The New Leaf Contemporary Art Gallery & Gift Boutique
on Beekman Street hasn’t seen enough interest to stay open and will end its short run in business Wednesday, its owner says.
“I’m not really upset for myself; I’m upset for the people who showed their stuff here,” said Jeromy McFarren, the art student and local homeowner who established the artist’s consignment shop last September.
His innovative concept initially garnered the interest of local crafters who submitted everything from hand-decorated shoes, handmade ceramics, makeup, jewelry, gifts and contemporary artwork for a majority-share of the profits.
But 30 Beekman St. is a hard spot to steer customer traffic to, despite the burgeoning artists’ community that resides farther north on the street.
“People are not participating,” McFarren said with disappointment. “They’d much rather go to the mall or Wal-Mart than they would a local mom-and-pop store.”
While the undergrad is heading back to his studies at Empire State College, he says he retains his belief that sustainable communities must rely on a strong culture of interdependence between local consumers and local business owners.
McFarren cited Burlington and Brattleboro, Vt., as successful examples of arts-minded, walkable communities where giant corporate businesses are kept at bay — at least from the downtown area.
Is there potential for Saratoga Springs to improve in that area? (Readers, feel free to post comments below to share your thoughts.)
“I would like to say yes, but I think the economy needs to be better for that to happen … but I hope so,” he said.
McFarren said he’ll turn his lease over to a French fabric artist, Francelise Dawkins, who plans to open a boutique there in March.
Check back with In the Biz for more details in the coming weeks.