About Us

ARCH Supplies opened in November 1978 in a small back alley in what was then the design district. That was a time when the majority of architects, landscape architects, urban designers, structural engineers, graphic designers, illustrators and ad art directors were all located within a 5 block radius. ARCH was located at the hub and functioned as the CHEERS of the design community. Times changed. Design professionals scattered all over town as rents rose, and they no longer needed most drafting supplies as computers came into pervasive use. Happily, students continue to be taught how to draw, so there is still a use for the evocative tools and supplies upon which ARCH is grounded.

Today, the store remains a community-serving, independent retailer guided by the values of its founder/owner, yet directed on a day to day basis by its staff, most of whom have been with ARCH for well over a decade. There is no more dedicated, nor knowledgeable crew to be found in the Bay Area. Their passion is helping people who have ideas to realize them in 2D and 3D.

ARCH is truly a one-of-a-kind, focused as much (or more) on the discovery inherent in rummaging around the nooks and crannies of a brick and mortar "candy store" for designers as it is on the bottom line. Prices are as high as they need to be to cover cost-of-living/ quality-of-life/ health insurance of employees, while low enough to be competitive with big box and online retailers if not on an item per item basis, then on a shopping cart to shopping cart basis. It carries the basics needed by many, as well as the esoteric, desired by only a few. Only through the patronage of a diverse set of customers can it continue to carry the hard-to-find treasures which make it such a beloved destination in the local design community.