JAMES McMANAMAN, 54, and David White, 48, both of South Philly, are co-owners of Absolute Abstract, an art store on 13th Street near Walnut specializing in giclee (pronounced GEE-clay) canvas prints. They also have a pop-up store at Christmas Village in LOVE Park, with a mistletoe-themed "Kissing Wall." Ten percent of proceeds from mistletoe sales will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation. I spoke with McManaman.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Absolute Abstract?
A: I was hotel-consulting in Philly, and [White] was thinking about opening an art store. I took a one-year contract at Sofitel in 2004 and our current storefront was available. I did a business plan and we opened in 2006.
Q: What's giclee?
A: It's a fine spray, a really good printer and the best way to reproduce art. Giclee on canvas doesn't need glass to protect it because it has a UV coating and is protected from humidity and sun.
Q: Where do you get your inventory?
A: We buy from six publishers in the U.S. and Canada and we also have our own line of Philadelphia images taken by our art director.
Q: How big a business is this?
A: We've had $350,000 to $400,000 in revenue per year. We have four employees, two full time and two part time.
Q: Who are your customers?
A: We have college kids, moms, young couples and empty-nesters. Corporate clients represent about 75 percent of our revenue. Our art is sustainable and made from reforested wood. We probably have 30 law firms, including Dechert, who are clients. Penn Medicine and Comcast are also clients.
Q: What does the art typically retail for?
A: Generally, it's $39 for a 12-by-12-inch piece, up to $339 for 3-by-4-foot piece.
Q: Where do you see the business headed?
A: We've discussed a second location to focus on corporate art and become more of a design studio.
Q: Is this the first year for mistletoe at the pop-up store?
A: Yes. We did research and said, "Let's tell everybody we got mistletoe, make it affordable and use some proceeds for charity."
Q: What's up with the "kissing wall"?
A: I've got a fake big piece of spinning mistletoe and you don't have to pay to get your picture taken at the kissing wall. If you want some fresh mistletoe, we have small bags for $5 each.