by Terry Rogers
The COVID-19 Ingenuity series is to highlight non-essential businesses in Milford who are using unique methods to continue operating during the State of Emergency Closure. If your business has found unique ways to adapt during the closure, please reach out to us so that we can highlight your efforts.
When the State of Delaware announced that non-essential businesses must close in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Marcia Reed, owner of Gallery 37 in downtown Milford, knew she needed to put her creative hat on and develop ways to reach customers. She began posting videos on social media that described the unique artwork she offers in her store and the process seems to be working well for her gallery.
“It has been working out quite well,” Reed said. “People see the videos and then send me a message about the item. They can then come to the store by appointment only, they must wear masks and gloves. I only allow one or two people at a time to come look at the item closer and to make the purchase. I also have a sign on the door with my phone number so people walking by can contact me if they see something they want. Someone recently walked by and saw a sign I have had in the window for weeks that says “Hope.” They called the number on the door and came in to purchase it.”
Most customers are coming to the gallery for specific items and Reed stated that there are a few repeat customers who have made appointments to come in, but that a large number of those who are contacting her have never been to the gallery before.
“I think people are spending a lot of time in their space and noticing all the areas that need updating,” Reed said. “They see a wall that has had the same pictures for years and think “maybe it is time to change things around.” People have been spending more time online and on social media as well where they may come across my video or photos of my items and it strikes them as something they really like.”
Reed also believes there are quite a few people who do not enjoy online shopping which is why her methods seem to be working.
“There are a lot of people who don’t like to shop online,” Reed said. “They feel very strongly about art and feel it must be touched, held and seen in person. Often, an online photo does not do a piece justice. I have had people comment on Facebook thanking me for doing this. One of the most interesting things about this is that when people make an appointment, they are actually purchasing. Initially, I thought they would come in and browse without buying, but that does not seem to be the case.”
In addition to keeping the gallery running through appointments, Reed says she has been getting a lot of her own painting done, something she often does not have time to do when the gallery is open and operational. That has been a fun side effect of the quarantine that she did not expect.
Anyone who wishes to purchase items or make an appointment from Gallery 37 can do so by calling 302-265-2318 or send a message through the gallery Facebook page, Gallery 37: A Destination for Artful Living.