It has been 10 years since art supply store ARTspot opened on Main Street in Edmonds. The goal, according to owner Tracy Felix, was to support local artists and encourage anyone who wanted to get started making art. The vision of this independent family business has come to fruition, Felix said, with the hard work of three generations who have put their hearts into ARTspot.
“My mom, Melda Felix, was at the store a lot when we first opened,” Felix recalled. “I have a lot of good memories of her chatting with customers and tagging merchandise. Stickers had to be on the front, straight, and not cover up any information on the packages. We still try to keep up her standards.”
Just as Felix inherited the love of retail sales from her mother, her own children — Bryn Alberto and Mason Fraker — have been learning the ropes at ARTspot. In fact, they have been managing the store for the past year, giving Felix the freedom to set up a studio two blocks away at the new Graphite building.
It’s a perfect time to transition the store over to the next generation, she added.
“My kids have been fantastic, using their unique skill sets to fine tune how ARTspot can grow,” she said. “The store has thrived under their leadership for the past year.”
Mason Fraker, who has been pitching in at ARTspot during high school and college, will be taking over as ARTspot’s owner.
Mason, who graduated from Western Washington University in 2016, has continued to build knowledge in the family business, and Felix said Mason is determined to continue developing the family’s vision and innovate for the future.
“The creative process is one of trying to understand ourselves and others,” explained Mason. “Continuing to provide a human connection for those exploring their creativity at any level is exactly what I want to be doing for the next ten years and then some.”
ARTspot personifies the close ties to the community that small, independent businesses offer. Felix has served as president of the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association, on the board of both Edmonds Art Studio Tour and Art Walk Edmonds, and on the advisory committee of Edmonds Creative District.
“Every small business is an asset to its community. As the new owner, I look forward to help build and serve an ever broadening and diversifying community,” said Mason, who recently curated the first juried show at Graphite that focuses attention on equity in the arts.
Close relationships tie ARTspot to other businesses in town. “I had been teaching at Cole Art Studio for several years when Denise Cole and I started talking about how cool it would be to launch an art store, and we did it,” Felix said. ARTspot’s first day in business was the weekend of the 2012 Edmonds Art Festival. The first sale was for a gift certificate purchased as a prize at the arts festival.
Although Felix became sole owner a few years ago, Denise Cole still sends students over to purchase supplies. “We always called ourselves sister stores, because we supported each other so much,” Cole recalled.
Another mission of ARTspot is to help support their employees with their own artistic aspirations, many of whom have continued on with careers in fine art, teaching, book publishing, interior design and other creative endeavors.
Felix’s daughter Bryn Alberto, who has been an integral part of shepherding the store through the pandemic challenges, acknowledged the many people who helped ARTspot become what it is today. ARTspot will be celebrating from 5-8 p.m. during the June 16 Edmonds Art Walk by featuring Alberto’s detailed under-the-sea paintings, and a demo of how she creates them.
To mark the 10-year anniversary, ARTspot invites customers to drop by Saturday, June 18 for some cake and coffee and an extra discount on everything in the store. ARTspot is located at 408 Main St. in Edmonds.