Arts by Alexander was founded in 1955, and has been providing high-quality custom framing, unique home accessories, and beautiful artwork to the public ever since. Located in High Point, NC, Arts employs three experts in the industry with over 70 combined years of experience.
Home Accents Today Magazine Named Us One of the Top 50 Retail Stars in the US!
Retail Profile: Arts by Alexander, Jamestown, N.C.
Susan Dickenson — Home Accents Today, 2/1/2010
North Carolina’s Arts by Alexander has been a familiar landmark to travelers along High Point-Greensboro Road since Eva Alexander opened it there in 1968.
|Home accents retailer Arts by Alexander grew out of a printing business that began in High Point in the 1920s.|
Today, owner Mary Fay Bodenheimer and Sandra Culler, Eva Alexander’s daughter and granddaughter, provide framing services and sell wall decor, furniture and home accents at the store, which got its start in downtown High Point almost a century ago. (photo, l-r, Sandra Culler, Mary Fay Bodenheimer)
“The business itself started back in the 1920s on West Commerce Street as a commercial printing company,” Bodenheimer said. “My mother went to work there in 1935. C.H. Rhodes was the owner. When he became sick, she ran it and later purchased it. They did picture framing, then added a few accessories.”
In 1968 Alexander moved the store to its current location, former home of the Rainbow Supper Club. “The dance hall was back here in our work area and our kitchen is where the band played,” Culler said. “After we came out here, we built on this addition, then that, then another section.”
Now, home accents take up about 60% of the 10,000-sq.-ft. showroom, much of which is purchased in High Point, and both Bodenheimer and her daughter, who recalls taking naps in the store as a child and helping her grandmother write out checks as a teen-ager, say they’ve seen a lot change over the years.
“At one time, we were probably one of the bigger retailers of furniture in the area and did a lot of out-of-state orders,” Bodenheimer said. “Over time, we’ve established ourselves locally as the most experienced in framing and design. We do it all in-house. During the holidays, we were quite busy.”
|Locals know the store as a destination for framing, wall decor, lighting and accessories. Others are more familiar with Arts by Alexander as a live music venue — or a place to find homemade Brunswick stew.|
The women are also finding a lot of customers in returning generations. “The people become more than just customers or acquaintances — they become friends,” Culler said. “Many will come in to visit, or if they have a problem they don’t know how to solve, they’ll bring it in here.”
“If you’re framing something you’ve got to kind of get in to their vision,” Bodenheimer added. “You get to know them a little better, and you know their tastes and what they need, so it becomes a little more personal than just a customer.”
In an interesting twist of fate, the site is once again a local destination for live music as fourth generation family member Dustin Culler oversees a back room-turned-music venue that hosts local musicians and touring bands.
“Several years ago, my son and several of his friends started their own band,” Sandra Culler said. “For awhile they practiced out here in a little warehouse section.”
The small audience of friends and family eventually grew, as did the number of musicians who began playing there. “A lot of them are in college now, so the time they have to play together is limited. Holidays and fall breaks, they all come together,” she said. “Last summer they organized a benefit concert, with 12 bands, to help out our youth minister.”
“A lot of the bands are local,” Dustin Culler added, “but some of them are touring bands that need a place between Richmond and Atlanta to stop. If Jake (Jake Grondy, Dustin’s friend and a local promoter) can find a band that wants to play here, we’ll add a couple of local bands that want to go on to make it a full show. I think we did between 15 and 20 shows here this summer, and during this winter break we’ll probably do five or six.”
The warehouse is cleared of merchandise and Culler’s father keeps a close eye on things. “There are different people that come to every show but we also get a lot of the same crowd, and it’s fun to see some of the parents,” Sandra Culler said. “Basically the kids come here because they want to hear music, and except for one or two places in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, I don’t know of any other place that these bands can play like this.”
“We get all types of music,” Dustin Culler added. “Last night was kinda punk, but our band is ska, so we have the horns. We also had a heavy metal Christian band last night. It’s pretty easy for everybody to find ‘ABA’ since there’s the big Arts by Alexander name on the front of the building.”
The store has also done duty as a fund-raising distribution point for barbecue and Brunswick Stew. “For seven years now, to help the Boy Scouts, we’ve cooked and distributed several dozen pork shoulders at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we freeze and distribute about 1,000 quarts of Brunswick stew every year for our church sale,” Sandra Culler said. “Every now and then we get customers who come in and say, ‘I’m not really here to buy anything but somebody told me that y’all have Brunswick stew out here.’
“We’ve used this location for so many things. We’re definitely very varied in what brings people into our store!”