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No More Fountain Pens In Mexico


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#1 hecya

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 17:48

Surely as a result of a very dramatic fell on retail sales in Mexico in 2013, in these first months of 2014 I have witnessed the vanishing of fountain pens from at least three of the biggest retailers in the country. Not just one or two brands but the whole section on the stores is gone. The brands that were available were Sheaffer, Parker, Lamy, Cross, Waterman and some others. Now they are gone and the displays are being used for some other products such as journals and briefcases. 

 

I thought that the option would be the arts and craft stores but checking the web page of the biggest one I see only one Parker model listed and one Sheaffer and a few by Lamy. So, there is no other option now that to buy on ebay or while on a trip abroad.

 

Is is so sad that the technology (smartphones, tablets and laptops) combined with rough economy is responsible now for the vanishing of fountain pens. I guess that only the specialised shops will remain and of those there maybe half a dozen in all Mexico City.

 

I hope this is not a trend for small economies like us.



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#2 Komitadjie

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 19:52

Honestly, it sounds like you now have about the same selection as we do here in Washington State, USA.  There are a very, very few places in the local area that sell some Waterman, and a few low-end Scheaffer pens, nothing else.  It's a four-hour drive to anyplace for me that sells anything more, and likewise, the websites of our major office supply places do not carry them.  Amazon and the dedicated fountain pen websites that we all know and love are the primary sources, at least in the couple hundred miles around where I live.  

 

I feel your pain, man!



#3 SteveE

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 20:10

I'm in Chicago, and it isn't much different here.  We have a couple of shops downtown, but they are "higher-end" shops that sell more expensive product at full list prices.  We have a couple of office supply shops in the suburbs, but their selection is limited and prices higher than the specialty shops I know out-of-town.

 

I actually stop at a pen shop near Indianapolis (3 hours by car from my house) if I am in that area.  They have a decent selection of pens and inks, and the lady there has become a "pen friend" over the years I've been going there.  (If anyone is interested, the shop is Avalon Pens, in Zionsville, Indiana.  No affiliation, just a happy long-time customer.)



#4 The Blue Knight

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 20:12

That's a shame! But I have to admit it is rare I buy pen from a high street shop as they tend to bw far more expensive then online.



#5 DrCodfish

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 20:50

Honestly, it sounds like you now have about the same selection as we do here in Washington State, USA.  There are a very, very few places in the local area that sell some Waterman, and a few low-end Scheaffer pens, nothing else.  It's a four-hour drive to anyplace for me that sells anything more, and likewise, the websites of our major office supply places do not carry them.  Amazon and the dedicated fountain pen websites that we all know and love are the primary sources, at least in the couple hundred miles around where I live.  

 

I feel your pain, man!

I've got you beat, its only about 21/2  hours for me to either Seattle or Portland, but even at that, not much shopping opportunity.



#6 Komitadjie

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 21:36

More or less all we've got is whatever the local Office Despot or Schmaples has in stock at any given time.  Typically some small internationals, and some (maybe) Waterman or Sheaffer pens and cartridges.  Certainly no bottled inks or higher-end stuff.



#7 cleosmama

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 22:25

I understand there is are pen shops in Metairie and New Orleans, and I have been to Dromgoole's in Houston a couple of times now, but there's nothing but Office Depot here in Lafayette.



#8 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:37

 I guess that only the specialised shops will remain and of those there maybe half a dozen in all Mexico City.

 

I hope this is not a trend for small economies like us.

 

Ah, small economies. I live in San Francisco, California, which does not have even one dedicated pen shop. In my native New York, which might be considered the economic capital of a not-so-small economy, there are not anything like half a dozen specialized pen shops. There is Fountain Pen Hospital.

 

Largeness of the city and general prosperity of the country did not help New York in the matter of pen shops. On the contrary, they drove up rents and made it more difficult, not less, for a pen shop to survive.

 

In our little lunatic asylum there are many paradoxes.



#9 FarmBoy

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:13

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#10 Ipodimusprime

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:44

It is a huge shame that there are so few shops around. I guess by comparison that we are fairly lucky here in the small island that is the UK. We have a company which has a large internet base but also has a good representation in many cities (sometimes within a department store) although the selection of pens held in store is small and all prices are full retail. Even on the internet, there are only a handful of specialist pen stores. I am very lucky in that I live in a city that has a well established independent pen store which I discovered this year when I started this hobby.

