As you may or may not have heard a local business will soon be no more… the Paper Zone a Seattle based company will very shortly be closing their doors. Paper Zone carried a large selection of gorgeous papers, envelopes, scrapbooking supplies and stamps. Their staff has always been super creative, helpful and a huge part of the community. I will miss Paper Zone for many reasons and in this post you will see how Paper Zone has been a big part of my life.
I went to college at the Art Institute of Portland and received a bachelors in graphic design. Along the way I met and studied under some very talented people. I learned a lot about where to shop for supplies and heard about a small paper supply store down from my home in Vancouver (at the time). I had a free afternoon one day to stop in and it BLEW MY MIND! I probably spent over an hour in there. The staff asked me over and over if I was finding everything okay. I just nodded with my eyes wide and said I’d never seen so many fantastic papers under one roof. I told them I was a student and I had just discovered the store. They smiled, laughed and told me to take some samples. I said even these shinny ones?! Oh Stardream my love affair with you began that day.
Once I graduated from college I quit my day job and tried to find something in graphic design. It was another down economy and I realized I needed a job just to pay the bills. I figured I loved Paper Zone so much why not just apply there? The manager at time hired me that same day to start at the Portland location on Grand Avenue. At this time Paper Zone also sold merchandise online and it was run out of the same building as the Portland location. A week after I started in the store the associate running the website quit. Management needed to fill the spot quick and said, hey don’t you know computers?! Uh yea I can do that. I ran the Paper Zone website by myself for over three years and it was pretty darn fun.
After working in the upstairs warehouse alone for so long it was nice to hear that the Beaverton store wanted me to move there to be the assistant manager. I loved the manager of that store so much I thought it would be a blast – and it was! After only a year I took over as the manager. All in all I worked for Paper Zone for a little over six years and that’s nothing compared to a lot of associates who were employed by this local company. I worked with the corporate office and many other stores. I made a ton of friends and learned a whole lot about paper. After quitting to run Crave Design full time, Paper Zone even contracted me to make samples for their stores and trade show events. After all this time I still value the things learned from this company and of course all the AMAZING associates who gave it their all.
While working at Paper Zone I started Crave Design. Customers just kept asking me, “What would you do?”. It came down to the fact that I did know what I would do and I wasn’t about to keep giving it away for free. Paper Zone gave me the confidence to start up my own business. They gave me a sort of creative freedom and that’s just plain unique. The people I worked with on a daily basis gave me inspiration and being management gave me business savvy.
So you see I really wouldn’t be where I am today without the love of paper and Paper Zone. I watched a lot of stores close while still working for the company and it was heart breaking. But really friends, nothing is more heart breaking than seeing all the stores close for good. I’ve been to each store once since the announcement and I’ve stashed away my favorite papers. It’s hard to see a local business close when you are one yourself. I try not to ponder how I will make it when many have not. It really is important to shop local. It’s why I drive 30 minutes from my home to a local print show run by a family I adore.
The doors are still open and what is left is 30% off. Check out their blog while you still can and maybe find some inspiration along the way.
Baby shower samples made for Paper Zone in 2011.
** Got a fun memory about Paper Zone? Leave a comment below! **