Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The 3/50 Project Makes National News!

After my last post, here's some great news to report: The 3/50 Project has gotten national coverage from no less than The Wall Street Journal! See the article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124631541083270621.html

If you're not familiar with The 3/50 Project, it's a grassroots organization founded by retail speaker/motivator Cinda Baxter, of Minneapolis, MN. Its premise is pick three brick and mortar businesses you'd hate to see go out of business and spend an affordable $50.00 a month at them.

Webster's Fine Stationers has been supporting Cinda and The 3/50 Project since its inception. We continue to hand out fliers about it and have them affixed to our doors. We want to congratulate Cinda and The 3/50 Project for this coup, and we will stay on course educating people about how important it is to shop locally. It would be wonderful if newpapers in Southern California would write about this, too....we need all the exposure we can get!

I highly recommend your reading The Wall Street Journal article. In it, it shows how the Project is helping retailers all across the country weather this recession. It actually helps you, too, as it helps to strengthen your local economy when you support local businesses. The more support a local retail store has, the more resources they're able to draw from to offer better merchandise and prices. They can keep the local people who work there employed and productive and if enough support is given, perhaps even give them a raise (a miracle in this economy!).

What this article does is give us hope, so thank you, Cinda, and thank you to all our supporters! We love you and want to assure you that we will fight hard to be here for you. We also want to take this opportunity to assure you that Webster's Fine Stationers will scour the markets to bring you the finest, most unique, ecologically responsible and prefferably locally made merchandise we can find at reasonable prices. A tall order, I know, but we're committed to this ideal. We've just gotten in new decorative paper (for invitations, craft projects, announcements, etc.) from The Green Paper Company. All the paper is recycled, but they contain from 30% to 100% post-consumer waste, depending on the design, and that's fabulous! Plus, the paper is made right here in the United States.
Again, congratulations to The 3/50 Project! Now it's on to the Today Show!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is It Too Late To Save Webster's?

If you've been reading our blog, you know there's a huge grassroots movement all across the country urging people to shop locally. From Maine to California, people are becoming more educated about how shopping at independently owned businesses positively affects your community's economy. There's The 3/50 Project and The 10% Solution, there's BuyLocal groups in almost every city and town in the U.S., but is it enough to save Webster's?

Webster's has been suffering a decline of business for years now and the family has been fighting hard to make ends meet here. The big box stores and chains have affected our business severely, and the decision by the family to separate the stores didn't help matters much. I can't answer for the family's reluctance to communicate with our customers and friends about the separation, but I can share our feelings about it (which I've done in prior posts, if you read back).

Bill Webster has been running the pharmacy since his father died when he was 19 years old. His desire to retire spurred the separation, because he just couldn't figure out a cost-effective way to keep all the merchandise separate if we didn't erect walls between the stores. Note that I said "cost-effective". Possibly, we could have found some point-of-sale system out there that would've allowed us to keep the stores open to each other. That system, along with all the accoutrements necessary for it to function correctly, would've been terribly expensive. Contrary to popular belief, none of us has a lot of extra cash laying around. Remember, I wasn't always a Webster, and I've been overhearing all sorts of conjecture and innuendo about how much money the family has for years. After sinking just about everything into the store to keep it running, how could they have any? If an expensive system for the control of merchandise was out of the question, the only thing left to do was to build the walls or sell. Since then, our store has lost over 50% of its former business....I can only imagine the effect on the other stores.

So that's the gist of what happened. Those walls went up in June of 2007 and it's now June 2009. It amazes me that people still come in, every single day, and ask about the changes, and that's just in my store. Seriously, people, at least 5 time a day people ask when we made the changes. Is it really true that so many of our customers are only our customers once every two years or so? This is why I've tried to call your attention to the community benefits of shopping locally and to educate you on the dangers of shopping at chains and big box stores.

I would love it if Webster's Fine Stationers could succeed as a separately owned store. This store is our baby, our passion, and we've been nurturing it carefully these past two years. I think we're headed in the right direction and even though Altadena doesn't seem to like the changes, we've got some staunch supporters of our store. We've got so many plans ahead for fund-raising for local non-profits such as The Quality of Life Center and Five Acres, for having fun events here at the store and with the Altadena Arts Coalition, I'd like to see them come to fruition. We'd also like to keep all our local employees working, and not adding to the unemployment statistics. It's scary to think about, but if the separate stores can't pay their rent, then Webster's Pharmacy will be gone. My father-in-law is again talking of selling it all. He's got a point, you know. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself if this is actually a business or just an expensive hobby. Truly, my friends, we can't keep the stores open with no revenue - no one has that much money.

How many times have I heard people say, "What would we do without Webster's?" Well, Altadena.....what would you do? You'd be driving by a large condo or apartment complex where we are now, or perhaps a storage place or an ugly office building. You'd be driving down to Pasadena every time you needed to pick something up. Kid's got a project due at school? Whoops, now you've got to drive down to Michael's or a stationery shop on Colorado Blvd. for project or poster board. Need an ink cartridge refill for your printer? Schlep on down to Staples, on Arroyo for those, because you'd sure be lucky if RiteAid has them. I'm sure you don't need more examples, you know it would be a shame if Webster's as a whole had to go out of business.
Time something was said, and I guess it falls to me. So I ask you, Altadena.....show us some love and help us save Webster's!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WFS American Heritage Celebration, Now Through July 3rd

