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Local business adjustments

Artmain stays open for artists

Ciara Parizek/MDN Tammy Forman checks the colored pencils to confirm the pack is complete at Artmain on Wednesday.

While people have been forced to work from home or have chosen to avoid the public, they may have wanted to try their hand at a new art form. Artmain in downtown Minot has just the supplies they need, offering curbside pick-up.

Beth Kjelson said there have been several different sorts of questions and requests, ranging from advice on supplies, putting supplies together to start something new and asking for gift certificates. Some of the customers who asked for the certificates either got them for someone else or for themselves to hang on to for use in the future.

When customers are not comfortable entering the store, they can call to have their needed supplies put together and brought out to their vehicle. If they are not quite sure which tool will work for their desired project, an employee can send pictures to the customer.

“Artists may have been trying to find a way to express themselves or to interest themselves,” Kjelson said. “They may have painted when they were younger and wanted to get back into it.” She also mentioned that some may have wanted to start painting or get into drawing and needed supplies to get started on either one.

She even said that parents had called and were looking for activities to do with their children or their teens while the schools are closed. They ask what they can do and ask for other recommendations to keep their childrens’ creativity flowing.

Ciara Parizek/MDN Tammy Forman makes sure that the clothing section is neat and clean on Wednesday afternoon at Artmain.

One of their other services is framing pictures and other items. If a customer needs something framed, they can call and put in the framing order, but Kjelson would not be able to start on it until after the quarantine order is lifted.

There was a period of time that the vendors that Artmain gets its supplies from were closed, making it difficult or impossible to get items in to stock their shelves. Thankfully, some of the suppliers have opened again and have been shipping new inventory. “We’re slowly starting to get stuff back in,” Kjelson said.

Artmain has remained open since COVID-19 hit, but its hours have been cut in half, now open from noon-5 p.m. Kjelson and the other employees are available in the morning hours by appointment. They wear masks for protection.

With Gov. Doug Burgum slowly allowing some businesses to reopen, Kjelson said that they are more than likely going to do at least one more week of reduced hours and see how things go before making their executive decision. “We want to be responsible and cautious for our customers and employees,” Kjelson explained.

While their hours have been reduced, they used that extra time to clean and sanitize their store. Some minor remodeling has been going on, as well. Murals are planned to be painted on some of their walls to give the store a little more character.

Artmain has held their location in Minot since 1981 and Kjelson said that everyone who works there is more like family. She also includes their customers as family, everyone supporting a small local business.

“It’s been a trying time for everyone.” She described it as a “great big wave and it will have ripples for a long time.” As a fellow artist, she knows everyone needs some time to adjust to how things have changed and need to continue to be creative to survive. “Just keep going as long as you can,” she said.

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