I really appreciate the ability to pick up the pens in store as it can be impossible to judge just from internet pictures whether a pen is the right size/shape/weight - and that's before trying the nib!

#11 Wahl

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 15:34

From what I read, I can consider myself lucky living in Madrid !

 

In town we have 8 shops with an ample supply of pens, inks and stationery, 2 of them specialize in vintage pens, and one is a Montblanc boutique. We also have FPs sold in the higher end department stores.


Edited by Wahl, 06 May 2014 - 15:36.


#12 colrehogan

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 16:28

I'm in Chicago, and it isn't much different here.  We have a couple of shops downtown, but they are "higher-end" shops that sell more expensive product at full list prices.  We have a couple of office supply shops in the suburbs, but their selection is limited and prices higher than the specialty shops I know out-of-town.

 

I actually stop at a pen shop near Indianapolis (3 hours by car from my house) if I am in that area.  They have a decent selection of pens and inks, and the lady there has become a "pen friend" over the years I've been going there.  (If anyone is interested, the shop is Avalon Pens, in Zionsville, Indiana.  No affiliation, just a happy long-time customer.)

I am also assuming that the MB boutique is still in O-Hare? That was where I got my first "in-person" experience with a pen shop.


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#13 mhguda

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 17:36

Happily for all of us, there is the internet, and this forum and its siblings. Where would we get our fix, if not for the worldwide fountain pen network, which crosses borders, and knits fountain pen lovers anywhere together in a real community.


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#14 CowboyBlue

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 13:51

There are few shops anywhere, from what I can tell. I remember when I was a kid about forty years ago I would accompany my mother to one of the four local stationers for typewriter paper, carbon paper and fountain pen ink (Quink Blue) for my dad's fountain pen, a Parker 61 I believe. I remember several bottles of Parker inks available on display, and they looked like blue and red gems in a jeweler's shop. Waterman, Parker, Cross and Sheaffer pens were aligned in satin-lined boxes under glass.

 

What was once the largest of the stationer's shops is now occupied by a lawyer who advertises his services on late-night TV with annoying commercials and little dignity. The stationer has moved around the corner to a little cubbyhole behind the library, and sells an assortment of plastic gel pens, copy paper, made-to-order business cards and wedding invitations, and only a few Cross fountain pens. The last time I was in there, I bought the only (the ONLY!) bottle of fountain pen ink in the store, a small bottle of Sheaffer Scrip.

 

Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, and Wal-Mart have ruined local businesses.


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#15 arandur

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 16:18

 

Ah, small economies. I live in San Francisco, California, which does not have even one dedicated pen shop. In my native New York, which might be considered the economic capital of a not-so-small economy, there are not anything like half a dozen specialized pen shops. There is Fountain Pen Hospital.

 

Largeness of the city and general prosperity of the country did not help New York in the matter of pen shops. On the contrary, they drove up rents and made it more difficult, not less, for a pen shop to survive.

 

In our little lunatic asylum there are many paradoxes.

 

There are at least four San Francisco options of which I know:

  1. The Montblanc boutique on Grant - standard Montblanc boutique.
  2. The Porsche Design store on Grant - not a fountain pen shop, but they do carry the Porsche Design fountain pens.
  3. Maido in Japantown - they have a wide range of mostly-imported and mostly-Japanese-brand pens. Fair warning: there is quite the markup on these pens, but seeing and holding them at least provides for the in-person experience that could drive a purchase.
  4. Daiso in Japantown - While it may be a laughable option, they do carry at least one fountain pen (Platinum Riviere ptr-200...you could do a lot worse for 1.50 USD) and the Platinum proprietary cartridges at the same price.

 

More or less all we've got is whatever the local Office Despot or Schmaples has in stock at any given time.  Typically some small internationals, and some (maybe) Waterman or Sheaffer pens and cartridges.  Certainly no bottled inks or higher-end stuff.

 

Recently, most of what I have seen in those two retailers does not even go so far as Waterman or Sheaffer but sticks purely with Cross and Pilot Varsity disposables (if one is fortunate).



#16 hecya

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 17:55

This scarcity of visible pens at shops goes in detriment of the overall market in the end. For a new fountain pen user is vital to try the pen before, specially because of the big differences in nib widths. Not having a way to try before will limit the sales as is more difficult to take a risk for a pen that is many times more expensive than a Bic.

