MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The city may be rapidly growing, but when it comes to businesses there are many that are still owned by individuals from right here in town.
The business of art supply may not be one that most believe is important, but for those in and around the art community here it is one of utmost importance.
It was only three years ago that the city of Murfreesboro was introduced to its first artist supply store. Moxie Art Supply first opened its doors in 2010 in a small space off of North Maple Street right next to Moab Bike Shop.
“When we first acquired this space, we knew it would be temporary,” said Glenn Merchant, owner of Moxie Art Supply.
Merchant is a veteran artist who has been painting professionally for the past 20 years. He first began when he was a teenager making oil paintings of animals.
He describes himself as a creative entrepreneur.
When he first came to Murfreesboro, Merchant said he noticed there was a need for artist supplies, but no one was supplying it.
Prior to 2010, if anyone in the area needed arts supplies they would have to drive 40 miles to Nashville in order to buy materials.
“After speaking with local artists, faculty at Middle Tennessee State University and students, I knew there was a need for an artist supply,” Merchant said.
When Moxie Art Supply first opened. Merchant said he had many concerns.
For one, Merchant said he did not want to open a store and end up in debt. Secondly, he knew generating clientele would also be a challenge.
Merchant, taking into consideration his previous concerns, rented out a small space that only had four shelving units and a card table.
“In the beginning, we had just a little bit of stuff, no computer and no debt," he noted.
As far as generating clientele, Merchant, like many Rutherford County business owners, has found much success through word of mouth and social media.
Moxie Art Supply has recently moved from its tiny old location on North Maple to a much bigger space on West Vine Street, about a block from the Linebaugh Public Library.
At the old location, which is about a third of the size of the new location, Merchant not only sold art supplies but also held art classes for the public. However, due to the lack of space at the old location, Merchant said he had to cease classes.
With the move, Merchant said he has added about 700 new products to the store and plans on doubling the inventory by next year. With the added space, Merchant also plans on bringing back his art classes, which will focus on teaching people how to draw what they see as well as become the center of information for visual art.
There will be instructional videos, artist interviews and even an art gallery, not commercial but of local art, he said.
“MTSU, Motlow, the Murfreesboro Art League and many other private schools are very important to us," he said. "We have a symbiotic relationship. We supply what they need the best we can.”
Moxie Art Supply is the only independently owned art supply store in Middle Tennessee, and it carries not only supplies for artist but also studio and graphic designer supplies, traditional film paper and chemistry for dark rooms. It also caters to interior design majors, textile design and stage design.
Merchant said he believes it is their duty at Moxie Art Supply to keep the community educated on art.
If you have any questions Merchant encourages you to stop by at the new location on 302 W. Vine St., or visit www.moxiesartsupply.com.
“I enjoy seeing people’s reaction because it is the customer that drives the business," Merchant said. "That’s why I get up and come to work every morning.”