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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Dar Saeed: Stationery Goods in Downtown Cairo
Maybe it’s those creative juices or the sweet reminder of childhood; but there’s something about stationary shops that makes us weak in the knees. What makes it even better is when we run across a family-owned shop that provides that comfortable, homely feel that other establishments lack.
Located amidst the bustle of other art supply and stationery shops on Downtown Cairo’s Sherif Street next to Alwan and Samir & Ali, Dar Saeed is a family-owned stationery shop that’s been open for years. It’s easy to miss the shop’s humble entrance; so look for the Dar Saeed signage up top in rustic gold lettering.
Upon entering, you’re automatically greeted by the shop attendants and their friendly, yet no-frills attitude. Know what you want and they’ll be quick to find it for you. The shop’s interior space is small and a little cramped, so if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for; don’t hesitate to ask. The staff knows their stuff and will be quick to either find it for you or recommend another shop that will have the item on hand.
Dar Saeed doesn’t have a lot of painting materials on site but they do have some items that other shops in the Downtown area don’t carry. An elevated drawing board, which can be placed on a table or another surface, was priced at approximately 120LE. Coloured pencil lead in green along with other colours is a treasured find that Dar Saeed carries on a daily basis.
Single pencils, both coloured and regular, can be found on the cabinet near the shop’s entrance. Pencils in B, 2B, and 2 sell for 1LE each. Single coloured pencils cost 3LE apiece while a set of 24 Steidler coloured pencils costs 100LE.
Also on offer are single sheets of stationary paper as well as poster boards, pencil sacks, and various varnishes.
Dar Saeed is a great place to hit up when you’re in the Downtown area and looking for stationery items. Whether you’re searching for something personal or in the mood to make a little something for someone else, Dar Saeed will most likely have what you’re looking for.
Stationary shops are in no short supply in Egypt. The average type of stationary can be found on almost every other street corner. But once we start talking about quality, a wide selection and, sometimes, obscure little knick knacks, suddenly, there’s far fewer choices of stationeries to go to.
Possibly the most famous of all the stationary shops is Samir & Aly. Situated on Sherif St. in Downtown Cairo, this particular branch has two large spacious floors plus two separate quarters located at either side of Alwan.
With a much bigger selection than any other stationary shop, Samir & Aly look to meet all the needs from school and office supplies to an extensive art section with different types of paint, canvases, sketchbooks, paper, and even a selection of easel’s to choose from.
Sketchbooks are available in a range of sizes—A4, A3 and A5. The qualyty of the paper feels very rich. There is a whole wall dedicated to drawing pastels with one small box of 12 costing 53,55LE. A set of 18 Gouache paints costs 46LE plus the bottle of fixative to brush over your finished painting costs 14.95LE. Should you run out of one particular colour, Samir & Aly offer single 200ml tubes of acrylic paint at 23,90LE. Other sizes are available as well.
In the window there is a nice range of stylish stationary gifts including beautiful wooden pen holders for your desk; paper holders and organisers made from the same mahogany wood and even a large selection of lamps. One of the cheaper ones costs 50,89LE, whereas a more stylish and mobile lamp costs 159LE.
The prices here at Samir & Aly are a little steep, but that is reflected in the qualyty of the brands that they carry, including Faber Castell, Uni Ball, Parker Fabriano and Office.
The first branch of Samir & Aly was opened in 1969 by Samir El Maayergy and Aly Shatla, it quickly grew to four branches by the early 1980’s and thanks to their savvy business minds has became a staple of stationary shopping in Cairo.