Crow’s Nest Art Gallery
La Porte, Texas
1. What makes your store unique?
We’re off the beaten path in a residential area of a small town 30 minutes from Houston. When we purchased our then 70-year-old waterfront home in 1970, we decided to turn the dilapidated guest house on the property into an art gallery. My intent was to primarily sell my own paintings, but I quickly added work by other artists, then pottery and woodwork by local artists.
2. What is your retail background?
I had absolutely no retail experience, having worked as a secretary prior to starting a family. But in my nearly 43 years as a gallery owner I have certainly gained a great deal of experience not only in retail sales, but in dealing with people.
3. What is the most popular product you sell?
In the early 1970s we noted the growing interest in Native American jewelry and cautiously purchased a few pieces. We’ve expanded the jewelry inventory greatly, and that has been our best seller for many years, although we still handle local art. We have things in all price ranges but insist that it all be authentic and handmade by Native American artisans, as per IACA requirements. We are a destination for both collectors and browsers who appreciate our huge selection of unique, authentic pieces at reasonable prices. Many of our regular shoppers live in Indian Country” but buy from us.
4. What are your top three retail tips?
My top three retail tips are: 1) Go out of the way to give good customer service; it’s not all about the “bottom line” 2) Don’t let your inventory get too low 3) Provide layaway.