Now in its third generation, the Vanness family continues to serve central Arkansas. Orville Vanness could never be pinned down to a date for his original store. He began repairing razors in Snodgrass and Bracy drugstore in the early 1930's. He quickly added on fountain pen repair. He dreamed of having his own name on a sign; and sometime around 1938 he opened shop in downtown Little Rock. Orville passed his skills on to his sons. Together, Dennis and Van continued the family tradition; with added locations and retail merchandise. Today, Orville's grandson, Mike, (Dennis' son) carries on the family tradition.
The "regulars" know that old parts to pens can be found in the shop area, and often enjoy tinkering with their pens while visiting the store. You can find a picture history of the family business on Facebook. Want a personalized gift? We also engrave pens (among other items).
The people that keep Vanness going:
Dennis and Becky - After more than forty years of hard work and long days, they occasionally lend their expertise - but prefer playing cards with church friends as well as occasional card competition with Lisa and Mike.
Van - Now fully retired, he spends his time working on his car, doing yardwork, and at church. When in the store, he takes the time to educate pen customers on all aspects of favorite writing instruments and accessories. He also is well known in Little Rock as the "razor man".
Mike - Grandpa Orville says Mike was working on repairs "helping out grandpa" before he could read. Part time engraver, part time pen man, and part time janitor. Find him on Instagram as Mr._Vanness.
Lisa - Full time problem solver, and part time pen specialist and married to Mike. Handles the gift and cake dept. as well as marketing for all aspects of the store. Lisa is left handed - and doesn't smear her ink. Known on Instagram as @justvanness.
Chris - Manager/photo specialist/social media/laser engraving/pen guy - the only non-Vanness with keys, and finder of things gone missing.
Cassi - Part-time employee, with a degree in Art Education, she enjoys playing in ink and icing.
Krista- Collector of tiny pens who enjoys evenings with her hamster (find pictures on her Instagram @loucke) and is learning pen repair from Mike. She works part time in the ink department.
Alex- Known as the shortest employee but with the best handwriting skills. Alex is a full time college student and part time inky employee (she specializes in Japanese XF pens)
Barrett- His OCD comes in handy for keeping ink samples and the store in proper order.
Elizabeth- fountain pen enthusiast and college student working part time to cover her collecting habit. She will gladly help pen people add to their collection.
Dione - Adds personality to the store - enjoys inks in bright colors- and all the paper.
Cassie - Full time Vanness daughter, part time employee at Vanness. When she is not in college, she can be seen working the register and teaching computer skills to the older employees.
Andrew - Computer guru - will work for pens.
Our retail store hours are from 10-6 Tuesday thru Friday and from 10-5 on Saturdays.