The History of the Paper Pedlar

The Paper Pedlar has its' roots in the local community. In 1950 Jane and Fred Wagstaff started a wholesale gift wrap business out of the basement in their home on South Terrace. They would buy gift wrap in bulk and Jane, with the help of her best friend and neighbor Marylou, would repackage the wrap into resale rolls. Fred, in turn, would sell the wrap to local schools and churches for their fund raising events. In the 1950's, Fred was actually considered a pioneer, selling gift wrap for fund raising.

By 1952 the wholesale business, now known as Mary Jane Gift Wrappings, had outgrown the basement. In June they moved the business to Industrial Place in Summit. As the years passed, they added to their line. They now carried bows and ribbon, as well, to satisfy the customers' needs.

In 1957 they needed still more space. They discovered an old house that had been expanded into a fertilizer factory. They fell in love with the convenient Morris Turnpike location and decided that it was time to own their own property. The 3 buildings were far too big for their needs, so they rented the front building with its original fireplace to a beauty parlor, Mary Jane Gift Wrappings used the center space and the back section was rented to the Barworth Corporation, who manufactured valves. The Barworth Corporation now owns the building right next door.

In 1960, troubled by the growing inventory of unsold fundraising wrap, Jane and Fred decided to open a "Factory Outlet" to sell the surplus wrap. This was the beginning of the Paper Pedlar. The Outlet store was a huge success and was to form the nucleus of the Paper Pedlar.

In 1972, the Factory outlet became The Pedlar Pedlar. Over the next 15 years the Paper Pedlar continued to expand, eventually utilizing all of the space in the three buildings and carrying over 10,000 different items. Today, the store continues to evolve, adding new products and services not found elsewhere.

As you walk through the store today, even now you can see some of its history. The front room still sports two walls of mirrors, left over from the Beauty Parlor days. There is a quirky little cupola on the roof, that was used in mixing the fertilizer and there is the warm and inviting fireplace, sitting near the front door, reminiscent of the old house. Sometimes, if you are very quiet, you can imagine hearing Fred's footsteps as he walks around the store, wearing his lobster pants, telling his wonderful stories and greeting everyone he meets.