by Veronica Garabelli
Stacey Strawn and her husband, Stephen Dahl, had two objectives in mind when they opened Blue Moon Galleries in downtown Waynesboro eight years ago.
The couple already had two successful, online businesses including Silver Gallery, a silver and pewter gifts business. Strawn says that establishing a bricks-and-mortar store showed suppliers they were serious about the business. The shop also allowed them to become more involved in the Waynesboro business community.
Today, they are invested in that community. Strawn and Dahl own the Blue Moon Galleries shop and two adjacent buildings. In one building, they rent the top floor to Bindi Dog Yoga Studio while storing Blue Moon Galleries products on the bottom floor. A restaurant, the Green Leaf Grill, occupies the third building.
Strawn says that Waynesboro’s small-business owners are a close-knit group who are willing to help each other out. “I’m not sure I would have that same experience in a larger city — or even if we could afford to do it in a larger city,” she says.
Strawn believes being a small business gives it an advantage over larger competitors. Employees, she says, can provide customers with individualized attention. Say, for example, a customer wants a silver tray that sells for a couple thousand dollars. “When you call here, you are speaking to someone that has not only seen that tray but seen it engraved and knows what can fit on it,” Strawn says. “If you have specific question, they can get up, go downstairs, get it off the shelf and tell you a measurement and detail.”
While personal touch is important, a big part of Dahl’s job is monitoring what goes on in cyber space. He checks to make sure that the Silver Gallery website (and related sites brassgallery.com and annaleegallery.com, which sells collectible dolls) are showing up at the top of Internet search results.
Dahl must be doing something right. Since 2005, Silver Gallery has provided celebrity gifts for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The Silver Gallery website displays pictures of celebrities such as Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood showing off Silver Gallery products. “I feel like it put us on the map and put Waynesboro on the map,” Strawn says.
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