This is the biggest news we've had for quite a while! For a long time we've been dreaming of opening a second shop: of course we miss our west end pen friends, we know that so many of you come from so far to make it to our shop. It's a tumultuous commercial real estate market in Toronto, that's for sure, though, and we weren't sure if it was ever going to happen. And then, last year, we found out that when our lease is up in the spring, our rent is going to jump an astronomical 30% - unlike residential leases, there are no caps on increases on commercial properties. Throughout the building, we've watched a slow mass exodus of small businesses and workshops as leases have come up. We have loved being in Leslieville - from our neighhours who visit us regularly on their walks to the local shops and cafes - and had planned on being here for a while, but we gotta roll with the punches. And then sometimes the punches are serendipitous opportunities in disguise. Over the next few months, we're opening up a small studio shop, still in the east end. Those few of you who, like me, reminisce nostalgically about our days at 906 Dundas West, will have lots to look forward to with this new shop, a smaller space ready for shelves and long conversations over the pen counter on rainy afternoons. I'm already dreaming of those boxes stacked up against the windows, and inks buried deep underneath. And now we'll have a cat! Those of you who remember warily the days of having to squeeze past boxes and the merry-go-round of customers around our center table during busy hours, everyone shuffling a few steps at the same time, will be heartened to know that we're planning on opening the main shop again in a new location, after our lease here in Leslieville ends. The studio shop is an old Victorian in a great neighbourhood. It's both perfect for us, and ...not quite actually perfect. A bit wabi-sabi: in need of some love (and a few contractors), but with its own character. The main floor will be our studio shop, and upstairs will be where our family lives. I'm a fan of furniture off the street, but don't worry: we're not bringing this couch home with us. It's going to be significantly smaller than our main shop, and as such won't offer our full range, just a selection of the good stuff. We will, however, be as charming as ever! (HAHA.) We'll be able to be flexible with stock between the two locations, and we'll have a sneak peek of the newest arrivals to be photographed and prepped for the website before the bulk of our shipments head over to the main shop. We may occasionally have cookies. You might be asking yourself many questions such as: How long will you still be in this Leslieville location? (until estimated early spring 2018) Where will your main shop move to? (unknown) When will the studio shop open? (estimated mid-winter 2017/2018) Where exactly is the studio shop going to be? (the east end - stay tuned for announcements and details!) How is your business going to survive so much turmoil? (who knows!) Who knows real answers to these questions (no one, but most likely Jon) Are you hiring? (yes we are! Please come and work with us! All of our positions are available here, but we're in particular looking for a full-time person now that we're gearing up for the studio shop.)

I know some of you may also be asking didn't you just move into this Leslieville place? And the answer to that is, well yes.

I know it seems, unfortunately, like we're bouncing around the city, but we're hoping this next set of changes will be the last ones for a while. It's partially the nature of real estate in Toronto, and also the nature of surviving as a small, independent business in this age of huge and huger mega-businesses and technology. We outgrew our tiny 906 Dundas West space after two years, and now our building is catching up with the growth of our transforming neighbourhood.

And, to be honest, one of the driving forces behind this new place is watching Caleb grow up. While I know (or at least keep telling myself) that Caleb is learning lots and experiencing lots by living here in this industrial building, with a movie prop maker (with some pretty crazy and occasionally scary stuff in his studio) and a bicycle repair shop and a tattoo parlor and a metal workshop and a print studio, I also know I want Caleb to have roots. I know that there are some sacrifices to Caleb's, and now the new baby's childhoods that they will have to make because we are a small business family: Saturdays are our prime game time in the shop, not trips to the zoo; chores include sweeping the shop and taking out the recycling, in addition to clearing dinner tables and picking up socks; dinner time is sometimes late, and sometimes take-out, depending on what's going on in the shop (and, basically for all of December). But community is so important - the community and village we all share as stationery lovers, yes, but also the community that our children will grow up in, their schools and the local shops, our neighbours and the people we run into on the streets. As Jon and I learn more and more about Toronto real estate, and how turbulent commercial properties can be and are, I know that I don't want Caleb to be changing schools and our family uprooted every three years, something that Jon and I took to a bit more naturally when it was just the two of us, and when Caleb was just an infant. When this opportunity came up for a long-term place for us, we took the leap. I'm deeply looking forward to both our family and our business being able to put down roots in a community. To be on a first-name basis with our librarians and shawarma take-out place people. To have favourite tables at my local cafe. I want to be able to contribute to the economy and fabric of a neighbourhood for a good long while. So this studio shop that we're opening up is (hopefully) going to be our good long while. And best of all, we will have a backyard. (This doesn't look too backyardy right now, because the previous folks used it as a multi-car parking lot for their offices, but trust me, there's going to be some green in there.) There is definitely going to be more to come - announcements, photos, news, renovation updates, funny stories. I hope you'll continue to follow along with our journey - we continue to barrel along new paths I could hardly have imagined for us four years ago when we first opened the shop.   This news is terrifying for us, but with our newest turkey (the baby) fresh from the oven, there's only so much terror to go around, so we're plunging ahead with our hearts in our hands. There's so much to be excited about and thankful for in this new adventure. Watching Caleb run around the rooms, already making himself at home, spilling his juice on the floor. I can't wait to see a few walls come down on the first floor to open up space for our shop, and to see some familiar faces come in through the door. A tiny stationery shop studio, in an old Victorian house, with some of my favourite people in the world wandering in and out. What a dream.
November 08, 2017 — wonderpens
Tags: Studio Shop

