Askew-Taylor Paints, a family-owned business that has provided paint and art supplies to generations of customers who considered the Glenwood South store a Raleigh institution, is going out of business.
Kirk Taylor, the 74-year-old owner whose grandfather and father founded the store on Glenwood Avenue 70 years ago, said he’ll miss interacting with customers – especially the students full of fresh ideas – but it’s time for him to retire.
“There comes a time when you just run out of steam,” said Taylor, who noted that in recent years his daughter Hellen Taylor has been doing the lion’s share of the work.
“She has an engineering degree,” he said. “She can make more money doing other things.”
Loyal customers still have time to pick up any art supplies they might need.
The closing date, said Taylor, will be determined by how fast the store can sell off its merchandise.
“I’m sure it will take at least a month-and-a-half or two months to clear things away,” he said.
The store, originally called John Askew Paint Store, was founded in 1946 by John Askew and his son-in-law, Tillett Kirk Taylor, who went by T.K.
“My grandfather had a contracting office with another contractor a couple of blocks from here,” Kirk Taylor said. “He worked large crews of painters and paper-hangers and floor finishers and stuff, and he just needed a place to supply ... things for his own crews.”
Kirk Taylor, who is T.K’s son, started working in the store in 1957 when he was 15, and worked there part-time when he was a student at nearby N.C. State University.
A 1996 story in The News & Observer observed that “if you live in Raleigh, odds are pretty good that, at some time, T.K. mixed the paint in your house.”
The story also declared that T.K. and Kirk knew the answer to any paint-related question you could think of. “The Taylors’ blood runs blue with paint,” it noted.
The store diversified in 1967, when Kirk Talor put $1,100 worth of art supplies in a corner, and eventually phased out the original inventory as the art supplies business became dominant.
In recent years, however, business has been “mediocre,” Taylor said.
“In the ’70s and the ’80s, it was far more profitable,” he said. “But we’re still paying our bills and stuff.”
The two-story building that holds decades of colorful memories, which is owned by Taylor, is up for sale.