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A Brief History of A&C

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

 Larry Adlerstein, Founder/President of A&C Supply

 

Dear Friends,

 

A few months ago I celebrated my 70th birthday. Some of you other old people know that “celebration” is not the appropriate word but I won’t get off subject.

 

Anyway, I’ve promised to write a history of this business and every year that essay gets shorter and shorter as my memory fades. So I decided I’d best get to it while I still remember what “it” is.

 

So here “it” is, an abridged history of A&C. I start with the opening of new stores, my favorite part of this business.



Thank you customers & my friends,

 

-Larry Adlerstein

Next »

 

 


 

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A Brief History of A&C – Seattle

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A



Seattle, WA, established 1996

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C

 

Larry & Steve
The original explorers—many years later

Our second store was in Seattle. One evening I was visiting with my friends, John & Anne Beldon back home in Portland, Maine. I related how I felt a single art supply store would no longer be competitive—for I saw big money coming into our little trade.

 

Where would I open store #2? Seattle, I thought, because my marriage was difficult & the west coast was far away. My dinner friend John had a real estate brother in Seattle so a week later I was on the west bound plane.

 

Upon arrival I rented a car and headed to the University district, a likely place to set up and art supply. We (Steve and I—he is now my general manager but at the time he had been with me just a few years) looked at vacant stores. In one such store I heard my name called: It was real estate brother “Buzz.” He was researching on my behalf.

 

What a coincidence. Buzz was the only person I knew in Seattle and in fact, we rented that U District store more than 15 years ago.

 

That store was a difficult learning experience for me because it was my first attempt to do business remotely. And I had to learn a whole new language. In Seattlese every sentence starts with a Please and ends in Thank You. Not so back east.

 

But I’m learning.

 

 


 

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A Brief History of A&C – Charleston

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A Brief History of Artist & Craftsman

 

 

Charleston, SC, established 1998

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C

 

My domestic situation was improving so my 3rd store was on the east coast. The North East Coast Seasonal Migration goes up and down I-95 and when I’d visit my folks in Florida, I’d travel through Georgia and the Carolinas and I always found that area romantic and interesting. My wife Eva and I flew into Charleston and visited that charming city along with Savannah and Jacksonville Florida.

 

Driving down King Street in Charleston I saw a for rent sign that was going to become home. King Street is the high point of that lowland city—it’s at least 3 or 4 feet above sea level—so therefore it became the commercial center of Charleston.

 

I called the number on the sign and set an appointment for two days later. We headed south to Savannah and Jacksonville. Neither city appealed to us as Charleston had.

 

Two days later we met with landlord Ted Stoney. Later that day we signed his lease—love at 1st sight. After signing Ted said something about “the college.”

 

“What college?”

 

“Why, the College of Charleston.”

 

“That’s right, there is a college in Charleston. I saw them play basketball on T.V. once.” Duh… “Where are they?”

 

Ted, my new landlord, looked at me with a quizzical look. He told me the College of Charleston was 2 blocks down King Street. He was obviously impressed by my market research.

 


 

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A Brief History of A&C – Cambridge

Friday, Jul 26, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A Brief History of Artist & Craftsman Supply

 

 

Cambridge, MA, established 2003

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C

 

In the fall of 2003 I decided to look closer to home for store sites. Boston was an obvious look at.

 

So I drove the two hours down to Boston and started by visiting Pearl Paint—the big guy at the time. Pearl was located in Central Square, Cambridge, across the Charles River from downtown Boston.

 

In retrospect, Pearl had already started their decline that has, at this date, resulted in bankruptcy and the closing of most stores, including their Cambridge location.

 

Well, after our brief survey of Pearl back in 2003 I decided to open in Cambridge and there, right across the street, was a for-rent sign.

 

It was a basement which has served us well for many years. Generally our relationship with our neighbor Pearl went well until on a Saturday morning there was a commercially printed sign posted across our front entrance.

 

“Vagrants welcome, plenty of toilet paper downstairs.”

 

Robert Pearlmutter personally wrote me a letter of apology.

 

 


 

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