International Art Materials Association

   eNEWS:  November 8, 2017 

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Improve the Experience

    -  Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer

Georganne here. Two things happened this week in stores that symbolize the state of customer service today. It’s almost as if politeness and genuine customer care has flown out the window and common courtesy has fallen by the wayside in too many stores.

I made a visit to a department store and not by choice. It was a return trip because an item I had purchased two weeks before was still adorned with that charming security tag. I hadn’t noticed it until I was on a week-long business trip and went to put it on. No dice.

Walking up to one of the checkouts, I opened my mouth to speak with a sales person who was standing at the side of the counter. Before I could say a word, she instructed me to move from the side of the counter to the front, pointing in the direction of where she wanted me to go. I explained to tell her that I was not buying anything; I just needed to have the security tag removed. She again pointed to where she wanted me to go and explained that this checkout shares a credit card terminal. I told her again that I am not buying anything, I just needed the security tag removed, and handed her the bag.

She took the item from the bag, looked at it and said, “Have you ever bought this item before?” My automatic response was “Why?”. She went on to say that she has this item and really liked it, but after the dance of where I’m supposed to stand her question put me off guard. She could just have easily said “I have this and I really like it. Have you tried it before?”

Two days later my daughter Kate and I were at one of our favorite places to explore. We were having a splendid time at the store, cheerfully being helped by several associates who found things we wanted, but could not find on the floor.

When it was time to pay for our purchases, Kate and I stopped to compare coupons before hitting the checkout. I made my purchase using a coupon from the store’s loyalty program, and when it was Kate’s turn, she showed the cashier a coupon on her phone. The cashier explained that this coupon wasn’t working, so Kate pulled up the coupon she had received 10 minutes earlier when she joined the store’s loyalty program. That coupon didn’t work either. Now there are impatient shoppers on line behind us who we know are setting us on fire in their heads. So when the cashier suggests another option, Kate said, “Let’s do it!” And the cashier quietly mumbled, “Please.”

Wait. What? That cashier just threw shade into a situation that wasn’t even remotely negative. After the transaction, she handed Kate her bag, and Kate said, “Thank you.” The cashier just stood there as we chorused, “You’re welcome!” and left the store shaking our heads.

Paying for a purchase should not be a confrontation.

Now, I realize that I am preaching to the choir here, however, Rich and I have visited lots of independent retail stores, all across the country, where the people working there – owners included – were just not friendly. I’m talking about associates who couldn’t be bothered to look up and say hello when customers walk in the door, associates who can’t be bothered to put down whatever they are doing to talk to us about merchandise, and cashiers who don’t acknowledge our presence at the cash wrap except to say, “That’ll be $49.87.

Yes, common courtesy is falling by the wayside in too many stores. Maybe it’s because you can’t teach nice, we know, we’ve tried. If the people you hire don’t have the nice gene it’s better to keep them off the floor, away from shoppers.

As we move further into the holiday season you are going to be inundated with anxious and price-conscious shoppers. This is the time of the year to kill them with kindness because what they experience on your sales floor right now will be the perception of your store that they take into the New Year. So, be sure to set time aside in your staff meetings to talk about the importance of customer care. It won’t affect the store associates who “get it”, but it will help drive home the importance of kindness to those who don’t.

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place. KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in national newspapers, national and international industry and consumer publications, and on radio and television programs across the U.S. You can learn more at


The Napa Valley Fire

An Update from Mike Roche at Riley Street Art Supply

Editor’s Note:  NAMTA member Mike Roche (pictured below) of Riley Street Art Supply in Santa Rosa CA sent the note below to NAMTA and others late last week as an update following the terrible Napa Valley fires.  There is still an opportunity to contribute to a fund helping the creative community impacted by the fires.

It’s been just over 3 weeks since the fires swept through Santa Rosa and other cities and towns in the North Bay. I feel compelled to reach out to all the people that have inquired about my employees and me during these difficult times. The outpouring of support and good wishes has been nothing short of absolutely amazing and overwhelming. I thank you. I would also like to give you a little recap on the stores and my employees plus some really positive news.

As most are aware the fires in the North Bay tore through Santa Rosa beginning on the night of October 8th. It is believed that the Tubbs fire (the one that destroyed so much of Santa Rosa) started around 10 pm just north of the town of Calistoga. From there it spread rapidly all the way to the west side of Santa Rosa. Before the sun rose it had completely burned through northern Santa Rosa and the Coffey Park subdivision of west Santa Rosa. Fifteen miles, thousands of homes and too many lives within hours. Nothing could stop it.

As for the health of the store and its employees, we fared okay. Almost every employee at some point had to evacuate their homes including me. Most of us we were fortunate to all go back to standing homes with belongings intact. But for one of us it didn’t work out so well. Jan, one of my long time employees (17 years), lost her home.  She had a home in the Coffey Park subdivision where everything was turned to ash. I think everyone has seen pictures in the paper or the news of Coffey Park. Jan has remained strong and will rebuild but is very upset after losing everything including her art materials and her entire art collection.

At the moment the store is slow. But every day it seems to get busier and busier. Most of the people that were displaced by the fire haven’t even found a permanent temporary place to live. Art materials aren’t necessarily on the top of their list . . . understandably. But the holidays are coming up and for whatever reason I think it could be an amazing season for us.

