Let’s Love It – Not Lose It!

After announcing my desire to retire at the end of this year, I constantly hear “But I LOVE this shop; it would be so sad to lose it!” Everyone seems to link my retirement with a shop closure – which is NOT my desire!! I want to find someone, or some organization, that will pick up where I’ll leave off and carry on!!!

The July 19th tornado has forced many downtown businesses to look at new ways to adapt and thrive, and I’m certainly one of them. Thankfully, the gallery and Hellberg’s Jewelry store next door were totally intact and unscathed! But ‘business as usual’ will be inadequate in the coming month (years?) while downtown revitalization takes place. That’s why it’s time for a change, and the opportunity is HUGE!

Even before the tornado, I spent some valuable time consulting with a specialist from the Small Business Development Center. He was able to help me envision how my business could be restructured for growth and long-term sustainability. Based on that input, I’ve outlined a potential business plan, with the hope that a reader will say, “I can do that, and I want to be part of the revitalization as well!!”

To distinguish old from new, I’ve arbitrarily re-named the business “Iowa Arts, Inc.” The location, fixtures, furnishings, and everything that adds ambiance to the gallery will remain.

Iowa Arts, Inc. Business Plan

Vision:   Art lovers across the nation will turn to Iowa Arts, Inc. as a premiere source for works of art created by artists with Iowa roots.

Target market: Both central Iowans and people from coast to coast are prospective customers. They are typically college-educated, social media savvy, home owners and/or professionals with the freedom to decorate their work-spaces. More specifically, they have an appreciation for originality, and they appreciate the integrity of Midwestern artists. Learning and sharing the stories behind the art that they own and treasure is very meaningful to these consumers.

Strategic restructuring with stronger on-line presence as the overall goal:
1. Determine whether to keep custom framing department
2. Rename and re-brand
3. Devise an inventory system to bar code all art
4. Create phenomenal photography of each piece of art
5. Build an Instagram platform to depict the works
6. Develop a shipping department and implementation plan
7. Continue to build a base of “storytelling” about the art and the artists
8. Plan timely ‘Live Artists’ events, working with statewide groups such as Iowa Water Color Artists Guild
9. Continue to build the base of artists represented by the gallery across all mediums
10. Participate in the revitalization of downtown Marshalltown!

Transition: I’m adaptable, based on a new owner’s timing, talent, and goals! Let’s “Love It” and plan a celebration to announce this!!