“Shop Local has a big movement in our town. The desire for American-made products is beginning to catch on.”
What inspired you to start your business?
Linnaea Holgers James: The previous owners took over the business after the 1989 earthquake leveled our downtown. Previously, Artisans had been a co-op and the artists found the task of keeping it going too much. I worked for the previous owners from age 16-32 prior to buying the business 6 years ago. I have now worked at Artisans 22 years.
What’s the first thing someone would notice walking into your store?
Linnaea Holgers James: Cheerful, bright, stimulating.
Does your store have a specific focus and merchandise mix?
Linnaea Holgers James: We only carry American made and focus on local artists.
Has your customer base evolved and changed the merchandising focus of your store?
Linnaea Holgers James: We’ve been working hard to bring in a younger customer base and a wider variety of merchandise. We’ve added a kids section to reach younger families and grandparents.
Do you hold any special events and exhibitions?
Linnaea Holgers James: Home for the Holidays is a group show of local images by local artists. Hearts for the Arts is a fundraiser with heart-related pieces that are auctioned off to support arts education in local schools. Every month we participate in the “First Friday” art walk. We also have an annual Fall Sale in October around the anniversary of our town’s earthquake that happened in 1989.
Are you engaging your customers in a conversation about the Shop Local/ American Made movement?
Linnaea Holgers James: Shop Local has a big movement in our town. The desire for American-made products is beginning to catch on.
What makes your store stand out from other retailers in your area?
Linnaea Holgers James: At Artisans Gallery, you see things that you won’t see anywhere else in town. Going to shows like the American Made Show means I find things that people in my hometown might never otherwise see.
What would you say is your key to longevity?
Linnaea Holgers James: Customer service and local interaction with artists, customers.