"Wooden" You Like to Meet an Exhibitor?

Margaret Riley business crafts

By Margaret Riley
If you go to any painting convention, you head to the exhibitor hall and drool, plus spend money, at all the booths showing their latest and some of their old-time favorites. For years I have been a customer of Bear With Us. I thought you would enjoy knowing a little about their company plus what their hottest selling items were at the recent Heart of Ohio Tole convention (at the end of this article). Pattern packets sell well for them as they not only carry the pattern packet but the surface as well! An artist sometimes approaches them with a design for Bear With Us to produce the surface. Other times, customers will ask for certain items. Trends are kept up with, too.

Katie and Bob Van Horn started Bear With Us, Inc. in January 1983 in Kansas City, MO, which is where they originally hail from. In 2009, they moved their personal belongings PLUS their business to Florida. A family of 2 children (Genny with hubby Anthony and Chris with fiancé Lacey) have kept their lives full of enjoyment and pride, not to mention two adorable grandsons, Matthew and Michael! Their grandchildren live close, which makes it easy for Katie and Bob to spoil them!

Local craft shows were where the Van Horn’s first got started and later they ventured into the larger shows (Beckam Craft Supplier in California). Soon traveling was a part of their lives in being a part of the Society of Decorative Painter’s conferences, HOOT and other regional conventions. When Las Vegas Creative Painting started up, they participated in every show…and are still doing them! Three years ago, Katie and Bob partnered up with Larry and Cheri Rol, Darla Foreman, and Janette Ward to start the OKC Painting Palooza. What a busy schedule the Van Horn’s maintain…Las Vegas Creative Painting, SDP, HOOT, New England Traditions, and OKC Painting Palooza. Whew! Once they arrive at a convention, it takes TWO full days to set up! Big thanks to Donna and Peter Wood plus Marilyn Bradley-Bassi for sharing their man power help in all set-ups. Great, great friends indeed!
At their Florida location, they have five display booths available to shop at in their warehouses. If you are visiting in Florida, stop by (but call before appearing to be sure they aren’t out on the road traveling and working a show or on a much-needed vacation!). Every February, you can come be a part of their large Open House and meet their exhibitors plus shop! Next year it will be held February 1-2 with guest appearances from Larry and Cheri Rol, Janelle Johnson, Margot Clark, Sandy McTier, and Barb and Roland Bordelon (Etch-All). Sounds like fun!!

I asked Katie about her best sellers. She is sharing with us the hottest selling pattern packets at the most recent HOOT convention. But she stated, “After 35 years, we have seen so many trends come and go. Cut out ornaments, plates, wood turnings, and more have been favorites of so many shoppers!” Check out their inventory at www.bearwithusinc.com.





















Freezy the Melting Snowman pin by Jamie Mills Price (JMP167)












     Life's a Beach by Deb Antonick (DA53)


Velvet & Woodland Santas by Donna Wood (DW100)





    Who Let the Frogs Out? by Lisbeth Stull  (LST3)

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  • Deb Buck on

    Lovely article. The Van Horns are always friendly, creative and knowledgable. At HOOT, I didn’t get any of the above. I got bunnies!

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