Our New West End Main Shop

Great news! Construction is underway at the new west end main shop.

FAQs

1. What is the exact address of the main shop? Yet to be disclosed. Please sit tight! Perhaps read a good book? Or enjoy a tasty meal at an Italian restaurant? or, specifically, a little Italy-an restaurant?? Hmm???

2. Why the secrecy? We are nervous people! Lots can/could/already has gone wrong. We don’t want anyone catching us with our metaphorical pants down. I don’t think anyone wants that. There’s a lot that goes into making a sausage.

3. When are you opening? Unknown – first week-ish of May. We’re out of our Leslieville shop by the end of April, and we’re hoping to take the first few days or week to set up and get ready to go. We are tentatively hoping to have our grand opening Saturday, May 5th, but stay caught up with us for a soft opening earlier that week for a sneak peek and maybe a few deals.

4. When is your last day in Leslieville? Saturday, April 28th.

5. Are you going to be having any sales? We may! Who knows! Stay tuned. More announcements and details on our celebrations of three wonderful, beautiful years here.

6. What’s going on with the east end studio? WHO KNOWS. We continue onward in our slog through permits and zoning. At this point, your guess is as good as mine. Mine is approximately mid-summer, and that’s based on absolutely zero actual knowledge.

7. What’s the difference between the west end main shop and the east end studio shop? You mean, other than the fact that one has an actual timeline to open? The west end main shop will be everything you already know (and love?) about our Leslieville shop. With our warehouse in the back, it will have the bulk of our stock and receive most shipments. You’ll be able to browse our full lines of ink and pens and try out nibs and attend calligraphy classes and more. In our new east end studio shop, with extremely limited space, we’ll only have a curated selection of pens and inks and supplies. In our east end studio shop, we may have occasional new products or lines that we’re testing, photographing or getting feedback on.

6. Where will Chicken be? Chicken will be at the east end studio shop.

 

So we’re off! Walls are coming down! Water-damaged plaster is being scraped off! Lights and wiring are hanging down somewhat dangerously!

When Jon first looked at the space, and then brought me to take a look, it was difficult to envision how the space was going to look. The space had been split up into different units and rooms, connected to other spaces in the building, and drop ceilings had been put in, covering different things and lowering the ceiling significantly.

There’s still a lot to be done over the next few weeks, on the outside facade, plumbing and electrical, installing lights, paint, flooring, cleaning it all up, and that’s all before we even begin to consider the move, with the big metal shelving and packing tables, and all of the shop furniture and stock. Jon and sometimes I have been traversing the city to pick up lighting or supplies or to meet with someone.  Someone is currently using the front of our new shop to store their barrels of used cooking oil, so some lucky Joe (or Jon) is going to have to take care of that, too.

Jon and his contractor/therapist/life coach.

My favourite thing about this space is that although the ceilings are actually fairly high at the front of the shop, it really opens up as you walk towards the back, because there’s this huge skylight. The skylight had originally been covered with this frosted plastic sheeting that you couldn’t see through, so opening it up was nerve-wracking: what would be unveiled? broken glass? garbage? dead animals??

Of the many surprises we’ve had since undertaking the renovations of the two shops, the tented framing of this massive skylight has been absolutely one of the most delightful. Things may truly work out for us. On one side of the skylight, our contractor opened up part of the ceiling and discovered an area over which he’s going he’s going to build a ledge, which is perfect for plants. Can you just imagine a few vines snaking over the grate?

One of the very few advantages (advantage? is that really the right word here?) of having an extremely limited budget in this very expensive city of skyrocketing rents is that you’re forced to look at unconventional places, and use a little bit of your imagination. It’s hard to picture exactly how things are going to go when walls are up, and ceilings are so low that you have to stoop through tunneled areas to get to other walled off rooms with water damage coming from the ceiling. But then you take down some walls, take off some dusty, cobwebbed plastic sheeting from the ceiling, and look at what you find.

 

20 Comments

  1. Sully

    Since you are going to keep Chicken at the East end shop, can we have a new cat and name him/her “Ducky”? ;). The shop will never be complete without a mascot, lol.

    I’m so excited you are coming to the west. I live on the West end so yeah you will see my face more often.

    • wonderpens

      Glad to hear it! You know, Chicken is extremely well-loved by visitors and customers and people who see pictures of him, but I suspect it’s largely because they don’t have to put up with him scrambling around and crashing into walls at night, or knocking over bottles of ink, or drinking out of water bottles, or…

      Who knows, perhaps we’ll keep our fingers crossed for mice at the west end shop! (Just kidding please don’t.) 🙂

  2. EAB

    I used to live down the street from your new location and walked by it every day. I’m glad that you’re moving back to the west end (so much closer!) but also kind of glad I’m not next door anymore… I’d wind up buying far too much ink… 😉

    • wonderpens

      We’d love to stay here! It’s all the familiar things that make up a community for us, but onward, they say. I hope you’ll still end up visiting and saying hello every once in a while 🙂

      • EAB

        Oh, I think you misunderstand! I used to live in Little Italy, just a few doors from your new location. The view out your storefront window gave it away… I would recognize those houses anytime! I’m now near Dundas West, so I will definitely be stopping by more frequently! Just perhaps not as frequently if I were living next door 😉

  3. Hello my most favourite store of all! You guys are moving to the west end. I am so excited! I live in Etobicoke and coming down to Leslieville was always a bit tricky for me. Now that you’ll be closer, I may visit more often. I can’t wait to see what an amazing community will gather around your new west-end shop. I will miss Chicken too. But maybe, you guys would consider a puppy? 🙂

    • wonderpens

      We are pretty excited ourselves! Yes, our new west end shop will definitely be a lot easier coming from Etobicoke. Hoping to see you soon! It’s been a thrill to hear from people who live on the west end or west of Toronto, and hopefully it will be easier for you all.

      Chicken may pop up every once in a while! But for the most part, he will live in the east end. 🙂

  4. MonkeyKing535i

    You guys are totally amazing, changing shops fasting than me changing cars : )

    No doubt, the best is yet to come…. All the best!

  5. Sharon

    Would love to squeeze in a visit on my trip to Ontario in the first week of May but without a date or location, kind of hard to plan transportation to get there. Hopefully, soon?

    • wonderpens

      We would love to see you! We are hoping to announce more details soon. The new shop will be in Little Italy, in the west end. Once we get closer to the end of April, we’ll have a better idea of how renovations are coming and how long it will take us to get set up, and fingers crossed everything will roll on wheels the last few days of April and first days of May and we’ll be set up for your visit before you leave!

  6. Lisa

    Possibly dumb question about the new shop – will it be with or without pets?
    I have dog/cat allergies …
    Thanks!

    • wonderpens

      We will have no pets living at the new west end main shop! However, we do have dogs (usually on leash but sometimes not) visit us. If it’s just our cat, it’s no problem to ask one of the staff to bring him to the back!

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