In 1978, gasoline was 70¢ a gallon, a postage stamp was 13¢ and Scottsdale Fashion Square was a three-story open-air structure. That’s also the year that Judy Silver and her daughter, Nancy, opened The Paper Place on Marshall Way in Scottsdale.
“Mom was a tennis player and housewife…I think she was tired of being a housewife,” says Nancy of her mom’s desire to start a business. “She had a friend in Des Moines, Iowa, who owned a Paper Place franchise.” The Paper Place originally started as a franchise with locations in Texas, Des Moines and Louisiana.
At the time, Nancy was in her early 20s and working for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “I was happy at Best Western,” recalls Nancy. But she decided to quit her job and help her mom open an 800-square-foot store specializing in custom invitations, stationery and gifts.
“Our first printer had a calligraphy bed,” says Nancy. “We printed everything in-house.” They worked with a designer on their paper-based products then and still work with one today.
In 1992, they purchased a larger store across Marshall Way. In 1994, Nancy’s younger sister, Betsy Hendricks, joined them in the business shortly before Judy passed away. The two sisters currently run the business together with a “minimum of sibling rivalry.”
Invitations still make up the majority of their business. An area of the store has shelves stocked with books along with tables where customers can browse through hundreds of choices for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, showers and all occasions. “We do it all,” says Betsy. “From the ‘save the date’ to the invitations, thank-you cards, place cards, menus – everything.”
They also offer custom personal and business stationery in a wide variety of designs, type styles and monograms. There are also pre-boxed writing paper and note cards in a vast array of colors and designs, along with an ample selection of greeting cards.
In the non-paper category, the store is full of unique gift items that include jewelry, frames, office supplies, clocks, candles, housewares, books and much more. The Paper Place was recently awarded “Best of the Valley 2017” in the category of “Best Gift Shop” by Arizona Foothills Magazine.
Although their business offerings may not have changed dramatically over the years, something has changed in the way people approach invitation design. When asked why, the sisters almost blurt it out at the same time: “Pinterest!” Brides show them Pinterest boards with their ideas – “And there are so many ideas,” says Nancy. Ideas are often unique to the bride, so it can be difficult to determine a specific theme.
But that’s where the sisters’ years of knowledge come into play as they help to discern what the customer really wants. “We deal with happy occasions,” says Nancy. “If we wanted to make money, we could have been a reality show.” Along those lines, she also admits, “I’m a stationery bartender. I know more information on people…” and she leaves it at that.
The sisters are planning a celebration for their 40th anniversary in 2018 but aren’t sure what the shindig will entail quite yet. One thing is for sure: The Silver sisters are carrying on the legacy of what their mother started on Marshall Way. In fact, many of the businesses in the downtown Scottsdale area are locally owned and one-of-a-kind. “Shop local,” says Betsy. “People get on Amazon…but shopping locally not only helps the store and its employees, it helps the community.”
The Paper Place is located at 4130 N. Marshall Way #C in Scottsdale. The store is open 10 am-5 pm Mon.-Sat. or by appointment. Call 480-941-2858 or visit thepaperplaceaz.com.
Two Pups Wellness Fund
Nancy Silver recently established the Two Pups Wellness Fund (twopups.org), which provides financial aid for the lifesaving care of less-fortunate dogs and cats. The fund is a memorial to Nancy’s beloved pups, Miss Lacie and Mr. P., her faithful companions – both at home and at the store – for almost 17 years.
“When Miss Lacie’s life was nearing the end five years ago, I spent a lot of my time at the veterinary hospital and met other families that could not afford the care their pets needed,” says Nancy. “I lost Mr. P. a little more than a year ago. He lived longer because of the care I was able to provide. I wanted to give that time to others.”
Nancy is planning to hold fundraisers throughout the coming year. Check the fund’s Facebook page for upcoming events at facebook.com/twopups.org. Two Pups operates under the umbrella of the Arizona Community Foundation, which provides expertise in the management and distribution of funds raised.