Location is everything in business — and sometimes in memory, too.
Marvin’s Place Art Gallery, set to open this Thursday evening at 103 West Main, is housed in the same place where owner Todd Yeager’s grandfather once owned a department store.
“Yeager’s Department Store was here in the 1940s, 50s and 60s,” Yeager said. “The store was more clothing than what you’d think of as a department store like Sears or something. I think it closed in 1971, so he was here almost 30 years. Lots of people remember me as a kid, running around the store.”
Yeager stepped into the opportunity to reclaim the space through family as well. “It was really cool that we were able to get this. My nephew actually wanted to buy the building next door. The same person owned that building at [the property at 103 West Main]. He wanted to sell them both — and the fact that this was actually part of my grandfather’s store made it an easy decision. We are glad to bring it back into our family.
“The store was in this building and the one next door,” Yeager said.
The gallery still has several wood fixtures his grandfather, Marvin, built decades ago.
“The woodwork on the main floor, they did all that finish,” Yeager said. “Unfortunately other people had painted over the wood, but it’s all still original to the old store. At one time, I was told, the Shannon Crites School of Dance was in this space. I was told the floor was reclaimed from the Ardmore Middle School Gymnasium.”
The building has been empty for a while, since its second life as the dance studio.
“It was mostly storage,” Susan Pfau-Yeager said.
Above the gallery, the family plans to have additional gallery space, as well as offices for themselves.
“There will also be a practice studio,” Pfau-Yeager said. “I plan to put a piano [next to the office] for voice and piano lessons.”
The historic location seems to draw artists and artistry, from the contents to details in its architecture.
“There are carvings above the second story windows too,” Pfau-Yeager said. “They really put a lot into making [the building] visually appealing.”
Yeager isn’t alone in reminiscing about the former life of the building.
“Listening to my dad, it was an art form the way they curated the front store windows and how things were displayed in the store,” Yeager said. “They worked hard to make everything look the best that they could — this needed to be next to that, and that sort of thing. It was a little different take on the artistry of it, but it was art, for sure.”
The gallery will open Thursday with a selection of pieces including jewelry, mixed media, photography and paintings. Artists include Alan Burris, Sharon Burris, Denise Dorne, Rory Combs, Janet Alexander, Carolyn Arcure, Ivy Heymann and Alan Miner.
The opening for the gallery will be come and go beginning at 5 p.m. Pfau-Yeager said the Musical Theatre Ensemble Class will perform Final Project at 7 p.m. For more information or photos of some of the available art, visit their website at https://marvinsplace.gallery.