BLICK History

.

How It All Began

Built on innovation and creativity, BLICK is a company of firsts. Dick Blick's first catalog originated in 1911 in the form of a small pamphlet issued by the company's founders, Dick and Grace Blick. Our first product was a lettering pen, the Payzant, which quickly became a bestseller. The Blick's first warehouse was their kitchen, and their first shipping department was the Galesburg, Illinois post office where they would send out their daily shipments.

As an advertiser and show card writer, Dick Blick traveled frequently from Galesburg to Chicago to study the newest designs in window displays and merchandise. While shopping in 1910, he noticed an odd-looking craftsman pen and immediately had the idea of adapting this pen for those in his trade. After developing the writing tool, news of the Payzant was picked up by popular publication, The Dry Goods Economist, and word spread quickly. The pen sold well and shipped fast, as Dick Blick fulfilled orders each and every day from the attic of his home complete with a typewriter, an ordinary kitchen table, and his stock of lettering pens ready to ship.

Determined for success, Blick soon added other familiar advertising industry items including sign writing products, paintbrushes for signage, and other lettering tools. He later added paints with additional colors, poster paper, inks, cardboard, and just about everything both the traditional and sign artist would need. Above all, he made sure his quality art supplies were always available for immediate shipment.

Today, we are in our third generation of family ownership and have become the largest and oldest provider of art supplies in the United States. Our products cater to the full spectrum of artists — from a child scribbling with a crayon, to art students in training, to well-known art professionals. Our excellent customer service, extensive selection, and competitive prices make us the best choice for seasoned and new artists alike including art educators, architects, designers, students, and hobbyists.

BLICK Milestones Timeline

  • blick-timeline-1911

    1911

    Dick and Grace Blick begin the company starting with sales of the Payzant Pen.

  • blick-timeline-1933

    1933

    BLICK's iconic "Running Man" is created to represent the company's promise of being "the fastest shipper in America."

  • blick-timeline-1948

    1948

    Robert Metzenberg purchases the company from Dick Blick, becoming the company's "second founder". The family-owned business is now in its third generation.

  • blick-timeline-1950

    1950

    BLICK's original Masterstroke brushes are promoted and become a success.

  • blick-timeline-1956

    1956

    The Grand Avenue warehouse is constructed in Galesburg, IL.

  • blick-timeline-1961

    1961

    BLICK celebrates its 50-year anniversary.

  • blick-timeline-1974

    1974

    The first BLICK retail store opens in Galesburg, IL.

  • blick-timeline-1984

    1984

    BLICK's annual catalog expands to 400-plus pages.

  • blick-timeline-1997

    1997

    BLICK launches its first website.

  • blick-timeline-2001

    2001

    BLICK's state-of-the-art distribution center is built in Galesburg, IL.

  • blick-timeline-2004

    2004

    BLICK acquires The Art Store chain of 11 retail stores.

  • blick-timeline-2007

    2007

    BLICK implements ACE program focusing on safety, attendance, quality, and productivity to serve its expanding workforce.

  • blick-timeline-2011

    2011

    The Art Media store in Portland, OR and the Primary Art store in Savannah, GA are acquired. A mural commemorating BLICK's 100-year anniversary is given to the City of Galesburg.

  • blick-timeline-2012

    2012

    BLICK makes its 10 millionth customer order.

  • blick-timeline-2013

    2013

    BLICK acquires 40 retail stores and paint manufacturing facility from Utrecht Art Supplies based in Brooklyn, NY.

  • blick-timeline-2015

    2015

    BLICK opens a third distribution center in Monroe Township, NJ to better serve east coast customers and retail stores.

  • blick-timeline-2016

    2016

    BLICK achieves Great Place to Work© certification for the first time in the 2015-2016 year. It continues its commitment to increase associate satisfaction and attract top talent.

  • blick-timeline-2017

    2017

    Highlighting unique associate talent, BLICK continues to invest in the Artists Serving Artists program and launches the first Associate Art Show to connect our team's artwork with creative customers.

  • blick-timeline-2018

    2018

    An industry first, BLICK adds a range of cadmium-free oil colors to its Utrecht line, and later adds acrylics and watercolors.

  • blick-timeline-2019

    2019

    BLICK receives certification as a Great Place to Work©, achieving this accomplishment for five consecutive years.

  • blick-timeline-2020

    2020

    BLICK offers Curbside Pick-Up at retail stores across the country as an option for shoppers to get the supplies they need quickly.

  • blick-timeline-2021

    2021

    For two straight years, BLICK is voted among America’s Best in Customer Service and Best Online Shop by Newsweek.