24 B Town Plaza
Owner: Matthew French-Holt
How and why did your business get started? How has it evolved over time?
The Art Supply House began in 2003 when the original owner, Linda Frazee, saw a need to provide high quality art supplies to residents in Durango. In 2004 her husband, Chris, began offering custom picture framing as well. After operating the business successfully for almost 10 years they decided it was time to move on to other adventures. In 2012 Jeramiah Townsend became the new owner and he continued to grow the store, organizing inventory, and streamlining procedures and workflows. In 2018 he decided to pursue one of his other passions and passed the store to Matthew French-Holt, the current owner. Matthew had been the store manager for over a year, and it was a natural transition for him to take it over. In the time he has owned it, Matthew has expanded the supplies that are kept on-hand, remodeled the storefront, and generally continued to focus on helping the local art community in every way possible.
How did you wind up in Durango? What brought you here?
I originally visited the Durango area for family backpacking trips. After spending 2 years touring the US in a motorhome, I narrowed down my choices to three options and decided to settle in Durango. Some people love the beach - I love the mountains. This region has always felt like home to me.
What is your business mission? What is your motivation? What keeps you going and inspired each day?
We believe that art makes the world a better place. Whether one is making art, looking to appreciate it, or displaying it for others to see - art can positively affect those who experience it. We are here to encourage and assist anyone who wants to make art or preserve and display it in the best way possible. We are helping make the world a better place, one artist at a time.
Tell us about your team. What is something the public might not know about your store?
We all believe in the power of art - because we have experienced it firsthand. We are all artists. From drawing to photography, landscapes to portraits - we have a wealth of knowledge and personal experience that we are happy to share. We love to hear about your art projects, offer advice if you are looking for a suggestion, and see your finished results!
What is the secret to being a successful business in a small town?
Knowing that we are part of a community. There is a community of artists and art collectors that we work with directly as customers. There is also a wider community of businesses that we "partner" with on a daily basis. A large part of our job at the Art Supply House is knowing who in town offers what product or service. We do not want to step on another business's toes by offering the exact same products - and we want to make sure that our customers get the best possible value for their money. If another business can offer a product or service for a better price, or in a better timeframe, we are the first to tell our customers that. Yes, we will send you elsewhere to spend your money, if it's a better deal for you. We will explain why (and if you insist on working with us, we will gladly work with you!). Honesty is important and we are here for the long-term. If we help you get the best value, even if it is not with us, you'll come back for the next project that we can help you with.
How do you see your company growing in the future?
We are always updating our offerings. Our carefully curated selection of art supplies is a careful balance between price and quality. We test and research everything before bringing it in, doing our best to ensure that it's a great value for you. We also work with customers and research trends to make sure we have materials on hand as they are requested. As always, we have to work within a limited space but love the idea of offering classes and an even wider range of art supplies.