Portland >Crafts & Hobbies > Columbia Art & Drafting
1515 E Burnside St, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.523011 -122.650286
Mon. - Fri. 9am - 6:30pm;Sat. 9am - 6pm;Sun. CLOSED
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Kerns
I went in and looked at their brushes, and brought one up to the front and asked this older woman if this was an oil or acrylic brush, she asked me what I wanted and I said "Oil", then she said: "This brush for oil" . . . maybe I have stupid written on my forehead, I went back to Art Media! Their staff are all artists, and will have the right answer for any of my questions.
November 17 This past week I took a silk-screen print by a local artist to the framing department. Two employees, a man and a woman, saw me approach the counter, and the man asked if I "wanted something." I showed him my artwork, explained that I wanted to have Columbia Art & Drafting create a frame, and took the protective cellophane off the print. Another customer, a man, approached the counter. Without a word to me, the clerk left me standing there and helped the new customer. Neither the clerk nor the new customer acknowledged the fact of my existence. The other employee, the woman, could have helped the new customer, but she paid no attention. I waited for a couple of minutes, hoping that the clerk might say something like "Excuse me, I'll be right back," or "Do you mind if I help someone else even though you were here first," or that the new customer might say something like "Sorry to interrupt, but I'm in a hurry," or "I'm more important than you are," or anything else suitable to the occasion. But neither man said anything to me, as they went about their business. I wrapped up my print and left. The fact that this would have been at least a $300 order is beside the point. They have permanently lost my business as a regular customer of their art supplies department.
I went here with my roommate who had to pick up supplies for a drafting class. As a store employee helped her, I wondered around the store looking at things. An older female employee kept on following me around. She would stand at the end of every aisle I went to and just stare at me, and not even offer to help me or anything, just stare at me. She obviously thought that I was there to steal something. I have never been treated like that by a store employee since I was 15. That;s more than 14 years ago. I do not steal, and I am abhorred by the way I was treated. I will never go to this sore for art supplies ever again because I do not shop at stores where I am treated like a potential shoplifter rather than a potential customer. Worst customer service ever.
Lost my business – I won't be going back. I have to give them one star but really I give the zip. It's a very large and complete store but the people who run it could care less about you as a customer and treat you like crap. I purhcased some mounting board and when I got it home I realized I needed a different thickness brought it back with my receipt and wanted an exchange and they wouldn't allow an exchange they said it was "damaged" which it probably was when I bought it. Once they have your cash their through with you.
Rita is horrifying – I have NEVER in my life had such rude, trashy service from anyone, ever. The way this person (I guess) treated me was beyond belief! She told me that tempera paint means 'temporary' which is completely wrong. Look it up and see for yourself. Yes, these are not the paints made with actual egg but paint this on a porous surface and you tell me if it can be removed. She is so ignorant and disgusting that I will never go back. Plus, I don't like art store employees to walk around scratching their fat asses.
Really good, until it is REALLY BAD! – This place is really good, until it is REALLY BAD, and it's this last part that has me vowing to shop anywhere else but there in the future. BURN #1: Took a nice % off coupon I received of theirs to use, and while I knew before going that it only applied to regularly priced items, I was stunned to find very little that wasn't already on sale. Outcome: WASTED TRIP and a distinct feeling of having succumbed to a cleverly disguised bait and switch. BURN #2: Called ahead to make sure they had the prepackaged metal frame set sizes of 20" and 26" that I needed and was told they had them in stock. Drove from Vancouver only to find that they don't even stock the 26" lengths, every other size but not that one. Outcome: Bought a more expensive wood frame set and 7 sheets of foam core but asked at checkout if the frame was returnable if it didn't suit my picture. They said yes, if not opened. BURN #3: Drove back over to return the frame set and the 7 sheets of unopened foam core 3 days later (turned out I had forgot the frames) and was told that foam core was not returnable because they would have already ordered in new replacement stock and that there'd be no room for the returned foam core, and that it said "no foam core" on my sales slip. So I read my sales slip: "All returns must have a receipt and be within 15 days. No Returns or Exchanges on Sale Items, Books, Easels, Pens, Markers, Papers, Boards, Spray Cans, Lamps, Portfolios, Presentation Cases, Projectors, Lightboxes, Special Orders, Used Items - No Exceptions." They are entitled to whatever kind of "Return Policy" they want, but as stated, it leaves very little that can be returned. I think paints are always "on sale." It's safer to think of their return policy as "No Returns or Exchanges - No Exceptions." When I got back and checked the frames that I had forgotten, the price sticker on the 20" set looked like the regular price, but the 26" set had a sale price sticker on it. I'm dreading the thought that this means they are not going to refund my money despite what I was told when I purchased them. "No Exceptions," right? But I shall try anyway and will probably be writing about BURN #4 here shortly.
A nice fully-stocked store if you don't mind a virtually "no return/no exchange policy," that you can't believe what they say on the phone, what they say at the check-out counter, or what the coupon offer is really offering. If I could just remember all these things going in, maybe I wouldn't feel so BURNED going out. I'm glad some people have done okay with them. I just haven't.
best I've seen in town... – I'm only in Portland a few times a year and I always visit this store. Of course it depends on what kind of art you but they do have an overall good selection.
For me it's the paper/pads; it 's hard to find Aqua bee and other heavy weight paper/100 lb pads where I'm from, as I write this, super deluxe pads are 2 for 1! compare online prices -you cannot beat this deal.
Wonderful experience – I'm just starting out in art, and went here to buy some painting and charcoal supplies. I found the selection to be so amazing that I could have easily spent hours in the store (actually, I think I did!), yet still organized enough for someone who needs to get in and out in a hurry. The staff members were all very friendly and helpful, and even took the time to answer some questions I had about paper for acrylic painting *while I was already checking out*! I learned so many new things just from that short conversation, and I can definitely say that I will be returning here as my experiences in art grow. I'm so glad to have found it.
what its good for – Columbia has the best price of brushes and the largest selection of the art stores in portland. it also has more craft like material, an amazing selection of specialty papers and craft kits. There is a student discount too, ask for it before hand and you''ll avoid the mad eye. Great staff who is helpful but will leave you alone to browse until you find what you need/want.
Saving time is saving money – Columbia Art has come a long way. They have been in the SE area for at least 30 years, but it
was when they took over the Lyman Slack building that they really offered just about
everything for the professional or budding artist. If you compare what they offer to Art
Media, Michael's or Utrecht, it averages out. I have never had a problem with staff, and
I don't feel like I am ever pulling them away from something 'more important'. Rita is
especially helpful, and I have sent many new painters to her so that they buy the proper
start-up supplies. I think it's evident that some of the writers have reviewed staff and
store based only on their personal agendas. Give some credit to a local family who has
done a good job of building their business.
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