There are many new and exciting shops around downtown Montclair – each one brings a fresh take to our neighborhood. But let us introduce you to a local, almost legendary boutique that is anything but new. In fact, the contents inside are favored for being of a different era altogether. Welcome to Parcel, located at 608 Bloomfield Avenue, is a quirky, artistic paper shoppe full of colorful curiosities and enough vintage ephemera to make your head spin with creative ideas. Read on to learn about this hidden Montclair gem.
Parcel: a present, a package; a collection of things. This is the idea with which Nancy Laboz, founder and owner, started her shop. She wanted a space that functioned as a local general store but focused on stationery and decorative packaging — two things she’s adored all her life. Enamored with the lost glamour of turn-of-the-century artisans, Nancy romanticized all the aspects of running these early-American small businesses.
Everything from the accounts ledgers to the pay stubs was tactile, handmade, and characteristic of a time past. Here is where an appreciation for odd bits and bobs developed into the founding of Parcel boutique.
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Collecting old papers, holding onto forgotten photographs, and squirreling away tiny collectibles was always part of Nancy’s life. She loved boxes, hiding things in little drawers, and even playing store as a young kid. But as an adult, it became something more. Nancy’s passion for color and curation was the perfect fit for her job in the magazine industry working for Real Simple as an accessories and fashion editor.
Her favorite aspect of the work, however, was putting together gift guides that included beautiful stationery and packaging. When she got pregnant and moved to Montclair, Nancy took a hard look at what was next. Should she stay in the demanding magazine industry in New York? Or were there other opportunities closer to home? It was the early aughts when her husband alerted her to a 1930s stationery and records store going out of business. From there, an idea for a quirky stationery store started to materialize. She took that initial collection, added more paper finds and vintage items, and eventually amassed enough product for a proper shop.
In 2003, Parcel welcomed its first customers on Bloomfield Avenue. Now 18 years later in a larger storefront on the same bustling street, it is still leaving a lasting impression on Montclair.
It’s hard to describe a store as magic as Parcel. It exists somewhere between a Willy Wonka-style confectionery, a Victorian tea party, and a Wes Anderson movie. It is a cabinet of curiosities, an homage to the past, and a celebration of creativity and free expression. Though the store is sizable, there is not a single space that isn’t decorated in Nancy’s loving way.
She displays tiny flowers and garlands in vintage glassware, shiny patches in porcelain trays, and paper goods in little wooden drawers. Despite most of her stock being petite items, the store is overflowing with inventory, each item is carefully displayed and celebrated for its own unique qualities.
The party decorations are just the tip of the iceberg here. From neon garlands, delicate tassel chandeliers, and paper honeycombs, a visit to Parcel can turn any old get-together into a fantastic fete.
With walls of ribbons, bundles of wrapping papers, and a zillion little embellishments, Parcel captures the imagination for design and gift-giving. Pick up some tiny decorative toadstools for your Christmas Tree, grab some faux flowers for your daughter’s Halloween costume, or even just tour the store to find inspiration.
Parcel is the ultimate gift shop for the holidays. Beautifully bagged candies are laid out, greeting cards are awaiting their inscriptions, while soaps and candles are scattered here or there. It is the perfect place to shop for the most creative people in your life.
If you need something personalized, Parcel can work with customers on custom invitations, holiday cards, and stationery.
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Because of the large number of ephemera and curiosities, Parcel is a great shop to visit when working on a creative project. Not only will you be excited to add embellishments to an outfit or find a unique set of notecards, but you can also transform a room or space with a few unique toys or vintage objects.
Parcel is a must-visit in Montclair, especially at this time of year when you might need a last-minute hostess gift or a thoughtful card for your unique sibling. “Parcel embodies the true notion of the mom and pop shop with its dedication to honoring lost arts, crafts, and trades.”