If the bright yellow bike parked out front at The Paper Merchant doesn’t make you smile, then what’s inside definitely will.
Along with room after room of paper, greeting cards, gifts, wrapping paper, journals, books, and calendars, you might also find a rubber chicken or two. That’s because it has become the owners Stephen and Patricia Burnham’s signature gag gift, and they sell a lot of them, along with of course, paper.
Residing in a historic Gothic Revival house on bustling Third Street in Geneva, Illinois, this big little stationery retailer has been printing and selling fine stationery for over 30 years. The house itself has an interesting style which seems to suit the creative atmosphere of the Paper Merchant perfectly. Built in 1869, it was originally a summer home for a Chicago attorney and later converted into retail space.
Custom printing makes up a good portion of the Paper Merchant’s business. Equipment is housed in the store’s basement, and depending on the time of year, custom invitations can be turned around quickly, sometimes within a day.
Many a customer has come to the Paper Merchant following a disappointing experience with an online retailer. “Buying online has its place, but this is a tactile kind of business and customers want to touch the paper, feel the weight and texture, and compare colors… in person, not on a computer screen,” said owner Steve Burnham.
The Paper Merchant sells a steady stream of Italian designed Rossi products including wrapping papers, gift tags, albums, file folders, and notepads. Customers seem to quickly sense the difference in the quality of Rossi stationery, even its product packaging.
Steve says: “The Rossi products are always a mark above the rest. When we tell customers they’re manufactured in Italy, they seem surprised and take a step back.”
Their best-selling Rossi design is the iconic Fashion decorative paper with its distinct mid-century vibe. “To me she represents Italian style and fashion, where it all started. Our customers love that paper,” he adds.
The Paper Merchant seems to have figured out what customers want. In today’s market, that’s unusual. But then so is the Paper Merchant, a Geneva treasure.
Sarah, owner Steve Burnham, and Dawn at The Paper Merchant, Geneva, Illinois
For more info about The Paper Merchant, visit http://www.papermerchantgeneva.com/
To view a video of the Rossi1931 collection, click here.
For more information, visit http://rossi1931.com