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Little stores, big ideas

National Book Store takes the lead in setting up curated specialty shops all over Metro Manila


By Kaye Estoista-Koo

Someone once said “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.”

Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are some of our Asian neighbors that have apparently taken this to heart with their fair share of specialty craft stores offering the real estate to get creative juices flowing and unleashing one’s artistic side.

With the rise of more and more people doing DIY or setting up home offices in the Philippines, National Book Store has taken the lead in offering curated specialty shops that offer distinct selections in a boutique format. Here are the six things we love in the three new specialty shops launched by National Book Store, the biggest bookstore and supplies chain in the country.

Art for everyone get your creative juices flowing with these arts and craft supplies from National Book Store

Art for everyone get your creative juices flowing with these arts and craft supplies from National Book Store

1. In-store workshops and product trials give an instant creativity boost (Art Bar)

You don’t just buy the product. You are taught how to use it, wield it, and craft it so that when you bring it home, you maximize its intended use. From calligraphy to paint sessions, the two-story Art Bar has enough space for these in-store workshops. It also has products from Sizzix, a premium name in die-cutting machines, tools, and accessories and embossing equipment.

2. Exclusive global brands now in your hands, within reach (Art Bar)

The shelves in Art Bar are artfully arranged so that you find what you need—pens or brushes, paints or canvases—per category. Amateur and professional artists will find something for their price point and their skill level, with brands like Caran d’Ache, Sennelier, Pan Pastel, Touch, Fredrix, Winsor & Newton, Sakura, Pebeo, Zig, and Liquitex to choose from. Located in Serendra, Art Bar will soon become that cult destination for all things artiste, in which to lounge, sit around, and try out the items.

3. Food in an office supplies store (Work Station)

Many things can be said about Work Station, but one of its most brilliant ideas is stocking a long shelf full of items you need for your corporate office pantry or home office. From sweet treats to savory snacks, Work Station addresses even this kind of need. Food in an office is vital for those long nights.

4. End-to-end solutions for your office in one location (Work Station)

From affordably priced chairs and desks to filing cabinets, business machines, clips, pens, and everything you need, Work Station has it. The smaller items are sold in bulk so that you can really stock up. It has a wide range of options for a start-up company located in a brick-or-mortar office building or a home office inside your house all the options. Located in a commercial area of BGC, the Bonifacio Stopover, Work Station is setting the bar for how a specialty office supplies store should look like.

5. Customization for everything (Noteworthy)

In this well-designed, well-lit space, the smallest in size of the specialty shops under National Book Store, craft-loving aficionados and thoughtful friends looking for the perfect gift will go wild. Notebooks can be customized to the size, thickness, font, color, ring bind, emboss, etc. of your heart’s desire. This is a service offered by the store and while you may start out with a gift or two for a friend, you soon find yourself getting one for yourself. The Paper Bar is a stationery lover’s dream come true. Noteworthy’s paper is 100 GSM, a grade so high that fountain pens or calligraphy pens can be used without bleeding on to the next page. Pens can be monogrammed with initials and names, too, along with stamps and other items. Noteworthy is that section in the bookstore that you wish you could hang out in, made into its very own stand-alone concept store.

6. Gifting is made easy (Noteworthy)

Labeled “gifts,” where you can find premium notebooks and journals, the sections in Noteworthy are easy to navigate. It helps that the items are arranged by color, too! Collector pens, calligraphy brushes, and pens take up prime space, alongside premium brands like Itoya, Sheaffer, Filofax, Kate Spade, and Lapoche. As the first branch opened at Greenbelt 5, Noteworthy is sure to make it on the map for unique and personalized items.

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