The owner of a much loved Perth art gallery and picture framing business has reflected on its 42 years as it is put up for sale.
Frames Gallery, based in Victoria Street, has been a fixture in the Fair City since 1979. It is renowned nationwide for its contemporary art exhibitions.
Hugh and Julie Goring initially set up in Canal Street before moving to its current premises in 1991.
The business is up for sale as the owners look to retire.
Small wedding funded start of business
Hugh said the business was formed due to a surprising offer by his wife’s father.
“When Julie and I decided to get married her father gave us a choice,” he recalled.
“Did we want to have a really big wedding with a marquee and band? Or do we want a small wedding and he’d give us the money a big wedding would cost?
“We said we’d take the money.
“At the time I was working in Edinburgh as a picture framer. But even then setting up in Edinburgh was so expensive. That’s why we looked at Perth.”
Julie previously lived in Perth and her parents taught at Perth Academy.
So the couple took a day trip to conduct market research.
Hugh said: “I remember at the time one business said it was two or three months to frame a picture. They said they were just so busy.
“Well, we thought Perth could do with another framer.”
Telling off from bank manager
Hugh still has the detailed list of money spent setting up in Canal Street – a total of £2,243. The shop was tiny but the weekly rent was only £8.
On the first day of trading, the business took in £44.90 and the couple never looked back.
Although immediately popular, Hugh had a harsh early lesson from his bank manager.
He went to the bank to ask to borrow money to pay a VAT bill.
“The manager was like someone from the Victorian era,” Hugh laughed.
“He brought out an enormous cheque book and when he handed it over he said ‘I never want to do this again’.
“It was like a telling off from the headmaster. I said to myself I never want to be in that position again and I never have.”
Internet first for Frames Gallery
In 1995 Frames Gallery was the first Scottish gallery to sell art over the internet.
It was so unusual it was worthy of a news report on Grampian Television with Hugh wisely declaring he thought selling art on the internet was here to stay.
An extension to enable a large exhibition space followed in 1998.
Another major achievement has been organising the annual arTay event for Perth Festival of the Arts.
It sees around 3,000 people visit a large marquee filled with more than 300 paintings for sale.
‘I’ve been incredibly lucky’
But Hugh has most enjoyed engaging with the artists and customers.
“It always feels a great luxury to have a job and work that you enjoy,” he said.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky being able to work in the art world.
“I’ve loved doing it but after 42 years it’s time to think about retirement.
“It will be business as usual until we find new owners and we have exhibitions planned for the whole year.
“The hope is we find new owners we like who might continue in a similar vein – they would be buying a business that’s really something quite special.”
Allied Surveyors Scotland is selling the business.