In 1990, when the art sales company where she worked went out of business, Brooke Morehead seized the chance to create her own operation. For the first nine months, she ran the business from her basement with help from her husband, Mike, and a part-time framer. After working from a rented office space for seven years, Brooke wanted a retail presence, and moved the company into a 6,000-square-foot auto dealership that dates back to 1928 in historic downtown Overland Park, outside Kansas City. For the last ten years, their daughter Megan Hoban has also been working for Prairiebrooke Arts to help them grow the business. Today they are a regional leader in original art and conservation-framing services for both residential and corporate clients.
“Our use of the Internet has undoubtedly helped us to adapt and evolve.”
Brooke Morehead, Owner
Although framing is a very traditional industry, Prairiebrooke Arts has embraced the web and Google products. They now distribute email marketing campaigns and newsletters, and rely on social media to communicate with current and prospective customers. The business has a strong, new website that they developed in-house, which includes a blog they use to educate and showcase their expertise. Google Analytics helps them keep the site’s content fresh and relevant. YouTube videos introduce visitors to the business as well as to featured artists. Gmail and Google Calendar help the staff to collaborate and keep in touch. Google Maps gives customers a 360-degree panoramic display of the gallery, “from the opening of the front door to the back of the frame shop,” Brooke says.
Prairiebrooke Arts has been in business for 26 years.
Brooke’s approach is working. In 2005 the company was awarded the 25 Under 25® Award by Kansas City publication Thinking Bigger Business and in 2014 was named the Kansas Woman-Owned Business of the Year in Retail. They now have eight employees with plans to add others, and in 2010 they launched an e-commerce sister company, Artsy (artsyarts.com), to scale the business, because, “there’s only so far you can go with brick-and-mortar,” says Brooke. With sales up by 20% in 2015 and the future looking bright, she plans to keep learning and using digital solutions. “With the Internet, you can be bigger than you are.”
For more information on the Prairiebrooke Arts case study, visit https://economicimpact.google.com.
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