Chris Allen has always loved stationery, paper goods, and letterpress printing, as well as the nostalgia that comes with sending and receiving a card in the mail. The 34-year-old nonprofit worker had long mulled over opening a paper goods store of his own, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that he decided to take the leap with his fiancé, Tobin Traxler, a 33-year-old teacher.
The result is Duly Noted, a Georgetown paper goods store that the H Street couple is opening this Saturday. Inside, customers will find greeting cards, journals, notebooks, writing utensils, and office supplies like paperclips and washi tape. The store will also create custom wedding invitations. Traxler and Allen picked out all the goods with an emphasis on design and working with small, independent makers. While the store won’t carry only DC-based brands, it will offer products from local spots like Appointed and The Card Bureau, and Traxler and Allen hope to one day create a card line of their own.
It’s this emphasis on small business that Allen and Traxler believe will set them apart from bigger stationery groups in the area like Paper Source. “When [customers] come in, they’re seeing things they can’t find in other stores. There’s a story behind every brand we carry,” says Allen, “and I know who they are, where they come from, where they’re located and based out of, and can really speak to that and kind of tell their brand’s story.”
While Traxler and Allen know Covid times aren’t the most ideal to launch an in-person store, they do think Duly Noted will cater to pandemic-minted hobbyists: the increased alone time at home has given folks a new appreciation for stationery, mailing notes, or picking up new hobbies like journaling or calligraphy, says Allen. “Now that we’re a year into this and mostly still remote, people are tired of email, they’re tired of Slack, they’re tired of Zoom meetings,” he says. “So I think that there is kind of a resurgence of just sending a little handwritten note or something to a family member or a friend that you haven’t seen in a while.”
And, on a personal note, the pandemic gave the couple the space and time needed to decide to take the plunge on opening a store of their own. “[Covid] really kind of gave us a different perspective on things,” says Allen. “As cliché as it is to say, you really only get one chance at life, and [we] should be doing something that we love. Having more time to think about those things and really prioritize what’s important to us really lead to this feels like the right moment.”
The duo will operate the store while continuing to work their full-time jobs, says Allen, but they hope to one day make it a full-time endeavor and possibly expand to a second DC location.
To celebrate the store’s launch on Saturday, Duly Noted will offer swag bags to its first 50 customers filled with products like cards or office supplies from the brands in-store. And, of course, the spot will limit the number of customers, and masks are required.
Duly Noted will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM, and on Sundays from 12 to 5 PM.
Duly Noted; 1355 Wisconsin Ave. NW