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Downtown art store closing this month to focus on online sales

Owners Larry and JoAnn Brown, front, and manager Eric Brown, back, of Art Materials in downtown Fargo. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

FARGO—A downtown art store will close later this month in response to changing shopping habits.

Art Materials, 300 Broadway, will close for good at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 27, the business announced in an email to customers Friday, May 5.

Manager Eric Brown said the store, which his parents opened in the summer of 2010, said the change is in response to the "huge shift" they've seen in retail in recent years.

The store keeps track of its customer counts, and Brown said counts are down to the lowest levels in the store's history. At the same time, Art Materials is doing more business through its two websites and on Amazon.

"Everybody is reacting and we had to react to what we've seen as slowing store sales to boost up our growing web business, unfortunately," he said.

JoAnn and Larry Brown bought Art Materials in 2001, which started up in Minneapolis in 1956 and has a store there that will remain open.

The Fargo natives came back here in 2010 to open a nearly 4,000-square-foot Art Materials store in a leased space from Kilbourne Group. They purchased the commercial space after a few years, and then downsized their store to about 3,000 square feet to make room for another unit they leased to Sandy's Donuts in 2014.

Brown said Kilbourne Group bought the Art Materials and Sandy's Donuts spaces again on Jan. 1, and Kilbourne Group plans to rent out the Art Materials unit to a new tenant.

While the business won't have a brick-and-mortar presence in Fargo by the end of the month, he said customers can still buy from its website,, or through its Amazon store.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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