June had gone as fast as she had come, and July has already begun to settle in. With all of the hustle and bustle of the fast approaching summer we had a bit of a delay in our resuming Store Spotlight! But we must not forget our feature store for the month of June, Lenox Square! Today, we are happy to share Manager Karen McElwaney’s passion for her love of fine writing instruments and of the outdoors.
What first brought you to the Paradise Family and how long ago did you start?
I have been in the writing instrument industry seventeen years. During that time, I had the good fortune of working with Paradise Pen as a distributor of several pen lines. When the economy took a downturn I found myself unemployed and missed the pen industry. I applied with Paradise Pen last summer. Good fortune smiled on me again when Jim Paradise contacted me regarding the Manager position at the Lenox Square location. I joined the team in March of this year.
Karen, can you share your passion for fine writing instruments?
There is nothing like the feel of a wonderful fine writing instrument in your hand. In this age of technology, a fine writing instrument in the hand brings a warmth and personal touch that is so often forgotten. I enjoy a hand written note or card and realize the author took time and care to share a personal moment with me. I in turn try to incorporate a “personal touch” whenever possible…and always with the warmth and feel of a fine pen!
What is particularly unique about your store or store location?
Lenox Square sits in the heart of Buckhead, a posh and desirable area of Atlanta. Revered as an International city, Atlanta is host to conventions, ambassador for international travelers; and the heartbeat of Georgia. It is our intent to make Paradise Pen Lenox Square a must stop destination for those visiting our city and a community shop for our neighbors.
How many members are on your team, including yourself?
There are two full time and two part time team players on the Lenox Square team.
Are you a fountain pen, roller ball, or ball point kind of gal?
I actually use and carry all three writing instruments. My fountain pen is very personal and is used for cards or personal notes. Rarely do my fountain pens leave my possession. My ball points and roller balls are my “quick reach” go everywhere pens. These are borrowed by others (but always return home).
Which pen would you say you personally like the most and why?
I love my Omas Gentleman fountain pen. The nib is perfect for me and I love the feel of this pen in my hand.
Tell us something we don’t know about Paradise Pen in Lenox Square.
You may not know…we are located above the cookie company, beside the tea factory, and across from the Apple store. We like to think we are sugar and spice and EVERYTHING NICE!
Tell us more about you, Karen—Who are you and what are your passions in life?
Let’s see if I can define myself:
Karen: Wife, Mother of three; Grand-mother to one
Born in the South and loves the city
White water rafting, swimming biker who occasionally stops for wine, cheese, and Italian cuisine
Lover of the arts, interior design, outdoor concerts and gardening
Friendly, curious, adventure seeking traveler who still has many places to visit and memories to make.
What advice can you give to individuals who would like to purchase their first writing instrument?
Look for a pen that feels nice in the hand, writes well, and is cosmetically appealing to the owners’ eye; Try pens from various manufacturers as they are all different in some way.
What questions should they be asking?
What is the pen made of? What type of filling system does the pen have? If the pen is a roller ball or ballpoint; are the refills generic? What ink should be used in the fountain pen? How do I clean the pen? Are there specific care instructions? Is there a warranty?
There are many new collections being introduced so far this year. Which one do you find the most appealing and why?
My team likes the Mont Blanc Carlo Collodi. The craftsmanship is outstanding. The novel characters are beautifully portrayed in the cap producing intrigue and delight to the pen holder. This pen is unique yet recognized by so many as the Pinocchio pen.
How to you educate your customers to be adventurous when it comes to trying new writing instruments and how should anyone reading this interview expand their love of writing?
We educate our customers by expanding their knowledge base. For instance, if a roller ball customer is looking for another roller ball, we explain the technology found in the Visconti Eco Roller thereby expanding the roller ball arena to include one with the filling system of a fountain pen. Or perhaps the Parker Ingenuity—a porous flexible tip providing the user with a crisp continuous write-out. It is my sincere hope the reader of this interview is compelled to revisit a “simpler time”. When a written note was cherished; saved; and pulled out from time to time to be read again. A time that brought warmth and feeling that can not be transferred via email or text messaging. A written word…a treasure not to be forgotten.
At what age can an individual become interested in writing instruments?
An individual can become interested in a writing instrument from the time their tiny hand can hold one.
Paradise Pen is known for carrying a plethora of fine writing instruments. However, we carry amazing accessories as well. What is your essential writing accessory and why?
A bottle of great ink! The ink flow in my fountain pen can make or ruin my writing experience. I enjoy choosing a color that represents my mood or the occasion.
Atlanta has a vast history of culture, art and music. How do you feel the history of Georgia affects the fine writing industry?
From the authors to historical movements which began in Georgia—all great speeches, books, and plays began with the written word. From Margaret Mitchell to Kathryn Stockett from Franklin Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter from Ray Charles to James Brown there is one common thread…the written word.
Please stop by and visit Paradise Pen at Lenox Square if you are in the area. They can be located at:3393 Peachtree Road NE #4041
Atlanta, GA 30326