Glenn's Pens

Great Pen Stores - California - USA



Carmel, CA

The Pleasure of Writing
Ocean Avenue & San Carlos
Carmel, California 93921
Tel: (831) 626-8828





Bittner  Bittner  

Bittner Journals



In December 2016 on a trip to California I had the pleasure of meeting Detlef Bittner at his elegant pen store, Bittner, in Carmel. Carmel is a beautiful town on the coast, well worth the drive to see, and having the Bittner Store makes it all the more worth your while.

I enjoyed meeting Detlef and his partner Cindy. Detlef background was originally in steel die engraving printing. When he came to the US, at the age of 22, his original plan was to to be involved in design, and logos. His first venture created a variety of emblems and corporate logos - including the official County Seal for the County of Santa Clara - which is commonly known as the now famous Silicon Valley. While fine stationary has been part of his background, his passion for pens very nicely incorporated into what is now the Bittner store. Detlef told me that he received his first fountain pen from his father when he was fourteen years old. That helped the fuel in interest and passion in writing.

While his first store was a Gazebo in Carmel, he worked with a local architect, John Thodos, in the design of his current store located on Ocean Avenue. (There are no street numbers in Carmel. The store is located just past the corner of Ocean Avenue and San Carlos. Walking up Ocean Avenue, when you see the "Bell" in the centre boulevard, the store is a few feet further on the right. Look for the bright yellow door!

Inside I found a very elegant but comfortable store. All the fixtures and decor were designed specifically for the store. That induces the rich look decorative concrete trim which forms an elegant molding to the ceiling. Rubber molds were made of the detail work of a castle in Germany, then from the rubber molds, the concrete pieces created for the store. The beautiful wooden shelving displays are made from Curly Maple Wood and have such a rich and inviting feel.

In side the large wall showcases, the rear cement wall has bronzed signature of famous "patrons" such as Ernest Hemingway or Leonardo da Vinci to name just a few.

Bittner carries pens are a variety of price points. These include Faber-Castell, Pilot, Lamy, Pelikan, Graf Von Faber-Castell, Delta, David Oscarson, Namiki, Montegrappa, Visconti and Whal-Eversharp to mention some of the lines. The store carries the Namiki Iroshizuku and Private Reserve line of inks.

A variety of quality writing papers are available. These include the Bittner Journals in various sizes, and extensive selection of Rhodia paper products as well as other Amalfi papers.

I was able to see first hand one of the 25th Anniversary Decoband in Citrine Sunet. This beautiful pen is a bold yellow, the Bittner store colour, with 25 pieces in yellow gold trim and 25 pieces with rhodium trim. The pens are available in February 2017 and by contacting Detlef pens can be ordered and if possible particular pen numbers reserved. The fountain pens come with a superflex or semiflex nib.

Los Angeles, CA



1078 Gaylay Avenue
, Los Angeles, California 90024
Toll Free: 866.514.3529 Telephone: 310.208-3529

No longer an art supply/pen store but a pen store with some other assessories. I hear from readers on an ongoing basis with positive things to say about this store. Reviews for visitors say it is one of top pen stores in Los Angeles. (Web Site)

Oakland, CA

Flax Art and Design
1501 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Oakland, California 946612

Flax which used to be located in San Francisco has moved to a location in Oakland. I am told they continue to carry fountain pens and ink, but have a much smaller selection. (Thanks Klara)




Pasadena, CA

Vroman's Fine Writing, Gifts & stationery
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101
Tel: (626) 449-5320

They closed their former free-standing pen location and moved the business into their main store. The pens are located on the ground floor, in the back. Despite the move, I am told they have a good selection. Brands include Montblanc, Lamy, Waterman and Cross to mention some of the lines. (Thanks, C. Curtis)





San Francisco, CA

(Westfield Mall 4th floor)
845 Market St San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: (415) 227-4338

George wrote and described Maido as a "Japanophiles paradise". `So, this is not your average pen store! The store carries a selection of high-end japanese pens from the major Japanese manufacturers. The selection includes various consumer level pens in just about every conceivable style and colour. In addition, you will find fine Japanese papers. Think of what you would want and they probably have it. Maido Stationery is one of the finest Japanese stationery store outside of Japan. They have everything you could imagine and it is displayed beautifully and everything is maintained in pristine condition. The sales staff are very helpful and have the finest manners of any store in the city. This store is a joy to visit and is run by someone who really cares! This is a special place! [Thanks George]

 2010 - John wrote of his visit, the store definitly stocks higher priced fountain pens but also noted a wide range of ballpoint and rollerball pens in a full price point spectrum. [Thanks, J. Hubbard]




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