Seventy-three-year-old Ellie Goodman is starting a new business. At an age when many people are thinking about retiring and spending time in their gardens, Goodman is exercising her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s opening a 5,000-square-foot art-supply store at 600 East Second Ave., Suite C, on the corner of College Drive and Second Avenue. “I had a dream,” she said when asked why she was opening a new business. For the last six months, she’s been turning that dream into reality. It’s taking longer than she anticipated, but she plans to host a grand opening Sept. 10.
Goodman’s Art Bin will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. The store has a broad, rounded-out selection of supplies including an area filled with children’s art materials and a book section with a comfortable sofa.
Goodman’s Art Bin will carry a wide selection of brushes and brush cleaner and the most popular lines of paints, pastels, drawing pencils, charcoal and graphite. She wants to specialize in papers from Thailand, Egypt, India and Japan, and she will carry a wide range of sizes and shapes of canvas. She also will have a framing department.
“I know I’m going to be busy,” she said. “I just know it.”
Goodman has set up round tables in the back where people can gather. She wants to provide coffee and be a gathering place for artists and the community.
“I want this to be a fun place,” she added.
Goodman is no stranger to the retail business. She worked with her husband at Goodman’s Inc., the family store that had been in operation since 1879. In 1979, they opened Gallery Marguerite. Both stores were sold in 1993.
Goodman also worked for 10 months at what will be her chief local competitor, the Art Supply House in Town Plaza, when it opened in July 2003.
Her business philosophy is simple. Wait on people, and they will come back. Her management philosophy is equally uncomplicated. Camaraderie is important. She wants her employees to enjoy their jobs and want to come to work. She already has six people working for her.
“I have the best help in the world. They laugh with me, and they cry with me. They are there when I need them, and they are just doing everything to make this place ready for opening day,” she said.
Additionally, they have set up two classroom areas in the large warehouse space for art classes. Goodman has scheduled teachers for classes in oil painting, tole painting, watercolor, calligraphy, drawing and sculpture. She is looking for someone to teach acrylic.
Goodman believes so passionately in her new business that she has financed it herself, though she does admit that it would be nice to have additional investors to help pay for advertising. But she is confident that with all her years of experience, she knows what artists want. Even a sales rep, she said, was impressed by her knowledge of the product catalog.
And though the store is not yet open, the easel in the window and the opening soon sign is tempting for many. People come and go and check out the progress.
“People are just flooding in here. A lot of people are waiting for me to open,” Goodman said. “I know a lot of people in town, and my customers are my friends.”
If you go: Goodman’s Art Bin, 600 East Second Ave.,Suite C, will open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, 382-2588.
firstname.lastname@example.org Leanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the visual arts.
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