Centrally located; carefully stocked.
When we opened South City Art Supply three years ago, we made it our mission to cater to St. Louis City's artists, writers, and designers. We stocked the shelves with notebooks, pens, pencils, paints, brushes, and canvas, but we didn't expect to earn your business just by selling the same stuff as everyone else. We took care to purchase the best-made items at each price point, doing extensive product testing to make sure we were right. We chose supplies from great manufacturers, not fly-by-night operations that make a cheaper product at the expense of their employees and customers. We imported world-class notebooks, pencils, and stationery you can't find anywhere else in town. We brought in a wide array of books—and not just coloring books and art instruction, but the kind of literary, philosophical, and mythological texts that have always inspired artists to make their best work.
Some people told us that this approach wouldn't work, that people don't care how well products are sourced and selected as long as they're cheap. Our first three years have proven that cynicism wrong. We've met thousands of St. Louis artists, activists, and intellectuals who purchase their creative tools thoughtfully, taking into account form, function, and sustainability. Though the occasional customer has poked fun at our highbrow book selection ("you'd need a Ph.D. to shop here!") we've seen many more leave happy with a newly-discovered collection of poems, a graphic novel, or a glossy exhibition catalogue. And we've played host to enough friendly debates to know that plenty of people without advanced degrees are interested in the life of the mind.
The way we see it, there are plenty of places in the area to get the latest best-seller or a pack of cheap colored pencils. But there aren't enough places for creative, engaged St. Louisans to find something unexpected and inspiring. We set out to carry things you'd otherwise have to order online or buy on a weekend trip to Chicago. And thanks to your support for this unconventional mission, we're about to get bigger and better.
Our new shop on Olive Street in the Central West End is inspired by three years of listening to our amazing customers. We're keeping everything you loved in South City: the best selection of notebooks and stationery in town, the huge collection of Japanese imports, the vintage calligraphy pens, the full selection of drawing and painting supplies, and the friendly, knowledgeable service. And we're adding a huge number of products you've asked us about: LAMY fountain pens and pencils, Traveler's Notebooks, wood painting panels, more stretched canvas, water-soluble oils, every size and color of paint marker, and so much more. We're bringing in twice as many books without giving up our tightly curated approach to bookselling. We'll have more classics, more contemporary literature, more contemporary and classic art books, more hard-to-find works in translation, and more reference material on every kind of art practice you can think of.
Moving to the Central West End, with its short drive times to every part of the City and much of the County and its proximity to St. Louis' universities, will allow us to bring this expanded inventory to a much broader group of people. It's also an opportunity to correct a mistake we made as newcomers to St. Louis. We arrived without much knowledge about the city's history and culture, and out of affection for Cherokee Street, we named ourselves after one part of the city. We still love Cherokee, and we've made friends with many wonderful people from South City. But if we had to do it all over again, knowing what we now know about the neighborhood-level fragmentation that runs through St. Louis history, we wouldn't define ourselves with the name of any one neighborhood.
So allow us to reintroduce ourselves. We are now St. Louis Art Supply, a community-driven business serving creative people from the whole St. Louis metropolitan area. Our focus on painting, drawing, reading, and writing remains the same, but our options have greatly expanded. If you stopped in to the South City store and didn't find what you needed, we invite you to give us another try. (And did we mention we're adding a coffee shop?)
The new St. Louis Art Supply is “soft open,” meaning we’re still working out a few kinks but we’re open for our regular business hours. Our grand opening weekend is planned for October 11th-13th. Come browse our colorful, reimagined inventory of 5000+ art supply, writing, and stationery products, or flip through one of our hand-selected books. While you’re here, grab coffee and breakfast or lunch at Cornflower Coffee & Tea, our in-store café.
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