Part II, Sunday, November 18, 2018
At the end of a three-hour meeting with the four previous owners, Linda Boutacoff, Judy Richardson (the one I had spoken with on the phone), Eve Margo Withrow and Lynda Hoffman-Snodgrass I knew that I wanted to try to make this happen even if I didn’t yet fully understand what that would mean or entail.
The previous owners, Linda, Lynda, Judy and Eve called a meeting of the gallery artists for the next afternoon.
That night I could barely sleep so I spent the time researching, learning and envisioning. I spent another few hours with Linda, Lynda, Judy and Eve the next morning to discuss my newly forming and highly flexible vision for the gallery’s future and more of the logistics for the sale.
One thing I told them at that meeting was that it might take me six months to go home, try to sell or close up my previous business, Arrowhead Framing, and prepare to move. They immediately agreed to remain in place performing each of their respective duties to keep the gallery running for those potential six months.
The next hurdle came on Dec. 7th (a day that lives …) when it was time to negotiate the lease. The gallery resides in the historic building of the Ashland Elks Lodge #944. Since the gallery has been in that same location for twenty years, it’s easy to understand that the rent being paid was a little under market value and the Elks naturally wanted to use the opportunity to renegotiate the lease to correct this. However, their first lease proposal to me made the whole venture seem like a formula for financial suicide.
That night was the gallery’s December First Friday event during which I was announced as the new owner of the gallery. The next morning Linda, Lynda, Judy, Eve and I were supposed to sign the paperwork for our purchase agreement. Instead I had to inform them that I needed to put everything on hold until the lease could be renegotiated and I had the opportunity to create a realistic plan for a sound financial future. This led to a brainstorming session between Lynda, Eve and myself during which the idea of a business partner emerged as one viable option allowing us to proceed.
To be continued …