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An Extra Window Turned Into a Popular Art Project For One Inventive Eyecare Pro

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After working two years for someone else, Dr. Sarah Jerome started her own business: Look + See Eye Care in Minneapolis in 2004. Seven years later, she moved it to a heavily trafficked street by the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

THE IDEA: Look + See began collaborating with local artists to create art installations that rotate every six weeks. “Amazing art is displayed in the window and visible from the street by bikers, runners and pedestrians,” Jerome says.

Look + See sits on the ground floor of a residential condo complex on historical Main Street. Until this year, the store encompassed two adjoining condos. Last year, Jerome bought a third condo and embarked on a massive renovation. When completed in July, the store had added two exam rooms and a larger front office for a total of 4,550 square feet.

“With our recent expansion, we’ve basically added 1,500 square feet and 600 frames to our inventory,” Jerome explains. “We’re a high-end optical with luxury independent brands like Scott Harris, Barton Perreira, ProDesign and Masunaga.”

THE EXECUTION: Next door is a historic landmark, the Pillsbury A-Mill, a stone building that was renovated four years ago and converted into artists’ lofts. A fortuitous encounter between Jerome and an artist paved the way for the interesting art collaboration.

“The artist spotted our 3-foot-wide by 8-foot-long display area in front of the clinic and she approached me to see if she could display art in the office,” Jerome says. “We have a ton of windows and we were always looking to keep our displays fresh with rotating POPs,” she adds. Look + See’s corner location means it has vast 15-foot high windows all around: 12 on one side and 12 in the front. Space in the front is now dedicated as a mini art gallery, which Jerome calls the “tiniest gallery in Minneapolis.”

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THE REWARDS: Since opening in the current location in 2011, Look + See has recorded a 10- to 15-percent increase in business each year. “I think it’s because of our location and our staff,” Jerome says. “We work hard to provide exceptional service that keeps our patients coming back.”

The Look + See Art Gallery is enticing more visitors. Phil Daniel was the first artist to display his architectural stained glass in the window. About 60 people showed up on Aug. 24 for what turned out to be a four-hour opening, including Phil’s dad who flew in from England. Jerome provides the venue and the artist serves wine and food.

Jerome is excited the partnership is working so well. “It’s a really cool way to tie in what the artists are doing with what we’re doing,” she says.

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Do It Yourself: Add Some Art to Your Optical Store

Adopt fresh and creative window displays.

Think about imaginative ways to sell products where everybody wins.

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Be open to unorthodox collaborations.

Art installations give patients a unique experience. What experience can you offer patients while they spend time in your office?

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