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VOL. 125 | NO. 55 | Monday, March 22, 2010

Perry Nicole Fine Art Set to Close

By Eric Smith

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Perry Nicole Fine Art will close shop at Chickasaw Oaks Village at the end of the month and reopen as David Perry Smith Gallery in Midtown on May 1.

Gallery co-owner Nicole Haney said she will no longer be directly involved with the venture, but that her partner David Perry Smith is developing a new incarnation of the business in a new location.

“The next step of the story is that the gallery will be reinvented by owner David Perry Smith on Central Avenue,” Haney said. The exact location is not yet known.

Smith and Haney opened Perry Nicole Fine Art 12 years ago. The duo worked for a year out of Haney’s house and then moved into the backside of Chickasaw Oaks for five years before moving to the Poplar Avenue side.

The gallery will officially close March 31.

“It’s been a wonderful experience, and we’re going to show people how you go out of business properly in Memphis, Tenn.,” Haney said. “David is going to resurrect any of the artists that want to show.”

Leonard Lurie of Lurie & Associates LLC, Chickasaw Oaks’ leasing and management company, said the closure is a “sign of the times” in light of the woes that many retailers are enduring.

“That is absolutely discretionary income and it’s been a struggle for them,” he said.

Despite the closure, the 2,500-square-foot bay that Perry Nicole occupies in the 67,525-square-foot center already has a tenant waiting – a medical aesthetics clinic.

“The stimulus for us to move on was that (Lurie) found someone to take our lease,” Haney said. “We didn’t want to leave a blank spot.”

Lurie said Perry Nicole’s lease wasn’t expiring for another nine months, but because he knew of their situation, he worked to land someone who was ready to move quickly.

“I did all I could do to try and help them find a replacement tenant, and fortunately we had one,” Lurie said.

Chickasaw Oaks, which fronts Poplar Avenue and Walnut Grove Road and sits in between the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library and East High School, was built in the 1970s.

As for the new gallery that will open when Perry Nicole closes, Haney said Memphis is a “fertile artist community” and it’s important for artists to have a place to show their work. That’s why Smith will carry on with the new venture and why Haney will keep appraising art and remain active in the art market.

Also, the Perry Nicole Web site will “continue for months,” Haney said, because it provides a venue for the gallery’s artists to sell their work. In fact, the success of the Web site created the need for this move.

“People have changed the way they buy,” she said. “When people buy now, they will usually go to their computer, so our Web site became critical about four years ago. A lot of our sales were supported by our Web site.

“It was a major tool. It probably became more important than the physical location.”

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