In the 1960s when September rolled around, you might make the trek to Valley Stationers with your mom to get your school supplies. I fondly remember this fabulous stationery store, long before the corporate takeover of most mom-and-pop businesses. Unlike Thrifty and Sav-On stores, Valley Stationers on Ventura Boulevard had a classier image.
Valley Stationers offered custom printing (long before Kinko's) and that meant business cards as well as wedding, bar mitzvah and party invitations. I recall my mom getting my kid sister Byrdie's birth announcements there in March 1966. The woman suggested printing a copy of the "It's A Girl!" pink button on the front of the card, that Mom had received at the hospital. Very clever idea!
As a kid, I could wander around Valley Stationers, which seemed like a huge store to me, even as an adult, for the longest time. I loved picking out a fresh "Pee Chee" folder for school. Those were the famous golden colored folders with images of high school athletes on the front and back cover. They are still made today. You were defined in many ways by the scribblings and drawings you would create on your Pee Chee folder!
I also loved buying those funky little rubber pencil grips at Valley Stationers, which were in large plastic tubs of all different colors. (I have included a photo here of these, to jog your memory. Weren't those the best?) These items were only available at stores like Valley Stationers, or maybe the bookstore at UCLA.
I was always so motivated to start the new school year with my new school supplies from this wonderful emporium of organizational needs. (I loved those clear plastic pouches with the zipper on the side for holding pens and pencils that you would put inside your notebook. I remember having a mint green one.)
As the years rolled on, Valley Stationers (along with the smaller Flair Stationers near Columbus Avenue in Sherman Oaks) gave way to the large, highly corporate chain stationery and office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot.
Now, the Guitar Center is doing a brisk business in the spot where Valley Stationers once stood. The empty lot just east is where Barone's Famous Italian restaurant was for over 45 years and on that corner, McNally-Azar Realty, a famed Sherman Oaks office.
Whenever I drive by the former location of Valley Stationers I think of all the fun items I used to purchase there, like my mini-Swingline stapler and El Marko Marks A Lot pens. Of course, my lunch pail had to be purchased at the nearby Sav-On, as Valley Stationers did not stock those. I had a Peanuts and Beatles Yellow Submarine lunch box back in 1967-68.
However, that little aqua-colored squeeze bottle with yellow sponge top that you used to moisten postage stamps, Blue Chip stamps and Green Stamps came from none other than Valley Stationers, a true legend.