 

I was expecting that all this retro fashion that you see, for instance, on cameras and on cars would eventually bring back the glamour of old-school fountain open writing. I guess that this is not going to happen.

 

The most popular and available FP in Mexico was the Lamy Safari and for many people it was their first fountain pen. Reasonably priced, wide options in colors and availability on many shops guaranteed that.

 

My conclusion is that if now hand writing is becoming a rarity, hand writing with a fountain pen will be more so.



#17 newtonslife

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:48

Interesting, but it may be seasonal or fashion related.

 

Here in the UK Items for sale in stores come and go and come back again, for example during school holidays ,the shops are stacked with BACK TO SCHOOL Items, then all of a sudden the childrens stuff disapears and is replaced by something else, for may years I never saw a  "pen" shop, they were just too niche and over the last 5-10 yers more have come along, But in the local supermarkets FPs are starting to be stocked where I have never seen them, all the big chain stores around have suddenly started stocking cheap disposible fountain pens, Zebra have brought out one and that seems to be everywhere at the moment, Lamy are around, but I heard a woman talking to her daugher about how fountain pens are too expensive £16 for a Lamy Safari in the shop I was in,compared to a pack of 10 ballpoints for £5, you can see the Mums thinking, I showed here a disposible  on the shelf  for £2.00 and the little girl had one. , I Dont work in the shop, its just a step on the path.

 

In any case, I think you will find its a fad, or the FP may have been moved to the sports dept or some such, I Found some pens in with the pharmacy items the other day, for no reason, good luck on your quest for pen shopping.



#18 pajaro

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:43

Here in BFE, little rural nowhere Mid America, you can find exorbitant junk in the antique stores, but you have to drive into the Big City to find a bottle even of Parker's black Quink.  If it weren't for the Internet I couldn't even find stuff that used to be around the corner in Wal Mart, back in the days when I lived in the Real World, so count your blessings.


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#19 linearM

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:53

The local Office Max had a Parker pen.  An hour and a half away here is my favorite art supply store (Wet Paint) in St. Paul with a selection of pens and a couple of brands of ink.  Then there is the Paradise Pen store with a full range of fountain pens and inks in the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.  Guess I'm lucky.



#20 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 03:52

Let me check in again. I didn't say there weren't any places you could find fountain pens for sale in a bricks-and-mortar shop here in San Francisco. I said there weren't any dedicated pen shops, because hecya in the original post spoke of pen shops.

 

A Montblanc boutique is very far from being a dedicated pen shop, but yes, we do have one. And, yes, the Maido shop in the Westfield downtown shopping center. At a more modest pretension level, our locally-owned stationery chain Patrick & Co. stocks a fair number of major fountain-pen brands (Parker, Waterman, Cross, Waldmann, &c., though not Dupont or Platinum) and a decent selection of non-boutique inks.

 

In Japantown the stationery shop next to our Kinokuniya bookshop has Japanese pens above the Daiso level, including the Pilot Metropolitan, which isn't a hyperexpensive pen. Our excellent though not bargain-priced art supplies shop Flax Art has a knowledgeable and well-stocked fine pens department that was hands-down better than Write With Style when we still had Write With Style. But Write With Style was a pen shop, whereas Flax is not.

 

Stationery shops here and there in San Francisco, not just in our downtown business district, may well stock FPs and bottled FP ink. In the Marina District a Japanese chain has just opened an artistic stationery shop selling Japanese and European pens, including a full range of Lamy FPs, up to the 2000, and ink in carts, though not (yet) ink in bottles. If one thinks "good stationer's shop" or "good art-supplies shop" the FPs will often follow.

 

I am sorry about the diminished availability of fountain pens in Mexico City, but wonder if the picture would look better if we considered Mexican cities with a lower level of rents for retail space. Art Brown's might still be with us if it had been located in a less expensive neighborhood in a less expensive city. The Pen Shop, now of Monrovia, California, in what I am told is a very nondescript location, used to be in Los Angeles. If it had stayed in relatively pricey Los Angeles it might have disappeared. Which may help explain why we still have with us Avalon Jewelers in Zionsville, Indiana.


Edited by Jerome Tarshis, 18 May 2014 - 04:00.







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