An art studio and furniture gallery that opened four years ago amid a wave of boutiques coming to Madison Street will soon leave Forest Park’s retail corridor.
Jennifer Taylor, owner of Painted Board Studio, said that at the end of May, she would close her furniture refinishing business at 7418 Madison St. and move it to her hometown of Riverside, where she can concentrate on custom orders rather than walk-in sales.
In addition to selling furniture that she custom-painted, Taylor hosted workshops in painting your own furniture.
Taylor said she didn’t lose money on the venture, but that the retail aspect of her business has been a struggle. When the studio closes May 30, she will have spent four years on Madison Street, which she said falls roughly in line with her original plan of keeping the shop for five years.
“Art is not the easiest business,” Taylor said of the shop’s closing on Madison Street. “It’s also not like I had a gift shop with lots of little things to buy.”
Taylor’s neighbor and landlord David Manola, who owns Boulevard Fine Arts gallery at 7416 Madison St., said he’s heard from several prospective tenants and is looking for a business of a similar ilk to Taylor’s.
“I’m looking for a business that I can open the door between the two stores for,” Manola said.
An interior design firm, an artist and a dealer in an antique furniture have all inquired, according to Manola.
“I think it would be great to get another arts-type business to take the space there,” said Laurie Kokenes, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Development. Kokenes said the chamber was aware of Taylor’s pending exit from the local business community and that members were sorry to see her go.
Taylor had worked with other entrepreneurs along Madison Street to help promote the retail corridor as a shopping destination, Kokenes said.
Painted Board Studio is moving to a building at 32 E. Quincy St., which is owned by the Riverside Arts Center. Taylor, a founding member of that group, is its vice president. The Riverside Arts Center has been hurting in recent years, said Taylor, citing another reason for relocating her business. She’s optimistic that a storefront studio can renew interest in the arts center.