Every year around this time we evaluate where we are in our lives. That goes the same for businesses. We are coming up on two years in business and we are ready to take the next step. What is the next step? For us that is opening a physical location. There are many options out there. But we are looking at the proposed Patapsco Art's & Entertainment District that spans Catonsville, UMBC and Arbutus. The district has not been made official yet. But it's looking good. The addition of this district in the area will create a lot of opportunity for small business like this one to expand with community and financial support (in the form of tax incentives). Similar Arts & Entertainment districts have revitalized neighbourhoods. As I was driving down East Drive in Arbutus today I counted no less than 8 empty retail store fronts, There is only about 20 retail store fronts total. So that is nearly half of the available square footage up for grabs. We are exploring them all in the hopes that one of them will be our new home. Here is the timeline we are looking at for in preparation for our Grand Opening.
1) by Jan 31- view and narrow down retail spaces available in the PAED.
2) by Feb 28- negotiate terms and sign lease documents.
3) Mar 1-Mar 31: Renovate and outfit the space for use.
4) Early April: Soft opening and first bookings available
5) May 18: Grand Opening Social Hour
6) May 19: Grand Opening Open House (during Arbutus Arts Festival)
This timeline is definitely attainable. There is a meeting this coming Wednesday about the PAED. Hopefully, this will give us a clearer time-frame for when the PAED will be established officially. If you support the arts and support the Arbutus, UMBC, and Catonsville areas, please consider attending the meeting. Presented by the Baltimore County Councilman, Tom Quirk.
You may wonder, "How will a Photo Studio benefit the community?" Well, I can answer that... First, small businesses in general help to sustain communities. It keeps the wealth within the community, not sending your monies to big conglomerates and national cookie cutter franchises. Small businesses help to shape the attitude and attractability of a community. Bringing in young money and keeping it in the neighbourhood. An Arts and Entertainment district will add new vigor into the area. Those 8 retail spaces will go quick! It will draw visitors, for nights out or weekends away. It will draw students and artists to display their work and the larger companies and old money that will buy the artwork. Which in turn will dump more money into the community. As the wealth of the PAED rises, so will the available services for those who below the poverty level. The man that lives under the bridge on patapsco blvd near Ascension Church may be able to get help from more than just the Sunday church-goers. Non-profits will start popping up. Old buildings will be bought and transformed. The benefits are endless. But it all starts with entrepreneurs like me to get the wheel moving. I want to be here from the beginning. In 30 years, I want the kids in the area to know, if you want to get Senior Portraits done right you need to go to Freedom Photography. I want the university students to know if you want to sell your art, you should put it in The Freedom Collectives Gallery (more on that later...).
We know that not all goals are achieved. But we are hopeful that this is possible. We will need all of our friends to help spread the word. Send your referrals to us and we will be sure to take care of you and your friends!
Coming up later this month is Imaging USA 2019 in Atlanta. We will be attending and bringing back lots of know-how to blend into the business. See you later!