When Pat and Shirl opened Sunnyside Art Supplies in January 2014 it seemed like a golden opportunity for a space that has been occupied by an art store for the last 45 years. The charming couple now work together with their 3 staff – all ACAD and U of C Art graduates. The pair met in animation in Toronto after Shirl attended Ottawa School of Art, and Pat attended University of Guelph. Together they have 30 years of previous experience in art and animation.
As Kensington residents they are deeply rooted in the community and all that makes it special.
“We have always loved it here. It has everything we could ever need, it’s a big event when we leave Kensington!”
They especially love the tight knit community, and the way people are so friendly and other businesses are so supportive.
“We’re grateful to have such a loyal customer base. We love that some of our customers have been coming here for art supplies since they were kids in the 70’s!”
Some of those customers include award winning artist Chris Flodberg, and Canadian comic book artist and illustrator Riley Rossmo. They stock all of the essentials for the discerning artist, including a vast selection of comic book supplies. They are the only place in Western Canada to carry Shiva Oil Paints – a professional quality product at a great price point. Another staff favourite are Williamsburg Oil Paints which are handmade and highly coveted. If you’re walking by the shop on the weekend, you can often catch local artists painting right in the front window.
Sunnyside Art Supplies also hosts workshops put on by their staff and outside experts. Participants can learn about oil glazing, portrait painting, or even book folding. On weekends in the warmer months, you can join them for Plein Air Painting! Find the Sunnyside Plein Air Painters on Facebook if you’d like to get involved.
“We meet on a Saturday or Sunday morning at the store, then walk around the neighbourhood until we find different places we’d like to stop and paint.”
When asked about their advice for other business owners in the area they agreed it’s about sticking with your passion, and getting the right people to work with you.
“Find something you love. Then hire the right staff, they are so important.”