During 2006, Stephen and Joanne Evely took over the Adamstown Newsagency in Newcastle, NSW, and soon they started looking for new products to offer the community. Art supplies seemed like a natural fit for Stephen and Joanne and after a tentative first few steps they were overwhelmed with the response.
Newcastle already had a reasonably decent general art store, so Stephen and Joanne decided to concentrate on providing more variety for the local artists. As they continued to build their range they very quickly realised there was a great interest in ‘hard to find’ or ’boutique’ art supplies. This was, initially, most apparent in the areas of artists inks and soft pastels.
The interest in soft pastels from local artists and the fact that Stephen and Joanne had fallen in love with the colours of soft pastels, led to them creating the best range of soft pastels in Australia. Eventually word spread about the range available and hundreds of requests for an on-line ordering system were received. So Stephen and Joanne launched softpastels.com.au.
While the birth of softpastels.com.au was very organic in nature and definitely not intentionally planned, it has developed and blossomed to become a wonderful resource for pastel artists throughout Australia and New Zealand. The range of Artists Quality pastels is extensive with 11 different brands currently being stocked, which equates to thousands of individual colours and hundreds of different sets.
What customers really like is that softpastels.com.au is run just like the rest of the newsagency. It is a community shop for artists. Most repeat customers are known by their first name and help is always available. While the newsagency has seen many changes over the last decade, the commitment to service and the community have not changed.
Artists have always provided valuable feedback on softpastels.com.au through conversation and suggestions. Stephen quite often finds himself going to the office to ‘do some more research’ as a result of a great product suggestion from a keen pastellist.
Stephen and Joanne’s philosophy is that all of their customers should be treated as if they are a friend.
For National Newsagent Week, Adamstown Newsagency will be running specials on art supplies and Aussie and English classic lollies in-store. They will be communicating their offers through an EDM to their customers.