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:
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, part time pen specialist, sometimes social media guru and married to Mike. "Boss lady" Handles marketing and buying for all aspects of the store. Lisa is left handed - and doesn't smear her ink. Known on Instagram as @justvanness.
Davina - Graphic artist, video editor, & engrave, learning the ins & outs of fountain pens.
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.
Amy - resident brush lettering and calligraphy expert. She's the talent behind our ink swatches. She occasionally teaches classes around the Central Arkansas area. You can see Amy & Lisa talk about the 2018 Arkansas Pen Show here.
Barrett - His OCD comes in handy for keeping ink samples and the store in proper order.
Garrison - Sales, engraving, & learning all the things. A fellow leftie, he smears his ink on occasion.
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 at graduate school, she can be seen working the register and teaching computer skills to the older employees.
Truffle - The official Vanness mascot. Loves scratches, foam peanuts, and playing tug with blue rags.
Our retail store hours are from 10-6 Tuesday thru Friday and from 10-5 on Saturdays.