NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Erica Wiederlight has an unusual job.
"No one believes it," she said. "Everyone's like, 'What do you mean you sell pens?'"
She works for her father Terry and uncle Steve Wiederlight, co-owners of Fountain Pen Hospital in Tribeca.
The brothers inherited the business from their father and grandfather, who founded it in 1946 for the repair and sale of fountain pens.
These days, the business focuses primarily on retail, stocking new and vintage writing instruments. Fountain pens remain the top seller, ranging in price from $20 to $20,000. A popular option is the 1911 Sailor pen featuring platinum trim and a 21 karat gold nib.
"Used to be 14 stores in New York who sold basically the same items, but we're the only one left," Terry said.
He attributes the business's longevity to good customer service. At Fountain Pen Hospital, shoppers are guided with expertise and encouraged to try pens before they buy.
Terry assists customers of all ages.
"The kids are starting to write again," he said.
He credits the resurgence to technology fatigue and a renewed interest in personalizing messages from the heart.
An employee for over two decades, Jimmy Hutchinson compares writing with a fountain pen to "opening a new world."
First-timers might be taken by surprise.
"It's not as messy as people think it is. It is completely 100% different than what it was 100 years ago. Now, it's more modernized. You can use a cartridge, or you can use bottled ink," he said.
For Jimmy, a pen is more than a writing tool.
"It becomes a part of you," he said.
Fountain Pen Hospital
10 Warren St
New York, NY 10007
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