shop for school at De Magistris Bellotti

Founded in 1906, it was an important part of the mosaic in the history of this city, but on February 4, 2012, when it unfortunately lowered the shutters

There was stationery store most stocked in the city. The shop where you can buy every year in September before the schools reopen, weight books, drawing paper, rulers, huge packs of pencils and markers, precision compasses, perfumed pens, erasers, diaries, covers for the books.

It was not just about “shopping”, but a real ritual that smelled of paper and ink, the leather in the cases, wax from the pastels, the white and doughy glue that children always ended up wanting to taste.

The judge Giovanni Falconethere was a passionate collector of fountain pens, often went to buy some in the historic stationery store in via Gagini, in the heart of Palermo, a stone’s throw from the church of San Domenico, where his remains now rest.

There Bellotti stationery (successor of the brothers) The Magistris are still very much present in the nostalgic memory of the Palermitans: for decades it was a kind of institution. An important part of the mosaic of the history of this city. Unfortunately, on February 4, 2012, it lowered its shutters.

In the golden days, in the periods of high turnover, before the advent of digital technology that wiped out the use of paper, the company employed 120 employees, there were four points of sale and one style: c ‘were the offices on Via Gagini (the oldest ), the off via Terrasanta, the off via Leanti and finally the off Strasbourg avenue.

Students, mothers, fathers, or entire families struggling with the purchase of school supplies waving the long list of what was needed filled the letterheads. Customers waited patiently for their turn while employees in the crowded store went out of their way to accommodate the wishes of adults and children.

Several generations of Palermitans, students (from primary school to university) but also many professionals have been provided with stationery. All sorts of “forms” were printed in the printing house for all large companies.

“It was great to work for 32 at De Magistris. Of course, the grief of losing your job is great, but I want to remember all the positive things. I was 19 when I started working for De Magistris “, writes a former employee of a well-known social network, Giuseppe Romano.

“I used to work in a commercial studio. Thanks to my uncle Francesco Romano, I also joined this prestigious company. I introduced myself in 1979. Working for De Magistris in the 1980s was comparable to a job in a bank, given the salaries I received.

Those were years when there was no shortage of work, yes, we were always busy. I remember we took the inventory on January 1st, so when I came back from the New Year party early in the morning, I went to the store to work. But the next day, as soon as you crossed the threshold to the store, they gave us an envelope outside the work done the day before), which made you immediately forget the fatigue. Memorable times ».

“I started making domiciles, with a scooter that had the rot on the pedal, I ran all day around town. I was in via Leanti, I remember that besides me, who was the bellboy, there were seven other employees.

After a few years, they moved me to via Gagini, I went to the warehouse. After moving on to the wholesale reception, I was last in charge of the Via Leanti branch.

I remember that wagons arrived with goods, wagons in the true sense of the word: we supplied the whole of Palermo, schools, offices, hospitals … in short, because of our professionalism we were number one ».

The paper shop in Palermo had opened its doors via Gaginiin 1906, thanks to the Lombard Vincenzo Bellotti, who worked for the brothers De Magistris and C ..

The company De Magistris was founded in 1859 with Achille De Magistrispolitical activist who used the press to verbally attack the Austrians and for this reason was forced to seek refuge in the canton of Ticino.

Achille had then left his Swiss exile to move to Milan, where he had opened the first of a series of newspaper shops.

In the following years, the theme of the activity had changed, concentrating on the sale of stationery, which was practiced in a small counter near the Palazzo dei Giureconsulti. The business had begun to thrive.

Achilles had meanwhile had seven children. Paolo, the most inclined to business, had opened the first Fratelli De Magistris and C. stationery store in Genoa in 1884 and then shops and warehouses for packaging paper and more in Genoa, Turin, Rome, Palermo, Paris, Marseille. Giovanni De Magistris, Paolo’s brother, had founded the company De Magistris in Milan in 1890, which sold paper, stationery, registers, fountain pens.

Bellotti had taken over from the De Magistris brothers in Palermo and added his name to the historic brand, both in the letterhead and in the style. Thus began an entrepreneurial adventure that culminated between the late 60s and early 70s, thanks to the sons of founder Vincenzo, who died in 1954.

They had made new improvements to the company Eugenio Bellotti and his sister Sandra, who in 1977 had called another branch of the family to join the company, Vincenzo and his children.

Unfortunately, all 4 stores of the historic brand closed permanently ten years ago.

At the headquarters in via Gagini, a youth entrepreneurial project carried out by Radici has been working for some time – a small nature museum that partly wants to preserve this place in memory of the city by reusing its furniture (beautiful furniture and counters and shelves of the historic Ducrot- brand) and convert its use so that they continue to preserve memories even if they tell other stories.

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