Back when I first started out with fountain pens, I needed a lot of help. And I do mean a lot. Thankfully, there was an option just down the street. At the local shopping mall there was a pen store that was able to help. Quill and Nib was where I purchased my first bottle of ink, my first Lamy Safari and my first Rhodia paper.
A few years ago, however, they moved out of the mall and into a historic shopping district here in Central Iowa known as Valley Junction. And, to be honest, I just don’t get to that part of town very often any more. Earlier this week, I found myself driving through town earlier than I anticipated and thought, “Hey, Quill and Nib is just five minutes that way. Maybe I should stop.” So I did.
I walked into their new store and quickly struck up a conversation with Peter, the sales associate who was working that day. As I poked around, I noticed that they had expanded from beyond just pens into pencils as well and I quickly snatched up the last two boxes they had of the Blackwing 211’s.
The store is well stocked and reasonably priced. While I was there, a young man looking for calligraphy supplies came in. Although they did not have the items on hand, Pete asked him for a list and said the owner would do his very best to get the items in stock. I love that kind of service. Likewise, when another gentleman came in looking for a rollerball refill, not only did Pete find the right one, but made sure it fit and that the customer was happy with the way it wrote. I can’t speak highly enough of the customer service they provided.
Not only do they sell the brands you expect like Conklin, Visconti, Pilot, Lamy and Retro 51 to name a few, but the owner of the store, Rob, is a pen turner and offers his custom work for sale as well. These are gorgeous pens and reasonably priced from what I can tell – although still a bit rich for my blood personally. Still, I loved the bolt action pen that had a gearshifter for the knock mechanism. Very cool. I wonder if he can do one in Dale Jr. colors?
Overall, I spent way too much time (and money!) yesterday but I had a great time chatting with Pete and other customers about something I love so much. I plan to go back to Quill and Nib soon and if you are ever in Des Moines, Iowa, I encourage you to go and take a look. Well worth your time for a visit.