Plankenhorn continues to expand
Plankenhorn Stationary on West Fourth Street has been operating for the last 120 years by bringing in new expansions of a warehouse, furniture, e-commerce and next day delivery for locals.
The store, operated by Charles “Charlie” Plankenhorn, Chris Plankenhorn, president, and Chip Plankenhorn, secretary/treasurer, originally was at the northwest corner of Market Square on the second floor, according to Charlie. It started in 1899 and the main business was making rubber stamps and doing a little bit of printing, not nearly as much as they do now.
This store was run by Charlie Plankenhorn’s grandfather, Charles J. Plankenhorn. When the first flood hit town in 1936, his father, Charles F. Plankenhorn was in town visiting and ended up “buying” the business.
“The story goes that my grandfather and father were sitting on the steps going upstairs and the flood water was slushing on the first few steps,” Charlie Plankenhorn said. “The merchandise was floating and there were no lights. It was damp and dark. He, my grandfather, turned to my dad and asked ‘do you have a dollar?’ He replied with ‘yes.’ My grandfather said ‘give it to me’ and he did. He said (the grandfather), ‘this is yours.’ “
In 1946, a second flood hit town and caused the business to move to where it still sits, on West Fourth Street.
“They were decimating,” Charlie Plankenhorn said. “They set the business back off course. Again the merchandise was floating on the five feet of water and we had to replace the printing presses.”
Charlie Plankenhorn joined the company in 1962 and his brother Fredric joined two years later.
“We continued the business and expanded the business and built the warehouse across the street and things were going very well,” Charlie Plankenhorn said.
In 1989, Chip Plankenhorn joined the business followed by the newest employee, Chris Plankenhorn, who joined in 1991.
“It’s been pretty status quo ever since,” Chip Plankenhorn added.
The company merged with Tom Hunsberg to expand the business and open up the opportunity to sell office furniture including desks, chairs, cabinets and more.
“We are doing a lot more with his addition to the firm,” Chip Plankenhorn said.
To this day, Plankenhorn sells just about everything that anyone could need for office supplies, art supplies and even furniture for such work spaces.
“I like to think of us as a small office supply department store, it has about everything,” Charlie Plankenhorn said.
“We are a small commercial printer, we have art supplies and general office supplies,” Chip Plankenhorn added. “We generally keep the staples that people use here in the store so you can walk in and pick it up.”
“Everyone gets the white glove treatment,” Chris Plankenhorn said. “We have also taken to designing a website with 50,000 plus items, we are now global.”
He later explained that Hunsberg also delivers and installs the furniture that is bought from the store. In the greater Williamsport area, next day delivery is free according to both Chip and Chris Plankenhorn.
The business is also heavily involved in the local community as Chip Plankenhorn’s father is the longest standing uncle with the Little League World Series, they are the longest member of the chamber of commerce after joining in 1900 and volunteer on many other committees.
This year the business has been printing, selling stamps and other supplies, furniture and giving back to the community for 120 years and counting.
“We volunteer on committees for the city,” Chip Plankenhorn said. “We try to give back to the community we try to give back where we can.”