North Loop store Penco Graphic Supply has been purchased by Art Materials, the 56-yearold independent Uptown art store. The 35-year old Penco is the latest addition to the Art Materials family, which also has a store in Fargo, N.D., and another in the works for Iowa.
According to owner Larry Brown, the North Loop store at 718 Washington Ave. N. gives Art Materials greater access to both art students at the University of Minnesota and working artists in the Northeast Arts District. The store will be rebranded as Art Materials/ Penco and continue to serve the store’s existing clientele, which included a lot of retail and business customers, as well Art Material’s audience of walk-in artists.
“The customers they had were not the customers we had,” said Brown.
Brown said the inventory of both stores is being expanded so each will carry similar items. Both Art Materials and Penco have robust online sales, and the large 14,000-square-foot North Loop will serve as the shipping center for the merged web business. Other changes are also in the works, such as an expansion of custom framing.
Brown said the purchase has been in the works for around seven months. He and his wife JoAnn had been exploring an expansion for some time, and when Penco came up for sale it was a natural fit. Almost all of Penco’s employees have been retained. (Source: The Journal)