By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Artograph has had a unique niche in the art world since 1947, and now, the art equipment company has found its place in Delano, as well.
“It’s very peaceful out here,” Artograph president Don Dow said. “I like the tempo of the town.”
In February, Artograph moved from its Plymouth location to 525 9th Street South in Delano, the previous site of Railroad Equipment Company.
“It’s a little bigger, and it’s laid out much better,” chief operating officer John Davis said. By moving to Delano, the company was able to take advantage of a more effective workspace.
“Our facility and location is excellent,” Dow said.
Artograph manufactures projectors, light boxes, spray booths, and other tools for professional artists and crafters, as well as beginners.
“A lot of well-known artists use our products,” Dow said. “It helps them do their jobs more efficiently and enjoyably.”
Dow, who has been at Artograph for 31 years, said that creating the tools is a “passionate business.”
“Before coming to Artograph, I had been an art teacher and a tool and dye maker,” Dow said. When he joined Artograph, he found it to be the perfect way to combine his skills and interests.
“We’re very fortunate,” he said. “We have a unique little business in the art world.”
Artograph’s products can be found at retail stores such as Dick Blick Art Supplies and Michaels.
“We sell nationwide,” Davis said, adding that about 20 percent of the sales are international, going to 46 different countries.
“We are very well-established,” he said.
One of the company’s founders was Les Kouba, a well-known wildlife artist from Minnesota.
The biggest product line at Artograph is projectors, Davis said. Artists use them to cast an image onto murals, banners, or canvases.
This year, the company is moving to LED digital equipment, which will allow customers to project digital images, without having to print them out.
The company’s light boxes, which are used for scrap booking, card making, and tracing, are also moving to LED lighting.
“It’s much greater energy efficiency,” Davis said.
The LED is expected to last 30,000 hours, which translates to about 14 years if used four hours per day, Davis said.
From new technology to the cost-saving move to Delano, Artograph is always looking for ways to better serve its customer base.
“We’re kind of reinventing ourselves,” Dow said.
Despite worldwide success, Artograph continues to offer a “family atmosphere.”
The company has 18 employees, and very low turnover.
“There are several who have been here 30 years,” Dow said. “We try to be very employee-focused.”
Davis said he doesn’t foresee any new hiring in the near future, but hopes to position the company for that possibility when the economy is more stable.
“We’re preparing ourselves for when the economy does turn around,” Dow said. “We want to be one step ahead of it.”
For the time being, Davis said he is excited to be part of Delano.
“The local community has been very welcoming,” he said. “We’re glad to be out here.”
Artograph is making a conscious effort to utilize local resources, Dow said.
“We want to be involved in our community and see what we can give back,” he said.
Artograph doesn’t sell directly to individuals, but its products can be found at craft and art supply stores around the world.
A few of the company’s most popular items include spray booths, projectors, light boxes, and art studio furniture.
To learn more, call (763) 553-1112 or toll-free 888-975-9555 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More information is also available on the Artograph web site, www.artograph.com.