Update from the General Manager
Are we open yet?
It is still business as.... unusual here.
We’ve been working very hard to reinvent the way we serve our community. As much as I want to fling the doors open and let everyone back in- we cannot do that carelessly. C19 sure has had a way of shaking everything I thought I knew about running this business. It's been a crazy, wild ride. A tough few months with challenges I can't even describe in a newsletter. Adapt, adjust, and overcome is my daily motto. I’ve spent lots of time seeking wisdom on what that looks like for us. I’ve had to entirely reinvent how we operate here. I strongly feel that doing that right will create a solid foundation for anything that lies ahead for us in the future. We will be taking it slow and steady as we navigate when to open.
We have not laid off any of our employees. I am fighting hard to keep it that way. If you know me then you know that people over profits is something I believed in before it was coined a phrase. It is what we are about- what this place was built on- and what will always be the core of our DNA. Our customers and employees truly mean- and are- the world to us! I have more employees than are allowed in one place right now. I’m offsetting schedules and creating safe ways to add more team members back daily. It is a process that I feel is vital not only to my amazing employees but to the community that we love and serve. It is not something I feel should be rushed. To be quite honest, it comes at a high cost to do things this way but I feel it is wisdom and it’s worth the cost. The temporary challenges of this virus can be overcome together and I feel that the only way through this- is together.
We take the health and safety of everyone very seriously. We’ve made many adjustments to our daily routine and operations to keep us all safe. We wipe down any high contact surfaces all day. We wear masks when we gather your to go orders and when we call you. Talking on the phone while wearing a mask is super challenging but we are mindful of covering our face while we talk and handle your supplies. We wash our hands constantly all day long and we quarantine any supplies that have been touched by the public. We have a plexi barrier at our new design counter for custom framing. We are always looking for how we can improve safety here.
It is my feeling that this new curbside pickup system is key to our survival in being able to serve you for the foreseeable future. If there is another shelter in place this fall or winter then having this new system firmly in place will mean that we will not have as much of a disruption in service. We will have things dialed in to switch to curbside pickups and deliveries with little notice. We are getting lots of positive feedback from everyone using our curbside pickup service. That means so much to us!
Curbside pickups are going so well that we will continue to offer it when we do open again. Many people like to shop in the late night hours and pick supplies up when it’s convenient. I’ve always joked that the world needs a 24 hour art supply store and maybe this is a way that we can get close to offering that. We shop for you as we would want someone to shop for us.
Here is a recent review we received:
“My first time using the online ordering and it was so easy!!! I also loved how I got a call to confirm my order and got to catch up with one of the framers. Feels so great to know that everyone is safe and happy and I’m so amazed (but not surprised) at how Portland’s best art supply store is still giving great customer service despite a global pandemic!”
Feedback like this makes our hard work these last few months feel so worth it! If you need supplies and haven’t already taken advantage of our curbside ordering- please give us a chance and see how we can shop for you. We highly value and depend on your support as we navigate this time. Thank you to all of you that have been ordering curbside! You have been such a huge help and encouragement in our adventure creating this service.
I understand that everyone is restless and ready to go back to “normal.” But we are faced with a new world and a long journey ahead as we all learn to navigate it. While it may be frustrating to many of you that we are not open yet, we appreciate your patience with us. Please know that we are working hard to make that happen. Those of you that do not understand our slow opening, or believe various things about this pandemic, please understand that I hear you. I understand your frustration and I am listening. Regardless of anyone’s beliefs on the virus- this has changed laws and regulations for businesses to follow. There’s a lot to digest that has shifted lately during C19 for businesses. Simply put, there are more things for us to consider than it may seem. Thank you for your patience. We closed our stores a week before it was mandated because we felt it wise. We will open them again as soon as we think it is wise to do so.
Thank you for being patient with us... Hang in there with us….. we have many things up our sleeves that we haven’t rolled out. Monthly subscription boxes for trying new things, mystery grab bags of treasures found here, deliveries by bicycle or electric car, and all kinds of creative things that my staff is dreaming up. Soon we hope to have walk up “window” hours and extend our limited C19 pickup hours to stretch closer to our regular business hours. We will inch our way cautiously, ever full of hope, as we move forward. We are mindfully considering how we follow everything required of us to do in order to keep everyone safe.
We have served artists for over 65 years and we look forward to getting through this pandemic and serving artists for many more years to come. Your encouragement and support give us fuel every day to keep going and keep growing through these challenges. I strongly feel that wisdom and caution are necessary during these times. I value your feedback as we go, I am always available to address any of your concerns. Stay strong, stay healthy, and keep making lots of art! The world needs it now more than ever before in my lifetime.
Need art supplies? Fill out the Curbside Pickup Order Form HERE
Need custom framing? Book Custom Framing HERE
Heather Reed is the Assistant Manager/Buyer and office rockstar at IBF. She writes all of our emails, blog posts and and manages all of our social media sites. Heather is also an artist and has experience in lots of various mediums. You will usually find her researching new products, finding the best bargains, writing, painting, enjoying nature, all while chasing around her two vivacious little boys.