We started Zhki’s Gallery in 2000, I suppose it is my love for art that pushed me into opening a gallery full of so many beautiful things. We are a family run business or what you would call a small Ma and Pa shop. When we first opened our store we were truly overwhelmed by the beauty of all the items we had ordered. There was a point, when we first started ordering products, it occurred to me that all the things that I had picked out were things that I liked. I realized then that I needed other people’s opinion for products. We got our family and friends involved to help pick out items that they liked as well. We then felt like we had a more rounded selection of items for our store.
Once our store was set up and all the statues and sculptures placed on pedestals, along with all the other beautiful home decor pieces. It was an overwhelming experience. I had thought that our small city might not be ready for a store like ours. I remember to this day when we got our first sale. It took a couple of days before someone bought something. Most of the people that came through just looked and were in awe. As the weeks passed business got better and better. Learning what the people of our city wanted for their homes took a little trial and error but we quickly found out that it was wall art and wall sculptures. We also had a small area where people could sit down and choose things from our large catalog selection that we did not have in the store. This gave us an idea of what people wanted in their homes. There were times, many in fact, where we would order something primitive or not as elegant as the other pieces. This is where I learned a great lesson about art. It would be in the back of my mind that a piece was never going to sell. Who would want to buy this piece for their home? To my surprise, it was a lot of those pieces that sold really well. What I did learn is that what I like and what other people like are two different things. That is the definition of art right there the old adage that beauty is in the eye of beholder is so true.
As time went on sales got better and better. I remember my wife and I sitting in a restaurant and hearing the people in the next booth talking about our store. That was a great feeling knowing that we had made an impression out there. We also have people come through the store and say “It’s like being in a Museum in here” and we did have lots of browsers. One day a school teacher had come into our store and asked us if we would do a tour of our store for the kids, some of the photos you’ll see here are from that day. That was quite fun as the kids had so many questions about our products. We also met many local business people that have become regular customers. We would often chat about our businesses and what we do. We were doing really well up until 9/11, after which sales dropped, but we were still hanging in there with economy slowing. At that point we decided to build an online store, which was not an easy task back 2001. There were not many website options out there. We did find one that suited most of our needs. As sales continued to drop over the course of the next year I made a very tough decision to close our brick-and-mortar store and be just an online store, sometimes referred to as and e-commerce store. It was a very tough decision, but it had to be.
So we regrouped and formed a new business plan. We decided to buy an acreage with large outbuildings to store our inventory, where I now live with my wife and kids. It also allowed me to have a larger shop to make art work and sculptures of my own. We have two children of our own and had adopted two, and also had foster children at the time as well, so the acreage was perfect for the kids and for my work. This seemed like the best of both worlds we still had our store without all the overhead and could still deal in beautiful home décor items. This didn’t have all the glamour of the brick and mortar store but was a practical move at the time. I have been an art lover since I was a young teen, you can see my bio on Etsy, here I also sell sculptures and artwork that I have made. So now it seems I have the best of both worlds. I have an online store that leaves me free to make art of my own.
With the help of a wonderful friend, who has been my IT person the whole way through this website building and design, I could not have done it without her. Now days’ running a website is more work than when we first started. Now we have social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and many other social media requirements to try and keep up with. It is a nice escape for me to get away from the Internet and all its inter-workings that make up a website. My escape is my shop where I create sculptures of my own design, lighted pedestals, and even custom make sculptures for people or companies. Companies that may want something specifically designed for their lobby or their office. This usually starts with a rough sketch of an idea or a concept and goes back and forth between the client and myself, to arrive at something truly unique and one-of-a-kind for our client.
We still managed to hang on in the Internet world. It has gotten so big the larger companies just push right over the top of us. We do have, I would like to believe, better customer service and understanding of the product you are buying. When you order from us or call us on the phone you will most always deal primarily with just me. There are not 100 different departments here with many different people and titles. Don’t ever be afraid to call me to ask questions about products, materials they’re made from or how things might work together like a statue and a pedestal. We can also find other things that are not always on our website. Many of our larger companies’ inventories change almost on a daily basis so if you have something in mind let us know and we will see if we can find it for you.
I know this is been a rather long about us article but I want you to be comfortable with buying from us and satisfied with your purchase. We have been in business for many years now and are not a startup company or a fly-by-night type of company. One last thing I would like to say, and this may sound odd, you can go and do a Google search on Zhki’s gallery and look for complaints or any other negative feedback. At the present time of writing this I can find none. There is a reason for that it’s that I am more old school, which is “The customer is always right”. Yes it’s true there are customers that sometimes are not completely satisfied with their purchase. For one reason or another they don’t like the product, it is the wrong color or just not what they expected which is fine. It is my job to make sure you’re happy with your purchase. We have a great return policy. So the bottom line is that if you’re not happy, I’m not happy. We have not made it this many years without putting our customers first. Please feel free to call me with any questions or concerns before you purchase and definitely if you get something you do not like, we will make it right with you. You can also go out to a lot of the social media sites and find out more about me: Mike. Places like Facebook, where there is both my personal page and one for Zhkis Gallery. Other places like Etsy show some of my personal artwork and that I have done. We also have a YouTube channel. I’m definitely not an actor, but there are some helpful how-to videos there as well as some product videos that are shown three dimensionally. YouTube is always a work in progress. We have more videos in the works. Thanks for reading through our about us page. I hope you feel comfortable shopping with us.