Go Now: CW Pencil Enterprise
As far as specialty shops go, CW Pencil Enterprise, which opened on the Lower East Side back in March, is downright granular. It’s shoe-box sized and therefore really easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the pencil drawing which the owner, 24-year-old Caroline Weaver, put up in lieu of traditional signage. Once inside, have your iPhones cocked and loaded because the black-and-white checkered floor, shelves of neatly labeled jars of pencils, and on-theme art mean this place is a social media free for all. Make good use of the pencil-testing station, which is set up on a Mid-Century desk and topped with vintage-looking sharpeners and old-school notebooks, while the staff (it’s usually Weaver herself manning the store) drop knowledge about each pencil’s provenance, history, color, and optimal use.
Right about now you’re probably wondering how a business like this survives, but just try walking out of here without purchasing at least $20-worth of pencils—they come in countless varieties from a ton of amazing stationery brands like Craft Design Technology, Tombow, and Field Notes—in addition to another $20 in various accessories like vintage erasers, cases, and notepads. Then there’s the Pencil of the Month club and custom pencil services, which the owner fulfills herself by hand with an antique hot foil press.