Comments

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thanks so much! With just a little anxiety, we are very much looking forward to seeing the year ahead.

What a dream, to run a writing workshop!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

How wonderful for us to be a part of your journey! We are so glad to be here, and even more so to know that you’ll find us wherever we are :)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thanks so much! Looking forward to your visit :)

ปั๊มไลค์

ปั๊มไลค์ said:

Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! I can’t wait for your visit and to show you all around.

Nina

Nina said:

Please do check it out. Many of the landlords give 3 months free rent too and the shop sizes vary. Walking distance to the lake and parks galore (nice draw for customers too).

Good luck with all the moves. You’ve come a long way – I remember walking into the store on Dundas sideways when it was crowded – it was like a comedy, inching to the front of the shop.

Have a bountiful, bllissful and beautiful New Year.
More photos of the baby please!

Tanya Marie Dubé

Tanya Marie Dubé said:

Ooooooh I can’t wait to see your new location and hang out inside! Congratulations on your new house – looks beautiful!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! We are very much looking forward to everything to come, if also terrified :)

Thank you as well for your support over these years. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Jack

Jack said:

Congrats, Jon! Great choice of the neighborhood! Can’t wait to visit your new store! Love your products and work!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the support :)

Patti M Hall

Patti M Hall said:

Congratulations on the decision, the turkey (!!) and forward movement. Sounds amazing. Maybe now we can speak about running little memoir writing workshops in the new space? Sounds ideal for that.
Ordering online today..

sandy

sandy said:

Congratulations! How perfect for a growing family and business. I look forward to all the stories to come in the next stage of your journey.
I look forward to visiting the new space and continuing to purchase online and in person.
Good luck.
Sandy

Brian Smith

Brian Smith said:

Good luck in your new adventures. And stay strong – Wonderpens is one of the great ones in Toronto.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! We’ll certainly be sharing lots as we go forward – I suppose you can count on a few ups and downs in any renovation, and I’m sure we’ll have our share :)

Sara

Sara said:

I am echoing the request to save the deer heads. How often do you see architectural detail like that? The whole entry way is dreamy. I am mostly an online shopper because I live in the wilderness, but your store is always on my Toronto-to-visit list.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m tracking the votes on the deer heads to pass along to Jon. It’s like they’re watching over all who pass underneath! I’m sure you’re enjoying the real deer out in the bush, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed my deer heads will be here if you ever leave the wilderness (why would you??) and make it to Toronto for a visit :)

Hélène

Hélène said:

When I come to see you, coming from Halifax to Toronto is the long part of the journey. I will therefore go wherever you are. You are one of my happy places, but the place is actually irrelevant! Good luck through these transitions.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! I’m hoping to keep a bit of the architectural detail from the hallway, but we’ll have to see how the renovations go… :)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m so glad you found us! I hope you end up finding what you’re looking for, and it brings you many pages of happy writing.

Thank you for your luck and good wishes – we’ll need it!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! Both for your kind words and for your support over the years. Yes, our online shop should be the same as always :)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! We certainly can only hope to continue on. I come from Hamilton myself, so I well know the trek – we truly do appreciate your support and visits, and hope to be around for a few more visits.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much for your support! This sort of grassroots support and word of mouth is really what keeps us alive in this day and age. We truly could not be here without folks like you.

And I may very well test out your strategy as we look ahead to moving. I’ll let you know how it goes ;)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you! I really appreciate your support, and we’ll look forward to your visit :)

Steph R

Steph R said:

All that matters is that Wonder Pens still survives another day, especially in this era of big box stores and Amazon. As long as Jon and you decide to stay in business most, if not all, of current and new patrons will endeavor to follow you. I live way near Hamilton and I tend to visit at least once a month. Congratulations on your new home and store!

Deirdre

Deirdre said:

What exciting news. You have the gift of creating and fostering community. The path you carve will become a familiar trail for others.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much for your kind and beautiful words! We couldn’t be more grateful for the community we have here, and can’t wait for what else is in store.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I was in the room when he was on the phone with the contractor, and I did hear him say “we should keep the deer head archway if we can…” but I have to say he didn’t sound very committed. I’m going to keep working on him :)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! For the good wishes, and for the many years of support.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thanks so much! I will certainly take your advice about the Queensway into consideration – there are so many great neighbourhoods on the west end, and affordability is of course very important to a small business like us.

