The Story Behind the Legacy
Not a day goes by without someone noticing the old photograph of our founder hanging in our store… the dapper looking gentleman in a fedora. Since so many of you are interested, we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce him.
Sam Flax arrived in America from Eastern Europe in 1898 at the age of seven, with a dollar in his pocket. He started working at a young age to contribute to the family’s fund to bring additional family members over from Europe. He had his first job at a small stationery store, and then opened his first art supply store in New York City during the Great Depression. It was successful. He helped his three older brothers, and their children open their own independent stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Sam Flax was loved by his customers. Norman Rockwell and Zero Mostel were poor kids trying to make a name for themselves in the art world: they had little money to pay for their supplies, so Sam said, “take what you need, and pay me when you can.” They did take, and they did pay. Even today, we often hear how Sam helped his customers with supplies and even vendors by giving them their first order.
After the Second World War, his sons Sidney and Leonard entered the business, and later David joined them. They maintained that same commitment and three qualities Sam was so well known for… honesty, hard work, and charity. The business expanded to more stores. Sam Flax died in 1963. His sons continued to expand the business. They grew the product selection to include interesting, high design, quality items that artists and creative people would want: Flax was the first to have a fine writing instrument department… previously these items were found only in stationery stores. Flax was the first to import French presentation products, and European drafting furniture and German gas lift chairs with five prong bases.
After selling off some stores in New York City recently, Sam Flax now has stores in Atlanta and Orlando. These stores offer a great selection of art and drafting supplies, unique papers, readymade frames, custom framing, boutique gifts, office and studio furniture, presentation materials, Aeron chairs, personal organizers, fine pens, paper arts, laser printing and Taschen books.
Sam Flax shall continue to provide our customers with excellent service, knowledgeable associates, fair prices, a creative store environment and interesting products.