Monday, November 1, 2010
The Lucky Few: Brick & Mortar Stamp Stores
I grew up going to an actual stamp store. I used to walk up a hill every Saturday morning. The old guy who owned the store opened up at 8am and closed at Noon for the rest of the day. I had my Scott Catalog numbers written down and purchased the stamps right off the list. He always threw in a couple of stamps for free.
I went there for years until he died and the store closed down. I miss that old guy and I miss the live experience of shopping at a stamp store. There aren't very many of the those stores out there anymore. If you find one and it stocks what you need---then consider yourself lucky. Before I moved across the country I was fortunate to find one and I didn't care if its prices were higher than the internet especially when you factor shipping and the time you have to wait before you can get a certain task complete. It's worth it to shop there if nearby.
I'm not knocking the Internet stamp supply stores they often have better prices but then again they should be since there is very little overhead. In many many instances if it weren't for the Internet one would have to travel hundreds of miles just to get to a store. Where I live I literally have to go to another State just to reach a store. Quite frankly, with a full time job, 2 kids and a marriage, I don't have the time to spare to make such a journey. Heck who does?
I get emails from people who enjoy the live experience of stamping via stamp shows or flea markets---ironically most still don't have a stamp store in their community. Please understand the point of this article is not to promote stamp stores as a super great experience you cannot live without. More times than not it has been a wonderful experience and I enjoy including it fondly in my stamp memories. But I recognize stamp stores cannot always compete well with mail order/internet stores. What you do with your money is your business so I don't judge anyone on where they purchase their stamps or supplies.
Yet if you live close by a stamp store, go check it out. The people there often have decades of experience and usually enjoy speaking about the Hobby of Kings. It's a journey worth taking.