Today we are talking to Louise Garrels, Marketing Manager at McGuckin Hardware.
RD: Please give us a short description of your store.
LG: McGuckin Hardware is an independent, family-owned hardware store in Boulder, Colorado, employing an average of 285 people and stocking over 200,000 items in 18 departments. The store, founded in 1955, is based on product selection and customer service, and is known to be friendly to leashed dogs, DIY projects, entrepreneurs, artists, and the emerging Maker culture. It is referred to as the largest independent hardware store in the United States.
RD: Have digital devices and apps changed how people use notebooks?
LG: Technology has definitely changed the way some people use notebooks, especially considering the factor of convenience. Maybe those who would have previously jotted down their grocery lists now use an app that’s already incorporated in their phone or tablet. The percentage of students who take notes in class on laptops rather than in notebooks seems to increase by the year as well. Still, many people continue to hold value in notebooks, the feel of paper, and the physical act of populating it with charcoal, lead or ink.
RD: What do you see as the future of notebooks?
LG: Notebooks will always have a place in the world because they offer a platform for creativity and originality that can’t necessarily be represented on the cookie cutter software templates that come with technology. There’s a certain freedom of expression that comes with paper. In this way, there will always be a demand for paper and notebooks as artists are concerned. Paper is a one-of-a-kind tool for the construction of ideas and the evolution of thought. If you’ve ever looked at a writer’s notebook, you’ll see old words scratched out and replaced with better words, images sketched in the margins to help formulate thoughts, and meter and rhythm expressed in various calligraphies, fonts and sizes. You can’t doodle (or at least the to the same extend) with a computer. Paper offers an extension of personality that can’t be seen in technology; it’s a window into the way someone thinks—and that’s a unique perspective that won’t ever die completely.
RD: Why do (some) people continue to use paper in a digital world?
LG: Those who have grown up using notebooks are more likely to stay with that method. For many, especially those resistant to burgeoning technology, notebooks are still faster to write in and easier to deal with. They retain that sense of familiarity with the look and feel of paper and the content it holds.
RD: How do people “discover” paper and notebooks now that so many stationery and office supply stores have disappeared?
LG: People discover paper and notebooks with clever, attractive cover designs and good merchandising. Those who have only used paper and notebooks know where to look, and it’s a just a matter of catching everyone else off guard with the way it’s presented.
RD: Any additional comments or observations that you would like to add?
LG: The Maker culture has brought along a very hands-on approach to discovering, learning and creating. The tactile relationship that people are establishing or re-establishing with paper through this culture is bringing a new sense of respect and purpose for quality paper products.
Technology has been a wonderful boon for people, but people are still struggling to counterbalance all the technology. Many are finding that balance point through doodling, writing, and coloring with pen or pencil and paper.