The slogan for Dromgoole’s Fine Writing Instruments—“A family owned business that’s been putting ink on paper since 1961!”—has been appropriate since the business’s beginning, when it was an office equipment dealer.
The now-fourth-generation business was founded by father and son Louis and Gene Dromgoole. It became one of the largest typewriter and calculator dealers in Texas before evolving into the pen- and paper-focused shop today in Rice Village.
Gene’s son, Larry Dromgoole, purchased the Rice Village location from his father in 1987, He now co-owns the store with his wife, Christine.
The venture into the pen business kicked off in 1991 because of customer requests for pens made by Montblanc, a German luxury brand.
The couple decided to become an authorized Montblanc pen seller, which required a $10,000 investment.
“It was so scary,” Christine said. “It was a lot of money for us, but that’s where it all started.”
Dromgoole’s now carries nearly every major pen brand and type, as well as accessories, including ink bottles, nibs and converters.
“We’re not just about pens, though,” Christine said. “We’re about writing.”
In the last five years, the store has seen a surge in interest among entry-level pen users, Christine said. She attributes that to a new interest in pen-to-paper interaction.
“There’s just not a whole lot of creative outlets from mind to hand,” she said. “It’s that physical interaction that you just don’t get with a computer or tablet.”
Dromgoole’s prides itself on letting its customers play with products at the store’s Ink Bar.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Dromgoole’s has continued to thrive, which Christine said is due to the business’s history as well as to its embrace online sales.
“Now, has the website saved our bacon? One hundred percent,” Christine said.
Rice Village family business Dromgoole's offers pen-to-paper products since 1961
Dromgoole's has an Ink Bar that allows customers to test out any of the store's pens. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)