he’s full, well-rested and has a clean diaper. This brief window is not long enough for an actual shower, but it is long enough for you to look in the mirror, and realize that a shower is indeed needed.

photo4. Instagram is a deep, dark black hole of time and eye glazing, where you can look at people’s pictures of pens and handwriting and stationery basically forever. It’s like the twilight zone.

5.. When Jon is in charge of grocery shopping, we mostly have meat and juice in the house. It’s important to have shopping lists.

6. When you arrange for Canada Post to come pick up packages at a certain time, it really means you should prepare for Canada Post to come and pick up packages at any time during the day, usually timed for when the shop is packed. So if you select “between 4 pm and 5 pm” they will come at 2:30. And if you select “between 12 pm and 1 pm” they will come at 4:30. It’s like a fun game.

7. You can never have enough masking tape. You think you can, because you order in bulk, and it seems like your limited shelf space is taken up with this all this “extra” masking tape, but you really can never have enough.

8. While getting business cards is not the defining marker for becoming a real business according to the government (they like them taxes), for us, it’s now official.


It has been a quite a year, with highs and lows and magical moments – receiving that first shipment of ink after the winter freeze, the first time the baby throws up on the dog, meeting customers that have ordered online from us since the beginning. 

I’m not sure if I will go back into teaching. There are many, many things I miss about teaching, and every once in a while, when an old student visits, and they’ve grown a foot and a half, I wonder about it. Who knows what the next year and the years ahead will bring.

I couldn’t imagine opening a business with anyone other than Jon. He is the tall to my short, the Collier to my Beaumont. He is our financial manager/accountant/hold-on-here as I flip through pen catalogues with delight.  And even though we have very different ways of doing things, I usually win, so that’s all I can ask for…although ever since Drake opened up his shop across the street, I’ve been harbouring secret dreams of opening up a business with Drake instead, and getting line-ups around the building. At which point, Jon subtly reminds me that we may be attracting a different type of crowd.

There’s much celebration here as another year draws to a close – a year in business, family, new partnerships and exciting goals ahead. We’re going to be sharing some of this celebrating tomorrow, on Instagram.

Thanks so much for keeping us around another year, and here’s to many more to come!

Holiday News

The holidays are nearly upon us! Snow and hot chocolate and the big winter coats and the glorious hours of holiday shopping 🙂


Holiday Shipping Dates

We ship all of our parcels via Canada Post, and as such, your safest bet for “guaranteed” delivery before Christmas is…right now. Here are some estimates for shipping based on where you live, and how long our processing takes during the holidays – keeping in mind that there is always, always a chance of delays in shipping during the holiday season since this is Canada Post’s busiest time of the year with Christmas cards and presents being sent across the country and around the world.

Place your order by:

Within Toronto: December 15th
Within Ontario & Quebec (urban centres): December 12th
Within Ontario & Quebec (rural): December 10th
Eastern & Western Canada: December 5th
Northern Territories & Nunavut: December 1st

These dates are our best estimates, and by no means guaranteed! With Canada Post, the earlier the better! Of course if you miss these dates, we will still try our best, and with some good luck, it may still arrive before Santa.

If you are in Toronto, remember you can always select in-store pick up to reserve your items and pick up when convenient!

A small note about Canada Post Tracking:
All shipped parcels will come with tracking information. However, Canada Post’s online tracking system is not always accurate, and we’ve had a lot of customers wondering where their package is.

When you place an order from us, you generally receive an email to let you know that your order has shipped, and a separate email from Canada Post with your tracking information.

When you receive an email with your tracking information, your parcel gets picked up by Canada Post the next business day.. Sometimes, however, your tracking information indicates that your parcel may still be in Toronto even after three or four business days. This is usually a result of a lack of scans from Canada Post – either a glitch in the system, or the parcel just missed a scan or two (or more) at a sorting facility. Usually, your parcel is actually closer than you think, and sometimes it even gets delivered before the tracking information updates, at which time it updates all at once.

Unfortunately, there is no way for you, I or Canada Post customer service to determine where your parcel is in the meantime. Your best bet is to wait, and 99% of the time, your parcel will show up within a few days of the “guaranteed” delivery date, if not earlier, or a new scan will appear indicating the last place your parcel was scanned. This, of course, may fluctuate during the holiday shipping season…

Corporate Orders
If you are purchasing holiday gifts for your office or workplace, let us know – the earlier the better! We’ve tried our best to make sure we don’t run out of stock for anyone, but if you need a larger than usual quantity, we can bring orders in from our distributor with a little notice. We can let you know when your order comes in so you don’t have to make another trip to pick up your shiny new pens.

Holiday Hours
As much as we would love to open later or longer hours to help you finish your Christmas shopping, we are swamped with counting and sorting all the stock arriving in the shop and packing up the online orders!

Up until Christmas Eve, our regular shop hours will be:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Friday: 10-6
Saturday: 11-6
Sunday: 12-5

Christmas Eve (Wednesday, December 24th): 10-1
December 25th – January 1st: Closed
Re-open: Friday, January 2nd

It’s a busy time of year, with family, new and old friends, and celebration. We are so excited for the new things we have to share with you, and hopefully to see a few familiar faces in the shop and hear from you across the country before the new year. Thanks for celebrating the holidays with us!

Wonder Pens November Newsletter

Dear Pen Friends,

We hope you are all faring well as the cool weather has settled – we hear there’s even snow in Edmonton! Lots and lots is going on here as we prepare for the holiday season (and winter!), and we are pretty excited for some new things we’re expecting in shop.


Kaweco’s new Skyline Sport Fountain Pen in Mint has now arrived, and we also have the new vintage clips. Rohrer and Klingner inks have been re-stocked, including our favourite shading Alt-Goldgrun. We received a Midori shipment with re-stock of Midori brass items. We’re expecting the Midori Traveler’s notebooks and all accessories to come in a few more weeks.

We are still waiting for the new J. Herbin Stormy Grey to arrive, now anticipated for mid-November. We are also expecting Rouge Hematite to arrive in that shipment. Along those lines, we have some sad news that a price increase from our distributor in J. Herbin inks now means we are increasing the price of our 30mL J. Herbin bottles from $9.75 to $11.00, as of November 15th. We just received a shipment of ink, and most inks should be in stock online and in store over the next week.

Our bricks and mortar shop will be closed on Wednesday, October 29, from 12pm to 3pm, if you are planning a visit that day! Of course you can call ahead (647 461 2426) to make sure we’re open.

Lastly, remember the Scriptus Toronto Pen Show is coming up this Sunday! It’s from 10am to 4pm, and we will be there first thing, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Unfortunately we won’t be staying long, as our bricks and mortar shop will be opening at its regular time from 12pm to 5pm, but we hope we’ll get a chance to say hi to a few of you folks from out of town.

Thanks again for your business and support,
Jon & Liz

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