In 1911, Fred Curry opened his art supply store at the corner of Yonge St. and Bloor St. in downtown Toronto. Initially, he arrived artist materials and photographic equipment, the centre of his business was custom framing and selling etchings, oil paintings and watercolours.
Customers would often visit Fred to learn of his latest European buying trip while their horses were shoed and new harnesses and bridles were fitted at the blacksmith shop two stores north of Curry's. Business thrived during the 1920s as framing and gallery sales moved his enterprise forward. The depression of the 1930s, drove Fred and many others to the brink. The store stayed open from 7am to 11pm six days a week.
During those difficult years, the family lived above the store and, while Fred rested, his young daughter would staff the empty store. To survive, Curry's stocked increasingly more fine artist materials. Fred bartered these materials to struggling artists in exchange for their art which he, in turn, attempted to sell in his gallery. Several of Canada's most famous artists worked closely with Fred during this period. The gallery framing business, once so heavily relied upon, had to close after Fred Curry's best framers did not return from the Second World War. The company was then forced to change direction and become a leading supplier of drafting materials to the fast growing Canadian aircraft industry by the mid 1950s.
With the advent of dry transfer lettering, Curry's began supplying to advertising agencies, art design houses and the government. Dry transfer lettering was a significant part of the business during the 1960's, 70's and 80's. Since then, increasingly sophisticated computer graphics technology rendered that business obsolete but opened the door for colour graphics output devices and supplies. Throughout all the stages in the development of Curry's, artist materials were the glue that held Fred Curry's dream together. The heart of Curry's business today is selling Tools of Creativity - quality art supplies. Curry's now has nine stores located throughout southern Ontario and offers an exciting selection of art supplies and creative materials, all with competitive, artist-friendly pricing.
Fred Curry's Values: Quality, Service and Integrity have continued to be the critical mission in this family run business now in its fourth generation. Fred Curry's great grandchildren now actively propel the company forward, having adopted Fred's values, for both customer service and for life, as their own.
Fred's little shop has evolved over the years expanding to several Curry's Artists' Materials stores, including our massive Queen St. West, Toronto flagship location. We also continue to grow our website www.currys.com and ever-inspiring & evolving social media platforms. As always, the focus of Curry's is to continue serving artists of all ages and abilities, providing quality art supplies and exceptional customer service for creative explorers and professional artists alike.
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