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Art Materials gets a new look for its Uptown store and adds a location

Art Materials, which has had a longstanding presence in Minneapolis’s Uptown neighborhood, recently underwent a remodel and added a Northeast location.

Both projects unfolded simultaneously, according to Larry Brown, who co-owns the business with his wife, Joanne. In fact, many of the finishing touches on the remodel of its Lyndale store were still being made this week.

At one point, the store had considered relocating from Lyndale, but after putting the project on hold for a year, “We discovered in that year that Uptown had turned into a veritable beehive of building activity,” with lots of new apartments, restaurants and more. “It was a highly desirable place to be.”

So, after deciding to stay put, “We felt the building needed to be rehabbed,” he says.

The renovation process opened up the space in the vintage building, which had once served as a creamery with an attached garage. Higher ceilings and concrete floors came to light, while lighting fixtures were upgraded, which is important in a store that sells paint colors, he says, adding, “It has a softer and more pleasing look.”

A colorful mural reflecting various aspects of the city, something the store didn’t have room for before, brings a nice contrast to the gray walls, he says.

Later on, the store hopes to give the exterior a facelift, too, he says.

The art-supply store had long wanted to open a Northeast location, to serve the city’s Arts District. “There’s been a void in the area for the things we do and we see it as something to capitalize on,” he says.

Art Materials was able to settle into an industrial space in Northeast, which has a funkier look.

Both stores are destination places, as is a third location in Fargo, North Dakota.

“We have succeeded in changing the face of our business in Minneapolis to be something different and better than what it was,” Brown says.

Source: Larry Brown, co-owner, Art Materials
Writer: Anna Pratt
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