Thanks again for all of your support!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Oh Ruth, I knew I could count on you to notice the important things! They are indeed plaster deer heads!! I have communicated to Jon my deep interested in keeping them, and he has consented to “depends on how much it costs…”

Certainly by next Scriptus we hope to be up and running, and I will be counting on a visit from you. I’ll have to keep Kingston as a future possibility – you know how much I love the city.

Owen

Owen said:

All and only the very best to your family, friends, business and employees. Here’s to your future, cheers!

Ruth E. Martin

Ruth E. Martin said:

You can tell Jon that I said the deer heads have to stay, haha! Just think of the Christmas decorating potential…

Julie-Anne Mendoza

Julie-Anne Mendoza said:

Congrats!! Your pen community will be with your through these turbulent times – and I can’t wait to visit your new spaces in the future!

Jim

Jim said:

Impermanence is one of the three marks of existence. But that’s cold comfort when you’re managing the children, managing the pets, packing and unpacking, no? (I always swear the next time WE move, I’m going to toss in a match and walk away.)

I’ve started SO MANY reddit comments with “If you’re in Toronto, even for a few hours, you have to visit…” or “If you’re in Canada and need is shipped to you, go to this website…” That will go one, just the street address will change. Yours is one of the finest shops of its kind in Canada (believe me, we’ve been in most) – the new location can’t change that. Supportive thoughts heading your way.

Nina

Nina said:

Oh my goodness! I know you’ll make all your “moves” with style and a great attitude.

I realize you love the east end but did you know along The Queensway there are dozens of empty shops some of them large? And there’s parking, lots of parks and schools. It’s a service-oriented area (hairdressers, spas, No Frills, antiques etc. Just FYI. And with the condos going up, it’s brought the 20-somethings to the area (your market, I think).

Happy trails….

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Haha, you got that right! Although it’s almost seemed like every year we’ve had something new and exciting (and challenging!). Thank you so much for always remembering us – can’t wait to share more!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

The 30% was a bit of a shocker for us as well! They gave us plenty of notice, which was very much appreciated, as it gives us time to plan ahead and see how things go. Unfortunately the increased rent would be untenable for us, so we have to move, but hopefully good things to come ahead.

We will also be pretty sad to say goodbye to this place. Our business has seen a lot of change and growth and excitement from this location, and while I know there are many more adventures to come, this warehouse space has meant a lot to us.

Nadine

Nadine said:

Congratulations for your beautiful new home & studio. Your entrance hallway is Dreamy ?? !

STan

STan said:

Oh my goodness, my heart stopped at that line about your rent going up 30%. I was so happy when you moved to this space on Carlaw (I live a 10 min bike ride away). I’m glad you’ll be maintaining a space in the East end, but it’ll be sad to see the lovely, large warehouse space go – you and your team have created a wonderful community here!

Melodie Li

Melodie Li said:

Wow, when the Wonder Pens family does change, you do it big! So excited for you all – the studio shop / family home looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to follow along with the updates. Caleb’s enthusiasm for the new home beams through in your photos ? Keeping you all in our thoughts during this busy season of adventurous and joyful change!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

It is very exciting! And yes, please, come and visit one more time! It’s been one crazy roller coaster since our days at 906, but we’re so thankful for your support over all these years. One day you’re coming to come into the shop and it’s going to be Caleb helping you! (I can dream…)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thank you so much! Our new studio shop is not too far from where we are now! Hopefully we might still be lucky enough to get a few visits from you :)
We certainly hope to be around for many years – and next year might prove to be our most exciting one yet!

Anzan Hoshin

Anzan Hoshin said:

Best of luck to you during the transition. But as long as the website works, I’ll be fine. The house looks lovely.

Barbara Barrie

Barbara Barrie said:

I just became a new fan (and hopefully a new client soon)! I need a fountain pen with a fine point nib and a not too chunky barrel. I really want to wish you luck in your endeavours and to support you in your move. I am happy to have discovered you via my friend Lucija’s post.
Sending you my best wishes for your continued success,
Barbara Barrie

Ruth E. Martin

Ruth E. Martin said:

Wow, what a front entryway that is! Wait, are those plaster deer heads?? Hope to come and visit this new space when we’re in town for next year’s Scriptus. It looks like it will be fabulous! (But I was really, really hoping that you’d open a branch store in Kingston. ;) )

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

We will still be here for a while! You’ll have to visit us extra while we’re still here ;)

But looking forward to your visits to the studio shop!! Bring the babes!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thanks so much! Looking forward to seeing you in the new shop!

Nadine

Nadine said:

Congratulations and best wishes as you take this big leap forward! What a gorgeous property, too! I look forward to following along on your journey!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Yes! Scary but exciting is just right. Looking forward to your visit :)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Thanks so much!

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