We have a long, sweet history with our friends at Cheap Joe’s. It was by chance that Steve Hanson, a Canson/Talens sales rep (which was the US company at the time), made the call to Joe at his pharmacy and introduced him to the world of selling Art Materials. Among the first brands that became the start and the backbone of their business was Rembrandt by Royal Talens. Cheap Joe’s has become a leading supplier and resource in the watercolor world and has earned a loyal following with their catalog and retail businesses. They’ve done this by building relationships with their great customer service, large amounts of workshops and by being a trusted specialist. We always enjoy a trip up the mountain to beautiful, picturesque Boone, North Carolina to meet with our friends at Cheap Joe’s.
– Kyle Richardson
Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff began in 1987 with a couple of shelves of paper, paints and brushes in the Boone Drug Store in downtown Boone, NC. Joe Miller (Cheap Joe) was a pharmacist there, who had begun watercolor painting and didn’t want to travel two hours to buy his art supplies.
In 1990 Cheap Joe’s moved out of the drugstore and into a warehouse facility outside of town which we quickly outgrew; so in 1995 we built a new 10,000 sq. ft. building and by the year 2000, added an additional 10,000 sq. ft. along with a modern workshop facility and an Outlet Store. About this same time Cheap Joe’s established a presence on the web with www.cheapjoes.com.
Present day, we have two additional retail locations in Charlotte, NC and in Asheville, NC. We continue to host weekly artist workshops in Boone from April through October, welcoming 25+ professional artists and art educators, and 650+ aspiring artists from all over the world. We operate a 501(c)(3) organization called Brushes for Vincent which provides art supplies to young artists in need of healing, and we are continually cultivating artists locally and at every opportunity, starting within our own walls.
So, what started out as a couple shelves of art supplies is now a major contender in selling art supplies world-wide. What made all of this possible? 1) Our loyal customers and, 2) our strong partnerships and support from suppliers such as Royal Talens.
Cheap Joe’s relationship with Royal Talens started 25+ years ago. In the spring of 1992, in our 5th catalog, we advertised Rembrandt Watercolors and Rembrandt Soft Pastel sets. Rembrandt Watercolors were one of our top selling brands back in the early days of Cheap Joe’s and when a wooden boxed set of 225 soft pastels sold for a mere $189.95!
We’ve seen a lot of changes in this industry since then. Many small businesses have gone by the wayside with the advance of larger box stores and now with the “mega online retailers”. Without the support of “like-minded” people such as those at Royal Talens, who believe in providing quality products, keeping costs down, understand the importance of product fulfillment and great customer service, we would not be where we are today and still growing.
Through the years we’ve added many more Royal Talens products such as Rembrandt Oils, Van Gogh Watercolors and Oils, and most recently, Ecoline Liquid Watercolors and Brush Markers. Along with these quality products, Royal Talens’ dedication and commitment has always remained consistent within the art industry, then and now.