New Beginnings: Webster's Endures, Finds New Locale in Altadena

Scott and Lori Webster to hold one last hurrah with a closing party, Jan. 24.

Photo courtest of Google Maps.
Photo courtest of Google Maps.
The Webster name has moved with the ebb and flow of an economic river for many years, but this is one bend Webster's could not navigate.

The shopping complex that Webster's Fine Stationers has called home for six years, and which has been in the family for 87 years, was sold in November. Store owners Lori and Scott Webster found the daunting news at October's end.

To celebrate their new beginnings the Websters will hold a closing party on Friday, Jan. 24, at 4 p.m., to celebrate the old and usher in the new.

The duo announced last week via Facebook that they have found a new home for Webster's Fine Stationers, a storefront at 2591 North Fair Oaks Avenue.

"I'm very happy with it. It's a lot smaller than our current location, but we needed to downsize anyway," Lori said.

Webster's FIne Stationers prides itself in offering the works of Altadena artists and authors, personalized stationery, gifts, wood art and vintage signs.

When Lori and Scott learned of the sale, it wasn't until Thanksgiving approached that the principles involved in the sale actually talked to them, Lori said.

Lori and Scott felt betrayed by not having been let in on the news far sooner.

In the face of adversity and family drama, however, Lori and Scott desire to continue celebrating the artists, creators and writers of Altadena. The search for a new locale began right after Christmas. Finding a new store was difficult and almost fruitless.

"There was a couple of weeks there where we said 'well, we'll just have to find something else to do,'" Lori said.

Webster's Fine Stationers has managed to endure for the nearly seven years it has existed, but with great sacrifice.

Lori and Scott were forced to sell her family home in Westchester. The duo have poured every cent they had into the business and, a few years ago, faced bankruptcy.

"What happened six-and-a-half years ago when we purchased this store from my father in-law's corporation, we were never allowed to market to their customers. They never gave us the customer base," Lori said. "When you buy an existing business, that's what you're paying for. I've never been able to contact any Webster's customers."

But Webster's has been able to endure, even as technology has shaped the collective mindset of people.

"Our biggest seller in the past has been monthly calendars. I can't sell those anymore because everybody uses their smartphones. The technology changed and it was affecting the stationery market. We couldn't sell what the store traditionally sold. So we decided to focus on locally-made products and local artists and I think that's what endeared us to a large portion of Altadena," Lori said.

It has been a miracle that she and Scott have lasted as long as they have at Webster's Fine Stationers and Altadena reflects their desire and passion for creative people, Lori said.

"There are so many creatives up here and I feel a resonance with them. I think that we have so many here, but you never hear about them. We need a place here that celebrates our creativity and I'm happy to be that place," Lori said.

The new location, which has yet to be named, will be open for mail customers only starting February 1.
Jane January 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM
i'd be so happy to see Webster's become a small, but more comprehensive, local office supply store. i love to buy printer paper, ink cartridges, tape, etc, from them, but the last time i stopped in the selection of office supplies was very minimal.
rubberband January 23, 2014 at 04:35 PM
Great news...Glad to hear they found a new place......Fun and friendly people, great local artist stuff.....Glad they can stay in business...see you guys soon!
Lori A. Webster January 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM
Thanks, Rubberband! Jane, I hear what you're saying, and thank you for your post. The wholesale prices for us, as independent retailers with only one store, are not low enough for us to successfully sell office supplies any longer - we just can't make a living. We will be concentrating on locally authored books; local food products and gifts; and everything to do with writing. Scott is designing a pen bar as we speak. By the way, there's a huge sale of what office supplies we have remaining, so plan to stop by before Saturday!
Linda R January 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM
They lived in Westchester? I thought they were local Altadena folk. Something is not right here the way it all went down......family business=family drama and more.
rubberband January 29, 2014 at 07:50 PM
@Linda R- I can't see how that matters now. Their shop had to close. They've had to move. They have recovered enough to open a new shop soon. They support and sale local artist/craftspeople's work. They are jovial, pleasant and friendly every time I have been in their shop. They are continuing the plan to support local people and grow business. What's the problem?
Lori A. Webster January 30, 2014 at 02:20 PM
Hi, Linda R.! We are Altadenans, through and through. Scott Webster was born and raised on Delores St., and has lived here all his life. I am a transplant - raised in Westchester, but moved to Pasadena when the company I worked for in Santa Monica sold in 1984. Moved to Villa Grove Drive in 1986, and raised my daughter there. She attended Noyes Elementary, St. Elizabeth School, and Pasadena High School. When my parents passed away, Scott and I bought my sister out and moved into my family home on the bluffs. This was way before my father-in-law thought of separating the stores here at Websters, and we lived there happily for 15 years. We sold during the summer of '13, and returned to Altadena, where we are living now. We intended to invest more in our store, while saving tons on gas money (we commuted 80 miles a day, every day, for six years) but instead received a notice to quit from the new owners. Rather than rehash all the family drama here, I invite you to talk to me directly. Feel free to email me at lorinscott_1@msn.com if you have any concerns, or come see me at the store.


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