Art and Craft Supply Stores

choosing an art and craft supply store

There are tons of art craft supply stores out there in the world. There are large national chains and smaller regional chains that can serve all your crafty needs. Let's not forget local art craft supply stores, which can give you great supplies while you support small, local businesses.

Chain Art Craft Supply Stores

Then there are the big boys, the huge regional and national chains that have a wonderful combination of selection and value. You can usually find supplies for all the crafts you enjoy under one roof at a pretty good price.

There aren't always very specialized items for your favorite crafts, but with a combination of shopping at local art craft supply stores and on the Internet you should be able to find everything you need for all your crafts quickly, easily and at a good price. Here's a rundown of some of the bigger art craft supply stores you're likely to find out there.

Michael's

Michael's is a crafts store chain based in Texas that became a publicly traded company in 1984. As of 2004, the company operated 805 Michael's stores and 158 Aaron Brothers stores, which are primarily located in the western United States. Michael's stores can be found in 48 states and Canada, and the average store carries 40,000 items in more than 18,000 square feet of space, including arts and craft supplies, floral, framing, home décor and seasonal items. Aaron Brothers stores are smaller, carrying more than 6,000 items in around 5,000 square feet with a focus on framing and art supplies.

Michael's also owns ReCollections, a scrapbooking a paper crafts chain. All told, the company does about $3 billion in sales a year.

Jo-Ann

Jo-Ann focuses on fabrics and sewing, scrapbooking, yarn and other crafts. Founded in 1943, the company now has almost 1,000 stores and employs more than 20,000 people.

Originally the stores were small, often placed in shopping malls. Now they have stores of varying sizes, including superstores designed to have every craft item imaginable. Many of the stores are located in the northeast and along the west coast, though there are many stores scattered throughout the rest of the country as well.

While fabric and notions are the emphasis at Jo-Ann stores, you can also find floral, home décor, craft materials and seasonal merchandise at most stores.

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby began in 1972 in Oklahoma City. The company now has 378 stores and does more than a billion dollars in sales each year. The stores are found in 29 states, mostly in the central part of the country.

These stores include craft supplies, fabrics, floral, home décor, cards and party, jewelry making supplies, baskets, wearable art and much more.

The company is affiliated with several companies, including Crafts, Etc., a distributor of many different kinds of craft supplies. These products can be ordered from the Crafts Etc. website.

A.C. Moore

A.C. Moore is an arts, crafts and floral company that opened its first store in 1985. There are now more than 100 stores in the eastern United States.

The stores have about 45,000 items each over 40 different merchandise categories. The emphasis is on floral and home décor, framing, art supplies, craft supplies, scrapbooking, kids crafts, seasonal and weddings.

Dick Blick

Dick Blick started as a catalog company in 1911, and it is still largely a catalog and Internet company focusing on art supplies and craft products, sometimes available in bulk classroom sets.Dick Blick does have retail stores in 14 states, mostly in the upper Midwest but also in California, Nevada and Georgia. If you don't have a store nearby, its worth it to request a catalog-they're just amazing and a lot of fun.

Local Art and Craft Supply Stores

The best way to find out if the local art craft supply stores in your area are any good is to go visit them. Think of something you're looking for or interested in and go on a reconnaissance mission. Here are some of the things you'll want to pay attention to when scoping out local art craft supply stores:

  • Is the store open during regular business hours, or does it have strange hours such as being closed on Tuesdays?
  • Are you greeted immediately or soon after entering, or does the place seem to be devoid of employees?
  • Are there lots of other customers, or is the place deserted when you get there?
  • Are the staff members knowledgeable? If you asked a question about your favorite craft (maybe even something you already know the answer to), would you be satisfied with the answer?
  • How are the prices? Local independent art craft supply stores tend to have higher prices than the chains, but prices should still be reasonable.
  • Is the selection good? Are there things on the shelf you'd actually want to buy? Are there lots of empty spaces on the shelves?
  • Is the store clean? Can you find what you're looking for? If there are open bins, are they well organized?
  • How is the location? Is it convenient, or 20 minutes out of your way?

The answers to all these questions will help you determine whether it is worth your time to visit these art craft supply stores.

Art and Craft Supply Stores