Good friend Pat and I were on the road Wednesday just doing girls day out stuff and stumbled upon a Stained Glass shop in Wilmington, NC. I had never seen it before - not that I get to Wilmington very often - so I thought it was new. Asking shop owner Ed, "so how long have you been here?" "Thirteen years" he replied! YAY! They have everything!!! And while it is not much closer than going to Chesapeake (where I have had to go to actually SEE glass before purchasing) it IS still in NC! I will definately be going back.
I have discovered from previous stained glass shop owners that business is struggling to stay alive. One of my supply sources in Newport News had a beautiful, and very large, store. Their selection of glass was outstanding. They always had a large project (or two) going on in the shop area and plenty of gift items for sale. Headed up there (to VA from NC) to make a purchase one weekend and discovered they had closed! When I finally caught up to the owner he said he just decided to downsize and work out of his home. It was a constant struggle to make ends meet and was taking away form his joy of the art. He welcomed me to shop from his supply in storage but I never did. I just found another business close-by (in Chesapeake) and have been going there ever since.
Stained Glass artists can order online also. I generally purchase items on sale but have found over the years that buying glass via online ordering is VERY expensive as well as time consuming. A puchase of a piece of glass can be as low as $6 or $7.....shipping starts at about $19!!!! Same with ordering chemical items - the shipping on those is CRAZY expensive. And shipping can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks! Add to shipments arriving broken and you have more wait time.
Right now I am fortunate enough to have a good supply of just about everything as I have been gifted quite a bit of glass and bought out another home artist. So when I found Ed I was at a loss! I had no immediate needs! I didn't dare look at his glass selection. I ALWAYS buy more glass than I need (right now). Found a few things to buy while I was there though. Have to keep my supply shops in business!!!!! And I will likely make another trip to Wilmington next time I DO need glass.