The opening of The Collective Retail and Artisan Shops in downtown Williamson has brought a variety of new small businesses into the downtown Williamson area– whether you’re looking for gifts, food, clothes, or books, you’re bound to find what you are looking for. In addition to all that, it is also the home to local photographer Randall Sanger’s brand new gallery, The Sanger Gallery.
A Visual Journey Through the Mountain State
Randall likes to think of this location as “a visual journey through West Virginia and beyond,” and it features images from his travels throughout the state and throughout the region. The Sanger Gallery offers a variety of prints for sale, including various sizes of matted prints, canvas prints, and images on metal, as well as his book.
Opening this gallery has long been a dream of Randall’s. “While I am represented by several galleries in West Virginia, and my work is in various retail locations, it is such a great feeling to have a place to call my home, especially in my hometown. ” he says. He is excited about the support local residents have offered to him, and to the arts in general, and he thinks that having a “permanent art space in the center of town” for people to enjoy “just felt right.”
A Perfect Fit
Working with The Collective to open this business was a natural fit, since Randall is the Executive Director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, and worked with President Chris Dotson to grow this space. “One of the things myself and Chris discussed was how to grow the retail environment in downtown Williamson,” he says. “While there were many ideas shared, we always came back to what we felt was the best solution, which was a retail and artisan cooperative.”
When their dream became a reality through their partnership with First National Bank, The Collective was born, and they enjoyed the experience of watching the large space be transformed to house eight small retail businesses.
Exciting Future Opportunities
Randall has found the possibilities opened up by The Collective very exciting for creatives in the community. “I am excited about the possibility of my gallery and The Collective laying the groundwork for other artists and artisans to get a start on their own artisan based business,” he says. “Ultimately, I’d love for my gallery and other artisan businesses to grow so much that we can develop a stand-alone artisan-based cooperative here in Downtown Williamson.”
Randall notes he enjoys the freedom that this opportunity has granted him. “It has been fun to showcase my photography without the constraints found when working within the rules and space limitations I’m often met with in other locations,” he says. This freedom has also allowed him to explore new products and ideas inside The Collective, without having to worry about their success elsewhere.
He has also found working alongside other businesses to be beneficial. “Networking and promotion are key, and every business in the Collective has been great at promoting one another,” he says. “As a part of The Collective, I am able to network with other small business owners to develop ideas that will help the town of Williamson continue to grow.”
Opening The Sanger Gallery has been beneficial in a variety of ways, but Randall’s favorite part is “having this wonderful opportunity to showcase my work in my hometown.” He says. “I truly appreciate all of the good words and the amazing support shown not only to The Sanger Gallery, but to The Collective as a whole. I’m so excited to watch us all grow!”
To keep up with Randall’s work, check out his Facebook page.
Photos from Randall Sanger Photogrpahy Facebook page.