the sam flax story

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 secured his first job at a small stationery store, learning the art supply trade. In 1919 New York City, Sam Flax opened his own store, aptly named 'Sam Flax'. After losing their contracting business during the Great Depression, Flax's three older brothers eventually joined the Flax Art Store, and would go on to open their own independent stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sam Flax was loved by his customers, and is remembered for his kind and understanding disposition. 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, Sam's sons Sidney, Leonard, and David joined the family business. After Sam Flax's passing in 1963, Leonard, Sidney, and David continued to grow and expand their father's legacy. Today, Sam Flax is proud to offer a wide variety of fine-art supplies and accessories, fine pens, drafting supplies, handmade paper and paperie, presentation materials, custom framing, boutique gifts, studio furniture, Tachen books, and so, so much more. 



In November of 2018, the difficult decision was proposed to close the Atlanta location. A combination of skyrocketing rent costs and the owner's growing age, closing the store seemed imminent. Instead, Mary-Ellen Long and Sophia Bowman-Albirt, both decade-plus employees, offered to buy the store from Mr. Flax, keeping the name and the legacy alive. Mr. Flax agreed and in January 2019, Sam Flax Atlanta officially reopened its doors at its new location.


Here in Atlanta, we are proud to be an employee-owned, locally-owned, female-owned, independent art store. We are honored to carry on the Flax legacy and will continue to supply you with the highest-quality products and service, maintaining Sam Flax's integrity, dedication, and innovative vision. 


The Sam Flax logo, designed by legendary designer Lou Danziger, is composed of 12 perfect squares

Portrait of Sam Flax

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Mary-Ellen Long and Sophia Bowman-Albirt at the Grand Re-Opening in 2019


View from the back parking lot on Deering Road