One Unique Store One Hundred Options
By Christina Nalepa
In 2002, Black Ink opened in Harvard Square as a quirky, unique, everyday-use store. Now with two locations in the Boston area, one in Harvard Square and a second in Beacon Hill, the store’s popularity is growing among college students and young adults looking for fun and useful items for their apartment or dorm. The store is priced reasonably; mugs range around 18 dollars and books and games range from 10 to 20 dollars. Every shopper will find items within his or her budget.
The store exudes a childlike vibe. There are ladders along high bookshelves outlining the walls of the store mimicking an old-fashioned library, a characteristic of the store that gives Black Ink a unique environment to shop in. The shelves are filled with games including Banana Grams and Etch-A-Sketch and also include joke books as well as goofy books with game ideas to play at parties.
Colored stationery and homemade cards are also a popular item sold at Black Ink. Honnah Rosedimond, an employee at Black Ink, says, “I love the greeting cards. They’re definitely my favorite item in our store, as well as being popular among our customers; it is our store’s most popular item.” The store welcomes customers. The cards are arranged in tin bins throughout the store, to make it easy and fun to flip through and view designs without having to remove the cards. They are designed in a vintage, handmade style and depict many popular Boston destinations.
Black Ink provides for customers who enjoy arts and crafts as well. The store offers scrap booking essentials like stamps, ink, pens, and markers. An interesting aspect of the store is that its items can become a quick, unique weekend arts and crafts project. Customers often devise clever ideas to make use of the items within the store, for example, buying different design sheets of wrapping paper and framing them to hang on the walls of their apartments, homes, and dormitories. Each sheet of paper costs $ 3.50, a cheap way to own art. It is an unconventional and creative idea that can give a wall a pop of color or a vintage look, or bring cohesion to a room.
Another unique feature of the store is the online museum of everyday useful items. The website is called the Museum of Useful Things, The Beauty of Function, abbreviated as MUT, and can be found at Museumofusefulthings.com. The virtual museum displays useful items that are old and new as well as some original designs by Black Ink. The store created the specific items shown to best serve the customer’s needs for everyday functionality. The blog displays unconventional items such as bags designed to store clothespins and paperclips, homemade laundry baskets, and even pencil holders.
Black Ink is an atypical store that is worth a visit for people touring the Boston area and for locals looking for a place to furnish their homes or peruse what Black Ink has to offer. People from past generations will feel a level of nostalgia and younger generations will enjoy the unique retro style. The store provides everyday necessities to Boston in a fun, welcoming environment. Black Ink gives its customers plenty of options to take home.