Sitting humbly on South Glenwood Avenue is an art store named Askew-Taylor Paints. The store, after generations of providing Raleigh with art supplies and inspiration, officially went out of business December 31, 2016.
Kirk Taylor is the store’s current owner, and after my numerous visits to Askew-Taylor, I can safely say that Taylor is always there– greeting and assisting customers in any way he can.
The 74 year old told me he started the store in 1967, when his father allowed him to put $1,100 worth of art supplies in the front corner of the house.
“From there, it just grew,” said Taylor commenting on how his small corner of art supplies turned to the two story, multi room art superstore it is today.
However, to understand the true aesthetic of Askew-Taylor, you must know its history. In 1946, Taylor’s grandfather opened his open for supply storage. “He [Taylor’s grandfather] lead large crews of painters, paper hangers and floor finishers,” said Taylor.
But, the building’s history dates back even further than Taylor may know. “The earliest date I could find in the tax record was 1920, but my father felt like it went back further than that because when he dug out for the warehouse in the back, they found the remains of an outhouse and a well,” said Taylor.
Regardless of the building’s exact history, the walls and floors creek with a sound that blurs out the complications of modern day society, humbling visitors and truly welcoming any glimpse of artistic motivation.
As a frequent customer at Askew-Taylor myself, I can say the the store closing truly feels like a divorce from family.
I asked Taylor to describe his relationship with clients and what he would say reflecting on the many years of greeting people at the door — he responded humbly: “Mostly it was fun, met a lot of interesting people. There have been people trading here for 20 to 30 years.”
Askew-Taylor Paints is going out of business due to the increasing congestion in downtown Raleigh. Also, the building across the street that allowed Askew-Taylor customers to park recently sold, leaving no easy parking for customers.
Unfortunately, Askew-Taylor will not be relocating. “We originally intended to take the sale of this and reinvest it in another property, but everything within reach of our customers is just excerbornat and doesn’t make any sense,” said Taylor.
Maybe it is Taylor’s humble manner, but when asked to describe the relevance of his store to Raleigh’s culture he responded with “I’ve never really thought out it like that. It was just a way to make a living, to meet new people.”
Contrary to Taylor’s statement, many would say that Askew-Taylor hold extreme relevance in Raleigh’s culture. The building itself is one of the last standing original homes on Glenwood…its fate now is in the hands of urban developers.
The closing of Askew-taylor is December 31, 2016. All sale items in the store are fifty percent off and supplies are vanishing quickly; however the stores abundant supply of any artistic material you could possibly think off still hides in bins and drawers throughout the store.
It is a shame that local businesses like Askew-Taylor are going out of buisness more frequently now, due to the rapid development of apartments and restaurants in the downtown area. I hope to bring attention to the store and promote citizens of Raleigh to stop by and check the store out in its last month of business.
Askew-Taylor Paints is located near downtown Raleigh, 110 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603.