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Local store closes, leaving art students empty-handed

By Krista Savage, News Editor

Bill's Art Store is closing its doors after a year of struggle.

The business was located in Uptown Oxford, before it moved two miles away on College Corner Pike. At the new location, the store was out of walking distance for most students. As a result, the business took a huge hit.

The store's founder, Bill Berry, died four years ago. Barbara Berry, his sister, has since owned and managed Bill's Art Store as a tribute to his legacy.

In May 2014, Berry received a four-month notice through Oxford Real Estate from the Sigma Chi Foundation. She had four months to move out.

Berry set out in search of a new location to rent.

She found the store on College Corner Pike, a large multi-room building. It included space for shelves of art supplies, a print center and a large gallery room where Miami University students have previously displayed artwork.

Berry envisioned many goals for the store, such as community demonstrations, classes and art shows.

The problem, however, is the store is far out of walking range for students, situated two miles from campus.

"We had customers throughout the day when we were located Uptown, but now the convenience factor is gone," Berry said. "The thing is we have so much supplies that art and architecture students need that the book store just can't offer due to lack of space."

Berry has gotten in contact with the university as well as the art and architecture departments in an attempt to work out a deal and supply them with some of her tools after graduation. She said the university will have to adjust to provide the amount of supplies for students she currently offers.

She has also donated many of her supplies to local preschools.

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"In the end, it all has to go somewhere," said Berry. "I'm afraid most of it will end up compacted in a dumpster."

Berry is waiting until the summer to move out completely, because she does not want to shut down until students are done with classes and projects. They are her number one priority, she said.

"I had such high hopes when I moved out here," she said. "Now I'm packing it all up again. It's like déjà vu."

Many students are upset about the store's closing, as it has been a huge source for their supplies.

Sophomore Sarah Baker visited Bill's Art Store frequently last year when she was working on projects. However, due to time constraints, she hasn't been able to visit since they moved.

"I didn't know where they moved, and since I didn't see them every day anymore, I didn't think about it," Baker said. "Unless you really need the supplies I don't think students will be able to find the time to find rides or time to go there now. Most people just order supplies online."