I popped into Magnation on the weekend, arguably the best store in our city. Magnation is a magazine shop, selling every mag title imaginable. It's great.
There is no pressure to buy magazines when you're in the store. No pressure at all. So you'll often see people settled in for the afternoon, sitting with a stack of magazines to flick through. They also have free wifi, so it's a destination point for nerds like me when they're in the city.
They also serve good coffee, and I suspect it's the coffee that pays their bills. My understanding is that magazines are sold on consignment - meaning they can be returned if not sold at the end of the month. So if they don't sell any magazines, no harm done.
I'm wondering if you could open a gallery that works in this way. Yes, you cover the walls with great artwork that's for sale. But if no one buys any of it, you still have a comfortable place for people to hang out and buy coffee, and you pay your bills that way. Does the art have to be the primary source of revenue?
Now I'm sure some of the high-end art aficionados may consider this too pedestrian. But I'm realising that the ideal gallery that I'd open propably wouldn't be directed toward this group anyway.
You come across plenty of regular cafes that happen to sell art. Do you come across many galleries that happen to sell coffee? Does anyone know of any good examples of this type of gallery?
Photo credit :: Reinar