Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Load Out

I just got back from Boston, and boy are my feet tired!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone of you who came by and said hello while we were at the New England Pen Show. There were a lot of familiar faces, and lots of new ones, too. It was wonderful being able to put a face with the name (and to hear all of the delightful New England accents!). In fact, I actually had the pleasure of meeting what just may be my sole blog subscriber. And you know who you are!

As I reported earlier, I got into Boston (Woburn, actually) on Friday afternoon. Within a few hours of unpacking, I was on my way to Newton to have dinner with some distant relatives who heard I was in town and wouldn't take no for an answer. Which, as it turned out, was lucky for me, because the food was excellent and the conversation, like the wine, seemed never to stop flowing.

The next day, I groggily woke up and got ready for the show. Unfortunately, in my haste to leave Michigan the day before, I forgot to bring my own home-roasted coffee and had to make do with the swill from Folger's that was "compliments" of the hotel. Yecch!

Craig and I made it to the show shortly after 8 am and began setting up our tables. Ron Zorn and Richard Binder were the only ones there, so we chatted for a bit while Craig did all the heavy lifting (ain't it grand being the boss?). This seemed like a good time for Ron to repair some pens for me as well, so I had him work on a few for me - a Parker "51", an Esterbrook, a Vacumatic and a Skyline all needed varying degrees of restoration. If you've never done business with Ron, you owe it to yourself to do so - he's not only an excellent pen repair person, but he is a true gentleman. Visit Ron's site at www.mainstreeetpens.com

Saturday was mostly trading amongst other dealers. Since I sell new pens, this meant that my tables were unnervingly slow on the financial side. But this also gave me the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. A couple of notables were Susan Wirth and her assistants Neville and Ian. Ian graciously agreed to pull guard duty so the vendors wouldn't have to break down Saturday night and set up again on Sunday. Thanks, Ian! Ian is an accomplished blogger in his own right, so check out his stuff at http://danandsteveshow.com.

I also got to meet Krysta and Artur from the New England Pen People and Off the Bench Furniture (www.offthebenchfurniture.com). Art is a furniture maker who has recently started offering outstanding hand-made pen chests. Not only does he offer some "stock" pieces, but he'll do custom work to accommodate any of your pen needs, from a desk top case holding 10 pens, to a stand-alone chest that can hold a thousand of them. His workmanship was top notch and I was really impressed by a couple of his designs. You never know, I may just start offering them for sale at the Pear Tree Pen Company!

Also on Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my customers who flew in from California, ostensibly to show his son some college in New York, but I know he was really there for the fountain pens.

Saturday night, all of the pen folks were gathering for a group dinner, but I had another social obligation that prevented me from attending. We headed out to Framingham for dinner at Legal Seafood, while the rest of the group went elsewhere.

Sunday came and we started all over. When the doors opened at 10 am, it was chaos - a wonderful, exciting chaos, but chaos nonetheless. I didn't sit down until at least 4 or 5 pm. Many lucky people walked away with fantastic deals on pens such as the Sailor Sapporo, Lamy 2000, or Visconti Van Gogh, or on paper from Clairefontaine, Exacompta and Rhodia. Bottled fountain pen ink from Diamine and Omas was also extremely popular.

As I said, we were busy. Really busy. In fact, we were the last table to break down and people were still trying to buy paper, pens and ink while Craig loaded up the van for our long trip home (again, that boss thing!).

Driving out of Boston on Sunday was relatively easy until we hit the Berkshires - the rain started before we left the city, but up at that altitude, the temperature dropped pretty quickly and the roads started to get icy. We pushed on for a while before we finally decided to call it a night somewhere around Utica, New York. The next morning, we woke up to about a foot of snow on the ground and all we had on our feet were sandals (we tend to pack lightly at pen shows). We drove on through near blizzard conditions until the storm finally broke west of Rochester, New York. After that, it was smooth sailing.

It is good to be home, but now I have to unpack the van and fill the multitude of orders that came in while I was away. And get ready for the Chicago show in two weeks.

See you there!

James P.

1 comment:

Ian K. said...

Hey, ten bucks is ten bucks.

Keep in touch.

-Ian K.