What better time to have a celebration of the basic tenets of American society than Independence Day? In the days leading up to our nation's 233rd birthday, we ask that you stop and think about what makes the U.S. special, unique and a nation that stands alone in the world as an ideal. Now stop and think about what makes your community special and unique. Is it the McDonald's down the street? The Rite-Aid or the Starbucks? Maybe the HomeGoods store or Marshalls or The Home Depot? I'm thinking it's not. Every community, more or less, has these big-box and chain stores. More likely, it's that great little liquor store down the street, or the cleaners that also does wonderful alterations that gives your community its character. It's that fabulous little gift shop or stationery boutique where you can find the choicest offerings that you can't find everywhere else. These brick and mortar stores are the foundation of your community and in reality, are the foundation of business in the United States today. Used to be, all stores were mom & pop operations....we are the businesses that America was built on and I'm proud to be an independent retailer! In that light, Webster's Fine Stationers is celebrating its great American heritage with a heartfelt thank you to our supporters. We urge everyone to rethink their shopping habits and patronize their local businesses. Read about The 3/50 Project.....go to their website, http://www.the350project.net/ and register as a supporter. If you're a retailer, register also, and use their promotional material and make a change in this retail environment. Say no! to the big boxes and chains and yes! to independent businesses!

For our celebration of American Heritage, we've printed up notecards you can address to our troops for the 4th of July. Make a serviceman or woman's day brighter by telling them just how much you appreciate their courageous contribution to keeping America free. Webster's Fine Stationers will take all your cards and forward them on to our military servicepeople. Just ask a crewmember for one of the cards at the counter.

Remember, my friends....shop local, keep your money in the community where it belongs and have a fabulous 4th of July!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Get Your Summer On, Part 3 - New Product Alert!

Ahhh, summertime....it's almost here and what a perfect time to keep in touch with your family and friends. Backyard parties, graduation celebrations, birthdays, wedding and baby showers, pool parties, sleepovers - there are endless options to get together this season. Invitations for these events can be found all over but I know you're looking for something special....something different and fresh and WFS has found them! PJ Invites, a new company who makes their imprintable (or fill-in) invitations right here in the US, has unique and colorful designs with fashion-forward colors....we've just gotten our first shipment in and we couldn't be happier! Another plus is they come with coordinating thank you notes.

PJ Invites also makes personalized stamps for all your correspondence. I know, personalized stamps have been around for a long time and they're cool, but they're pricey and you have to keep buying replacement inkpads for them. Enter PJ Cardona, who has designed a self-inking stamp that'll last for 30,000 impressions, which is probably more than you'll stamp in a lifetime! She also told me that if for any reason her stamps dry up, they'll replace the stamp with a new one....that's a guarantee I like. PJ's stamp designs are the coolest around, too, and they offer licensed sorority logos. Tri-Delts, you know you've always wanted a personalized stamp with your sorority affliliation on it, right? Even if you're not a sorority gal, these stamps are so special and can personalize your correspondence notes, letter papers, books, homemade gifts....anything you can think of. So handy, compact and cute, cute, cute! We even have notecards designed especially for the stamps, which you can personalize with your new, custom stamp....these are wonderful gifts for anyone for any occasion and they're ready in less than a week!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting Your Summer On, Con't

Early summer wouldn't be complete without Father's Day and this year it happens on the exact date of the solstice. Being prepared with a gift for your dad can be challenging (at least, I always thought it was) but particularly now, since we're all looking for a good bargain.

Webster's Fine Stationers has taken the guesswork out of providing your father with a lovely gift.....our Father's Day Gifts-to-Go! We've taken some of the hottest men's products we have, put them in a handsome file box and gussied them up just for you. These are a great deal, since we've lowered the prices for them. As an example, we have a box of essential gifts for dad that would cost, if bought separately, over $50.00....our price is $39.99.

Other great dad's day gifts include:

Monteverde pens are a fabulous gift for that special dad! Pictured are the Atlantica, the Desert Sand, Mona Kea and Jewelria Leather and Cork pens.

This is the Invincia, a handsome pen any man would love to own and it includes a 4g flashdrive in the cap!

Stationery suitable for gentlemen is not that easy to find, either. Luckily, Webster's Fine Stationers carries Crane & Company and they have excellent selections:

Or, a Waterman gift set might be appropriate:

All in all, you can't go wrong with a Father's Day gift from WFS! Remember, too, that we elegantly giftwrap purchases over $20.00.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Get Your Summer On At WFS!

I don't know if you know this yet, but Webster's Fine Stationers has a great fragrance line for you and your home. It's called Pacifica and it's here just in time for summer! We have seven luscious, sparkling fragrances that discriminating shoppers will love. Pictured here is Waikiki Pikake, a sublime Island jasmine scent that's perfect for the warmer months ahead. We also carry purse sized shea-butter based solid perfumes, for touching up your fragrance on the go! Perfumes retail for $25.99, the solid perfumes for $10.99. Candles retail for $19.99.

We also have body butter, a rich mixture of natural shea butter that feels (and smells!) like heaven. Body butter retails for $21.99.

All these products are available in the fragrance shown, and also Mediterranean Fig, Malibu Lemon Blossom, Sandlewood, Brazilian Mango Grapefruit, Lotus Garden and Hawaiian Ruby Guava. The candles are 100% soy wax that burns clean while scenting your home. These make great gifts for any female, from the graduate to the birthday girl! Testers are available of all scents for you to try out.
We brought in Pacifica not only for their excellent personal care products but because they, as a manufacturer, have committed themselves to helping improve the environment. Stop in and read the information card about them at the store and I think you'll agree that their vision is enviable.
SPECIAL for our readers! Mention that you read about the new Pacifica line here on our blog and receive 10% off your Pacifica purchase!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Slice of Humble Pie for Larry Wilson?

Interesting article from Pasadena Star News reporter Larry Wilson regarding his recent sling-shots at Altadena:

Thank you, Larry!