What happened to the paper in Paper Source?

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I owe my love of bookbinding to Paper Source. When I was in graduate school for Art Therapy at Lesley University, I passed by Paper Source on my way to and from my classes. I jumped at the opportunity to work there when I saw the “help wanted” sign in the window. This was back when there were only two stores, one in Chicago, IL and one in Cambridge, MA.

That being said, it’s hard not to be a paper snob. I’ll admit it. I’m a big fat paper snob.

When I go into stores that claim to have a “huge paper selection”, I just chuckle under my breath and think, “Yeah, okay.”

Then a week ago, the weirdest thing happened. I drove down to the Cambridge store with my sister-in-law to start design work on her wedding invitations. After the usual 15 minutes of overwhelming “I want everything” feelings, we settled down at a table to get to work. We looked over the paper racks hanging on the walls and I wondered what other options we had.

I quickly realized was that I couldn’t find any sample binders. When I worked there (you’re going to hear this a few times), there were about a dozen binders with 8.5″ x 11″ samples of all of the papers carried by the store. The sample binders were meant to simplify the paper search process – imaging pawing through dozens of flat files until you found what you wanted – fun, but labor-intensive.

Then I looked around the store. It seemed as though there were less flat files in the store than I remembered. When I worked there, there were a lot of flat files…like a mini city of them…it was lovely.

And now they weren’t there.

It seemed as though the wedding invitation supplies had replaced those flat files. It bummed me out. I understand why Paper Source would do such a thing – their wedding invitation business is booming, so why not replace slower-moving stock with stuff that people want?

[start rant]

Well, that would be because I don’t respond well to change and I want the store to be the same as it was when I left and I just want it to have lots of paper there because that’s what I count on them for and now I’m all stressed out because they don’t have a big selection of paper any more and for goodness sake, paper is half of their name!

[end rant]

So what I’m really hoping for is that someone will tell me that I’ve just lost my mind and have hallucinated the whole, ugly ordeal. Or if you’ve actually found the same to be true in a Paper Source near you then please validate my experience, which I warn you, may or may not make me feel better.

At least the wedding invitations are taken care of.


4 Responses to “What happened to the paper in Paper Source?”

By Katherine - 24 February 2009 Reply

Though I have never visited a Paper Source store, I go to Papers! in Albuquerque every year in February when I make my annual visit to New Mexico. Last week when I stopped in to get my paper fix, I was similarly surprised by the much smaller inventory, perhaps half the number of papers as last year, and they did not have two papers that I specifically wanted that I bought last year. When I asked the woman in charge of ordering paper, she knew exactly what papers I wanted but said their inventory was down after Christmas, and that they were “ordering carefully”. I interpreted that to mean that they are worried about the economy. I believe in patronizing “bricks and mortar” shops and shop locally as much as possible, but it’s difficult if what you need is not in stock.

By elissa - 26 February 2009 Reply

Hi Katherine,

I visited Papers! a few years ago when I was on vacation in New Mexico. Whenever my husband and I plan a vacation, the first thing I do is look for local paper suppliers.

I’m sorry to hear that paper is disappearing in other stores too. I understand that the economy is an issue…but I have PAPER NEEDS! Sheesh…take the word “paper” out of your store name if it will no longer be your focus. Meh.


By Muriel Abby - 2 January 2015 Reply

Elissa, I stumbled on your blog by mistake, but agree with your assessment. I wonder if you know the name of the manufacturer/supplier that makes Paper Source’s card stock – the folded note cards? Thanks!

By Elissa - 3 January 2015 Reply

Muriel –

The manufacturer of the folded cards is Waste Not Paper.


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