During the COVID-19 pandemic, many small business owners have had to make tough decisions about how to operate amid the chaos. But despite all the challenges, local business owners are still forging ahead and finding inspiration in the fact that we’re all in this together.
We recently caught up with Duane Reed, owner of Duane Reed Gallery, to learn how he’s adapting to the “new normal.”
What do you love most about your business?
Duane Reed: I take extreme pleasure from working with both the creator and those that support them. Art is essential to the human experience. It forms bonds, friendships, energy, emotions, and takes you to places you’ve never been. My days are filled with conversations that are both enlightening and challenging. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
How has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
Duane Reed: It has impacted the ability for people to see things in person, to experience what I experience everyday. The manner in which we have to strategize our relevance is daunting, and with our responsibilities toward the artists that we consider family; it is a duty to find ways to sustain and to creatively move forward. The virus has become something that I do not view completely as traumatic stress, but also must be seen as a time of period of traumatic growth, through rethinking what we must do to maintain our position and support the artists we represent.
How are you pivoting your business model to accommodate employees, customers, and vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Duane Reed: We are re-working our ability to present work more online and reach out to a broad community that is available through art platforms such as “artsy” and “1stdibs”, among others. It has pushed us to be more proactive with social media outlets and simply get back to communicating with those that have supported us for years. Currently, I have no thoughts of downscaling or making any drastic moves otherwise. We are currently reworking our website and will do a relaunch shortly.
How can community members continue to support your business during this challenging time?
Duane Reed: Please visit us online at duanereedgallery.com. Or watch our social media postings through Instagram @reedgallery. And certainly, spend money. Art is part of the survival kit to seeking solace or engagement with oneself and others. It’s part of what makes us all human and alive. We want to still be there at the end of this and hope the community’s support helps maintain our presence. We will still continue to show art, it’s just a matter of how and at what cost.
What are you doing to think proactively about your business when the economy is reopened?
Duane Reed: We are in the midst of learning what the “new normal” might be by adjusting to and learning new behavior. I am spending a good deal of time speaking with others in my field to gain insight and study what is going on right now and how they are reacting to it. We are reconsidering the impossible vortex that had become exhausting with numerous art fairs and continual rotation of gallery exhibitions. This time of quietness has been also a time to recharge, rethink, and relook at what we have been doing in the past.
*If* you have any free time, what are you reading, listening to, creating, watching, cooking, baking, or doing to pass the time indoors? What are you doing for health and wellness?
Duane Reed: I am still spending time working on gallery business. I am lucky that we can do much of what we do remotely. However, it does give me time to catch up on all of the movies and series that I never have time to see or make something that I would never have had time for in the past. I do miss the gym and will need to get back at it when the time comes. Currently, I am reworking my little city garden to look as sumptuous as the Missouri Botanical Garden. If it works, I’ll post images.