In a business full of number twos, David Rees comes out as number one.
Rees, owner of Artisanal Pencil Sharpening in Beacon, N.Y., is a professional pencil sharpener.
Born and raised in Chapel Hill, Rees started his business in 2010 after working for the U.S. Census Bureau.
He said on the first day of training at the bureau, everyone was told to sharpen all their pencils, and he found himself having fun. Rees started his business later that year.
But his past with pencils extends even further back.
While a student at Chapel Hill’s Culbreth Middle School, Rees’ parents were called in for a conference with his pre-algebra teacher. His teacher said Rees had been repeatedly using the hand-cranked sharpener at the front of room to distract the class.
“He said I was an attention-whore,” Rees said.
Today, Rees will sharpen a customer’s pencil to a professional point and safely ship it in a shatter-proof tube — shavings included — for $35.
“Each shaving seems like a magical combination of artisanal intent and randomness all at once,” said Mike Wakeford, one of Rees’ old friends and one of his first customers.