What inspires you? Is it enjoying fine art? Eating exquisitely prepared food? Hiking in the woods? Watching professional athletes? Reading poetry? Flipping through your desk calendar filled with 365 inspirational quotes?
What about…purchasing office supplies?
If your immediate response is “no,” you might want to think again.
Currently, there is a 208 square foot pop-up store located in the Sugardaddy bakery at the corner of Gay St. and High St. It’s called Robert Mason. It carries stationery and other office accessories. And its owner, Robert (Mason) Grimmett, has made inspiration the very centerpiece of his store.
Take, for instance, the story behind the store. Grimmett, now 33, has been embodying the entrepreneurial spirit since he was 12 years old, selling office supplies out of his parents’ basement in West Virginia. On a journey that’s taken him from those humble (yet incredible) beginnings to opening up his own store as a teenager to attending art school in Chicago to working for some of the biggest names in retail (including Abercrobmie & Fitch and Bath and Body Works), Grimmett has the sort of experience and entrepreneurial vision that you’d be hard pressed to find in ten people put together.
But Grimmett has more than an inspiring story. He also has created an inspiring space, and an inspiring business plan to boot.
Though Grimmett currently has plans to open up a larger retail store in the Discovery District near the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014, this doesn’t mean that he’s squandered any attention to detail in his admittedly tiny pop-up store. The music that plays through the store is carefully selected by the company’s proprietary deejay. The space has a vintage sensibility, with a design that is intimate, elegant, and, well, cool. The Robert Mason Company even has its own signature scent (called Vintage #1).
It’s almost to the point where one hesitates to call Grimmett a simple office supply retailer. It seems more appropriate to call him a curator in his tiny museum of pens, stationery, messenger bags, and more.
Don’t write this all off as a bunch of hipster whimsy either. Grimmett is remarkably savvy, and his store isn’t rooted in gimmicks: it is rooted in his deep understanding and appreciation for the power of brand, business, and the store experience. In other words, it’s just the stuff that excites all of us at Bold Hive.
At the very least, Grimmett has created a store that will make purchasing office supplies less of a chore and more of an experience rooted in enjoyment and inspiration. And to anyone who’s ever bought a paperclip or notebook before: who wouldn’t want that?