There are two bells that ring in Two Ems, Inc.
One, attached to the entrance door, chimes each time a visitor enters the store. The other, strategically placed on the checkout counter, rings whenever someone uses the phrase “perfect” when referring to a wonderful find.
It is the bell atop the counter that Owner Margaret Sprague can hear most clearly. “We even have a perfect bell,” she explained. “People say ‘perfect’ so much here that Chris had the idea...we ring the bell when someone says perfect and it rings all day long!"
Two Ems has been in Madison since 1980 and in the location at 782 Boston Post Road since 1991. They refer to themselves as “Your downtown store for printing & more…”
Printing and stationery is a store mainstay
A very large area of the storefront is devoted to printing. This is where personalized photo calendars, Christmas cards, invitations and announcements are printed. One very popular item has been printing local artists work on a card for their own use or to package up as gifts to their friends and family.
“I have loyal followers,” said Sprague. “I have people who have known Crane for 100 years, themselves, and they come in asking for Crane. So Crane, specifically, has a very loyal following of its own.” Crane stationery, at Crane.com, boasts that:
- Paul Revere engraved banknotes for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay on Crane paper to help finance the American Revolution.
- Franklin and Eleanor conducted the affairs of a nation on Crane paper.
- The Queen Mum announced the celebration of her 100th birthday on Crane paper.
Sprague, herself, boasts that “I am really the only one who has the depth of the Crane product. Nobody in 40 miles has as much depth of Crane product as I do.”
Popping in to find invitations or just to browse around, loyal customer Barbara McCullough appreciates “the quality of the merchandise, the selection, and it has a very…Madison Avenue kind of feel.”
McCullough said she always finds “something wonderful” in her visits to the store. A lover of fine stationery, she is drawn to the selection. “It’s a very boutique kind of specialized stationery,” she said.
As for the proliferation of email correspondence McCullough says, “it has a place, but when you see the beauty of the stationery, you have to write a note to a friend.”
Sprague concurs with this. She thinks there is a resurgence of written correspondence within the younger population. “People are beginning to come back to it,” she said. "The younger people are finding that it’s nice to get something in the mail that has been handwritten.”
Gifts you will not find anywhere else
Sprague prides herself on choosing high quality, unique gift items. “I try to get things that are not what you find everywhere else,” she said.
This year, greeting window shoppers, are ornaments made by New Yorker Eliot Raffit. Three Ems joins Bergdorf Goodman and three other New York boutiques in selling these unique vintage glass and glitter ornaments. They are collectors’ items, found in the collections of Donald Trump and Oprah!
The other plate glass shop window prominently displays a wide array of pens. Ballpoint, fountain, roller ball, you name it, Two Ems has it and if they don’t, well, they will get it for you.
The writing instruments are a popular draw to the store. Customer Service Representative Carol H. Baldwin, herself a lover of pens, can find just the right pen for your specific needs. “She will take people to the right pen for that person!” said Sprague.
“We have beautiful pens in every price range and in many, many styles,” said Baldwin. As a gift, Baldwin says, “it has an immediate use and its great quality with a life time guarantee.”
The newest addition, the three-function pen, which is “two pens and a pencil in it, plus your stylus (to use on your electronic device).”
A relatively new line, which Sprague is finding hard to keep in stock, are Lily Pulitzer designer items including lunch totes, IPad covers, post it notes, notes pads, pencils and pencil cases. “Everybody loves the pencil bag,” said Sprague. “We’ve refilled that (order) I don’t know how many times!”
“You have a joy in running this shop, I can tell,” remarked McCullough, as Sprague strolled through the store pointing out and explaining about all the interesting, fun, utilitarian items displayed throughout. “Yes, I do,” replied Sprague. “I do.”
Two Ems, Inc.
782 Boston Post Road
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.