Friday, December 17, 2010

Egypt Essentials: The Stationery Shop

There are some things here in Egypt that I could live without... and others that I rely on time and time again. The typical stationery shop in Egypt is the latter. I honestly don't know what I'd do without them.

You KNOW how I love Walmart, but since there's not one here I have to make do with what's available.

And that's where the stationery shop comes in...

I mean it's not like I go running to one just about every day or even every week. But there are times - like today - that I need something random like Christmas wrapping paper and I know just where to get it.

You might be surprised at what these places carry. Here's a small list:
*Notebooks of all sizes
*Notepads of all kinds and sizes
*Pens (ballpoint and gel)
*Pencils (the graphite and mechanical kinds)
*Colored pencils
*Markers of all types
*Envelopes of all sizes (white, brown, A4, A5, etc.)
*Staples & staplers
*Rubber bands, paperclips, scissors, etc.
*Greeting cards
*Wrapping paper
*Gift bags
*Day planners
*Picture frames
*Books (used & new)
*Arabic-English dictionaries

Trust me, I used to be an office manager for an Egyptian company here, so I KNOW that these places carry what you need. If you can't find it in one place, ask them and they might be able to order it for you or maybe direct you to another place that might carry it.
Unless you're me - who still brings packs of my favorite blue Pilot G2 0.7mm fine point gel rolling ball pens from the States and hoards them for years, only opening a new pack of 3 when ABSOLUTELY necessary!
But that's just me.

I do have a favorite stationery shop in Egypt. My particular favorite has been Everyman's in Korba, Heliopolis for years. And let me just say that this place rocks!

Everyman's has the best selection of wrapping paper, gift bags, and greeting cards year-round here on the main floor along with other great items like picture frames. Upstairs is a haven of basic office supply items including some of my favorites like good-quality notebooks (which can be hard to find here), blue gel 0.7mm pens, and those A5 brown envelopes with bubble paper inside (great for sending things back to KY), along with new & used books (a pretty good selection of books about Egypt if I'm in a pinch and have no time to run to Diwan).

Today I went looking for Christmas wrapping paper and I was pleased that - as usual - they had a great selection of paper available. There were also these great Christmas tins that I can imagine would make great gifts (fill them with Patchi chocolates or homemade fudge). I even found gift tags, something I don't usually find in Egypt.

I didn't make it downstairs today, but I know that they usually have a great selection of knick-knacks like candles and figurines and such. This time of year, they are sure to have Christmas decorations like lights and garland among other things available.

In case you don't live in Heliopolis, I can recommend a few other places:
Samir & Aly (branches all across Cairo)
Bakier Stationery (Maadi, new branch now in Korba-Heliopolis)
Volume 1 (Maadi)
Attic Stationery

I have to say, though, that you'd be surprised at how much those little shops can carry - even that small one you have around the corner in Cairo. Plus they are a great place to make cheap copies (they'll even bind copies together into a book for a small fee).

Seriously, you can't really live in Egypt for very long without walking into one. They might seem a bit cheesy on the outside, but I promise there's much more than meets the eye inside.

What about you? Any recommendations for a great stationery shop near you (if you live in Cairo)?


  1. OK this is freaky, you love Febreze and you love stationary shops? I think I've found my long lost twin!

    Seriously though, I wish there were more good stationary shops here like the ones I used to spend hours at in London. I like Samir and Ali but it's not the same. Sometimes I dream of opening an all-London stationary shop but I think I'd be the one buying everything for myself!

  2. That's funny! Maybe... hmmm...

    True very true. You know I don't really go in the big shops in the States like Office Depot (HUGE office supplies store) because they're just soo big. And we basically can get anything we need from Walmart or Target... (don't get me started on how great Target is now!)

  3. I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have honest entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more great material coming!
    Business Pens

  4. Thanks Nick. Please keep reading! =)


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