Pipe & Palette founder June Parker has had a love for small businesses for most of her life. A Dallasite who moved to McKinney, she has worked in several of the small shops in the historic downtown area.
“I kind of just grew a love for small business,” she says. “Having my own store has always been something brewing in my mind.”
After graduating from Stephen F. Austin University, June knew the time was right to take the plunge and open up her own small business. She found the perfect location in downtown Plano. “I really loved downtown Plano. Our downtown Plano location was the center of our business for over five years.”
Pipe & Palette grew within the bustling and vibrant community of historic downtown Plano and was a cornerstone of Plano’s art community. However, like most small businesses, when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in Collin County, June decided to reevaluate her business strategy.
In late September, Pipe & Palette announced that they would be closing their Plano location and moving into two new locations at the Shops at Willow Bend and Stonebriar Mall. They started teaching classes and exploring new mediums that took up much more space in their downtown Plano location.
“You know when COVID-19 hit, we really didn’t know what to do,” she says. “We were in the dark, just like everyone else. Fortunately, I have a really great community of friends that also own small businesses.”
In downtown Plano, Pipe & Palette hosted classes to teach artistic techniques to kids and adults alike who wanted to explore their creativity. Pipe & Palette also provided a wonderful home for local artists to sell their art and other small accessories.
Now, at their new Willow Bend location, June says that they’re able to take their splatter room, which could hold four people at the Plano location, and hold a party of twelve, all socially distanced, of course. Their party room can accommodate 60 people when the COVID-19 restrictions lift.
As with other small businesses, COVID-19 pandemic has also given them the opportunity to try out new ways to reach their customers. “We would regularly talk and get on group chats to discuss ideas and push ourselves to keep going,” she says. “We pushed ourselves to move all of our classes online and create at-home kits for our customers to pick up. It was the same experience as if someone was taking the class at the store. We would just pack up everything they needed.”
With the opening of two new locations, June says they can also bring on extra help to keep up with the growing demand. “When we were in downtown Plano, it was just my sister and me that worked. We now have a staff of three for each of our new stores.”
If you are interested in expanding your artistic reach or need something to do this weekend, Pipe & Palette have resumed their one of a kind art classes. Both their website and Facebook have all the information you need to schedule a class.