Dear Artist,

In our 2002 catalogue I wrote…

“This catalogue finds my business and our world in an interesting time in the circle clock of history. The shrinking world puts each of us in contact with humans all around the globe.

We can’t ignore international trade and business. Our clothes, food, and even art supplies are made everywhere. Shopkeepers, like me, seek their best values for their customers – often to be found in the low wage third world.

How do I feel about today’s retailing? Pretty good.
Yes, it’s true that American jobs are being lost, but third world jobs are being created. Our world will be a more peaceful place only if jobs and money are more evenly spread. Containers coming in from China and India may be our best insurance against the anger of war and terrorism.”

Beware; sometimes the things that you wish for come true. 

Now a days people come into our store looking at labels. What they’re not looking for is “Made in China.”

Here’s our dilemma. Here’s our position. 

There are economic realities that we ignore at our own peril, but within those realities we can steer towards a better result.

The dilemma is that the American consumer’s present standard of living is based on the import of cheap Asian goods and retailers who ignore that reality are put out of business. Another dilemma is that domestic management, companies, and jobs are being lost so that we are even more dependent on those overseas factories.

Our position: At first we named our Asian imports honestly so we sold “Mao Brushes” and “T’ang Easels.” These were products made to our specifications in China.

Our later position is to support domestic companies even if they use Asian manufacturers. Better yet we keep production closer to home if possible. We presently buy all the Canadian stretched canvas they can make for us.

Larry Adlerstein