Art Mart in Motion
John Bond said it is the breadth of merchandise and the quality
of service, both through the products and classes offered, that give the Art Mart & Academy a
For the past 40 years, the artistic hub has been a one-stop shopping destination for venerable artists and novices who want to tackle a new project or, perhaps, yearn to learn a new hobby.
Formerly located on Boone Heights Drive, the store is moving to the downtown arts district and closer to its university clientele by reopening Friday, Sept. 6, at 681 W. King St. (formerly Loretta’s Vendetta) in Boone.
While the new locale is shorter on space in terms of overall dimensions, Bond said the store’s services and products would remain unchanged.
Bond said he also wanted to create a greater connection with the art community by getting involved with First Friday art crawls.
“We serve a good proportion of professional artists in the area,” Bond said. “Many of the big names that produce art in the High Country come to shop here. We have a good deal of the general public who come in wanting help on a new project.”
Students are also a huge portion of the store’s clientele, as well as its inner workings.
“Traditionally, we have three art department students as employees,” Bond said. “We’ve employed over 35 students from the university over the years. Their knowledge of art and enjoyment of working with art (shows through) in their enthusiasm. If I tried to train someone who is not interested in art, they wouldn’t want to deal with that in customer service, but our employees thrive on it and love when people ask questions.”
Bond, an Appalachian State alumnus, took over ownership of the store in 2000 when he returned from art training in Colorado.
“When I came back, I wanted to teach, but I wanted to do it my way,” he said. “I thought the store was a good investment.”
Bond added a new level of depth and understanding to the artistic community by introducing art classes and seminars. Classes are currently offered for children, ages 6 and older, as well as adults.
“The art academy and classes are unique because of the way we teach,” Bond said. “The classes are highly catered to the individual, and not everyone is turning out the same product.”
Above all else, Bond believes the move will allow his staff to continue to be good stewards of the art community, while providing quality customer service.
“We’ve been known as the librarians of art because of the knowledge we can share with the customer,” Bond said. “We never let a customer go out the door with the wrong product.”
For more information on the store or classes, call (828) 264-3135.