Today we are talking with Don, the owner of Atlas Stationers.
RD: Please give us a short description of your store.
Don: Atlas Stationers is a fourth generation family run office products dealer located in an historic building in the Chicago loop. We are celebrating our 77th anniversary in 2016. We have a 3,500 square foot retail location stocking 5,000 items and a robust website www.atlasstationers.com currently featuring over 150,000 items. We personally deliver locally and ship worldwide via FedEx and USPS.
RD: Have digital devices and apps changed how people use notebooks?
Don: Digital devices have changed the type of information recorded in notebooks. For instance, we see a greater share of users journaling and drawing instead of just taking notes. While the information recorded may have changed, the necessity of paper and pen has not diminished.
We have seen some very interesting new products from our manufacturers as well to try and combine the digital and written world. For instance, there are a few notebooks on the market that allow a user to upload their notebooks to the digital world using new apps. This is a new trend that we see growing and are very excited to be able to offer these products.
RD: What do you see as the future of notebooks?
Don: We are seeing significant growth in the sales of the notebooks we carry. People realize they can store information in the cloud but it still does not replace the personality of handwritten information. Millennials in particular are having strong pushback against the digital word and are embracing the physicality of the written word.
RD: Why do (some) people continue to use paper in a digital world?
Don: I believe the older generation still does not completely trust the digital word. Other generations still believe something handwritten has permanence and embrace the physicality of the notebook. Millennials, though trusting of the cloud, want the personality only a notebook can provide. They may have thousands of digital pictures but are they ever looked at? They can go back and look at a notebook anytime they want.
RD: How do people “discover” paper and notebooks now that so many stationery and office supply stores have disappeared?
Don: Writing is a very personal experience. We have found that by offering a vast array of options and by having a knowledgeable sales staff we can impart the differences between papers, cover, and layouts so the consumer can create their own personal experience. Our notebook sales have never been better.
RD: Any additional comments or observations that you would like to add?
Don: Why has the adult coloring fad taken off? It is relaxing and brings people back to a simpler time hopefully filled with great memories. Writing can do the same thing. In education or an office environment, recall can be enhanced by the physicality of the written word.