Stationery Station Owner Reflects on 35 Years
Sheryl Oberman still loves stationery and still kills herself for her customers.
Sheryl Oberman still has the same passion for crafting invitations she became known for when she started out 35 years ago.
"I love stationery," Oberman said. "I still love stationery."
The owner of Highland Park's Stationery Station, Oberman recently celebrated her store's 35th anniversary -- an impressive feat in light of an economy that continues to falter and area stores that continue to shutter.
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For Oberman, the store's success can be traced back to her above and beyond dedication to her customers. She keeps the store open late for people to accommodate them and will work on off-days.
"I kill myself for my customer," Oberman said, "Because I love what I do."
Such claims might not carry the same weight were they not accompanied by Oberman's energy. The small, 65-year-old bounces around her store, pointing to invitations she's especially proud of -- like one featuring a Corvette with information about the party included as a pull-out in the car door, or another with elegant letter pressings. Her store offers an eclectic selection of invitations, stationery, gifts and gift wrapping, party goods and ribbons.
"The whole idea is if you love what you do, I think it comes through," she said. "The more I've been in it the more I've knocked myself out."
On the job training
Stationery Station opened in March of 1977, when Oberman bought Fleur Creations from its former owner and renamed it. This was four months after Oberman had given birth to her daughter. She had never worked in stationery before, but was drawn to it watching her mother decorate napkin rings while growing up.
"The day we started my husband asked me, 'How are you going to know what to do?'" Oberman said. "'You're putting a shingle up on the door, you damn well better know what you're doing.'"
The owner of the Fleur Creations mentored Oberman and her former partner. The two would alternate days at the store and would bring their babies to work.
Innovative and open
One of Oberman's longtime customers, Highland Park resident Meryl Levenstein, called Oberman innovative and open to new ideas.
"A lot of the younger people are ordering all their invitations online," Levenstein said. "For her to be able to stay in business and compete with that I think says a lot."
Part of Oberman's ability to compete against online invitations comes from her embrace of the online market. Stationery Station has a website, and Oberman recently shot a video for a blog about how to gift wrap. Her store's staff has grown over the years from just her and one other person to 7 adults and four teenagers.
"As we've grown, our name has grown," Oberman said.
Levenstein recently went to Oberman for her invitations for an engagement party. She praised Oberman's willingness to work with her customers as well as her eagerness to fix whatever isn't to the customers' liking.
"If there's every any problem or situation she's very quick to want to make it better," Levenstein said.
The customers keep Stationery Station on its toes, according to Oberman. She makes sure the store carries a variety of upscale invitations.
"My customer helps me raise the bar," Oberman said. "I want to make sure we give people what the next guy didn't have."