For some good news, I have worked with a few amazing people in our industry to provide art materials to all those who were affected by the fires. A significant part of this is a partnership we have with the Sonoma County Office of Education and numerous schools to help facilitate this effort. My goal is to put art materials into the hands of every kid who lost their home. I wish it could happen more rapidly but unfortunately so many have been displaced and have become somewhat transient. Some families haven’t even been able to come back to Santa Rosa because of the housing problem. The fires may be gone but normalcy will take years.

The contributions and support that I have already received is nothing short of amazing. It's for hard for me to say this but I think if I received any more support it would be too overwhelming for myself. We even had shelters that had to stop taking donations because they were overwhelmed.

If a NAMTA member really wanted to help and support some of our creative community that has lost their belongings in this fire, I suggest they reach out to the Creative Sonoma Recovery Fund. This fund has been created to specifically support local visual and performing artists that have been affected by the fires.

Again, I thank each and every one of you for checking in on my employees and myself. The thoughts and support have been amazing!


The Artists Survey  


Six days left to take the Artists Survey, or post it for your customers or students. (Survey Link)

2018 Renewal Invoices have been sent by email and we look forward to having you all back and hope to see you at Art Materials World in Dallas in March.

Need help paying or receiving your 2018 Renewal Invoice, email [email protected], or call Sue at 704.892.6244.

By The Numbers

Some reports have shown that 70% of show attendees plan a list of brands/booths to visit before even setting foot on the trade show floor.  By contrast, some reports show an average of only 10-15% of trade show exhibitors invest in pre-show marketing efforts.

A study conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that the conversion of booth visitors to qualified leads rose 50% when a pre-show promotion was used.

Notable Quote

A piece of art is never a finished work. It answers a question which has been asked, and asks a new question.

Robert Engman

(Pictured - one of his best-known sculptures, Triune (1975). It stands at the southwest corner of Philadelphia City Hall.)

Art Materials World 2018
March 4-6 in Dallas, Texas

NAMTA Exhibitor Forms are now available.

They include:
The New Products Showcase 
The In-Booth Activities Form
The Show Specials Form
The Exhibitor Sign-Up to Present Demo & Educational Session Info and Form

  • The forms listed above are due by January 19, 2018 to be included in the printed Convention Directory.
  • Forms received after the 19th will be included in Addendum only.
  • Take advantage of The Show Specials form for sure, because there is no charge for this one - get your show specials listed.

Online Registration
 is open.

Get the details and register you and/or your group and purchase event tickets.

Art Advocacy

Visit for news, resources, and facts about Advocating for the Arts.

Latest Giving in Numbers Survey
shows Corporate Sector Giving to the Arts on the Rise

CECP, in partnership with the Conference Board, released the 2017 edition of Giving in Numbers. The latest report showed that arts funding increased from the corporate community between 2014 and 2016. The 12th edition of the survey was their largest ever, with 258 of the world’s leading companies participating. Of all of the program areas measured in the survey, culture and the arts grew the most in terms of cash giving over the two-year period. These results align with Americans for the Arts and the Conference Board’s survey of Business Contributions to the Arts released in June of this year. Both corporate giving surveys demonstrate that businesses are recognizing the role the arts play in advancing corporate goals, including increasing employee engagement and creativity.

Giving in Numbers also showed corporate giving increasing across the board, with median total giving among all companies increasing by 2.3% between 2014 and 2016.

Companies continue to focus on measuring outcomes of their corporate giving. In 2016, 87% of companies measured the impact of at least one grant (up 85% in 2014). In the survey Business Contributions to the Arts, 71% of companies indicated that they did measure the social or business impacts of arts support. As more companies continue to measure the impact of their grants, this can be an ongoing challenge for arts in the corporate philanthropy space. 
Information from Americans for the Arts.


Two-thirds of Canadians used the internet to access or engage in the arts in 2016, with the most common online activities being to “talk about or find out more about an arts or cultural organization, event or artist through social media (45%); to watch a pre-recorded arts performance (41%); or to improve skills, find lessons, or find groups to join related to the arts (38%).  - from
Read all the Facts


Have 5 Social Media Tips?

Share your 5 best tips for Social Media Marketing, so NAMTA can create another revenue-building resource for members that is similar to 101 Tips (that don’t include pricing) for Art Material Retailers. This can be a great discussion topic for your next staff meeting.

Every member who submits a form will be entered in a drawing. The winner will get a box containing 2 ART Matters t-shirts, 1 NAMTA Art Matters vest, and an assortment of NAMTA pins, travel mugs, and luggage tags!

NAMTA Members can now promote - for FREE - an available position within their company in NAMTA's bi-weekly eNEWS and on the new Job Listings Page on The listing will run in an issue of eNEWS and then it will remain on the Job Listing Page until you notify NAMTA that the position has been filled.

  • This is a NEW Membership Benefit!
  • Job Listings are FREE for NAMTA members.
  • Fill out the Job Listing Form.
  • Questions - email Karen at [email protected] or call 704.892.6244.


Member News

Lakeshore Art Supplies has moved to a building with double the space, located at 1212 N 8th Street, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The larger space has allowed the store to carry more products, such as children's art supplies, and the owner, Cindy Hoeper, is also planning to expand into the custom framing business.

Donna Arthurs has retired from Spectrum Education Supplies. Donna was with Spectrum for 31 years. Jessica Reilly is the new contact at Spectrum and can be reached at 905-954-4961 or by email at [email protected]


Welcome New Member

The SAIC Resale Centers are creative supply sources serving curricular and facility needs throughout the School’s many departments. Many of the products carried in Resale are directly related to SAIC coursework; a large number of these products are not available in close proximity to campus.

NAMTA regularly searches the web for articles and stories that may be of interest to members.



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