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Sad sign of the times for artists, Tacoma store

Post by Debby Abe on Nov. 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm with No Comments »
November 11, 2010 5:10 pm

News Tribune business writer Kathleen Cooper posted this Wednesday on The Biz Buzz:

Downtown art supply store probably will close, owner says

Tacoma Art Supply announced an inventory clearing sale today, in an e-mail to customers, friends and arts supporters.

Owner Warren Caves told me this afternoon that if sales between now and the end of the year don’t pick up, the business will close permanently.

“I’ve been in business four years, and it’s been three years now (that) we’ve been steadily declining,” he said. “I know all the artists are having a hard time selling anything. Try making a living off of artists who aren’t selling anything.”

Caves said he has been looking to lease new space that would cost less than he’s paying now at 1552 Commerce St., next door to the convention center and adjacent to the University of Washington Tacoma.

The landlord is “nice and helpful and his rates aren’t outrageous,” Caves said. “I just can’t afford this” with so few sales.

Caves’s e-mail said he was considering whether to open in 2011, but he told me it seemed unlikely.

“I’ve just used up so much of my own resources just trying to hold on to this spot. (Why would I) dip into the IRAs, the kids’ college funds, for what?” he said.

The store’s last day on Commerce Street will be Dec. 23.

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