Fancy ink pens. Formal stationery. China, silver and crystal for locking away until company is coming.
As life grows more digital and casual, demand for such niceties diminishes at the heart-of-Santa Rosa store in which Keven Brown has spent most of his life.
So Brown, manager and co-owner of 97-year-old Corrick's, is opening up the Fourth Street retail landmark in Santa Rosa to more culturally durable goods: Art, wine and music.
"Downtown is a very social place," said the deep-rooted Santa Rosa native.
He's working to revive Corrick's role in that place by tightening up sales displays and inventory and freeing up space for Ancient Oak Cellars to open downtown's first east-of-101 wine tasting room.
Only weeks ago, Brown also leased a chunk of former Corrick's floor space to artist Sally Baker and her long-standing frame shop, My Daughter the Framer. And before that, Brown converted one of the store's spacious alcoves into an ARTrails gallery that features the works of members of the Sonoma County Arts Council.
He and his new partners in the evolving Corrick's envision an arts, wine and stationery/gifts emporium, a multi-faceted attraction that will give people more reasons to meet and linger downtown.
"We're trying to be more of a cultural hub," he said.
Brown isn't a staplers and glassware salesmen coming late to an interest in culture and arts. He inherited the management of his family's store from his father, Corrick Brown, 82, the concert pianist who led and conducted the Santa Rosa Symphony for nearly 40 years before he passed the baton Jeffrey Kahane in 1995.
As a boy, Keven Brown had little choice but to learn the piano, training for a time in Paris. Like his dad, his mother, Norma, also is a lifelong pianist.
Brown said that he still plays, but he prefers to sing, doing so regularly with the a cappella ensemble Cantiamo Sonoma.
"I play enough that my daughter (Mikayla, 11) sees that I'm playing," he said. Mikayla sings, too, as well as studying piano with her grandmother, Norma.
Music has been important to the lives of all the family members who preceded Keven Brown in running the store. His late great-grandfather, A.R. "Rae" Corrick, who bought into an existing Fourth Street books, stationery and appliance store in 1915, played in Santa Rosa's Drum and Bugle Corps.
Brown's late grandfather, Kenneth, was a tenor soloist in the early days of the Santa Rosa Symphony. Beyond singing often and playing piano now and then, Brown serves on the symphony's board of directors.
He brings live music into Corrick's -- a pianist, or a string quartet -- on special occasions. Both he and the proprietors of Ancient Oak Cellars, Melissa and Ken Moholt-Siebert, intend for there to be more music in the store after the tasting room opens in about a month.
"Corrick's is already a comfortable place," Melissa Moholt-Siebert said.
Her vision is for it to be more so when there's a spot next to the in-store frame shop for tasting local wines.
Brown and the Moholt-Sieberts are the first to take advantage of city zoning changes that simplify the regulations and procedures for opening a tasting room, winery or brewery in Santa Rosa.
"We may be the first . . . but we certainly won't be the last," said Brown.
Read all of the PD's fire coverage here