German-based photo art gallery concept LUMAS has expanded into Canada, and its Canadian franchise partner says she has plans to open more locations. LUMAS’ first location opened in Vancouver last March, and a Toronto location opened late last month in Toronto’s Yorkville area. We interviewed LUMAS’ Canadian franchise partner, Erin Lang, for insight into the gallery concept’s Canadian expansion.
LUMAS was founded in Berlin in 2004, with the intention of bringing art photography to the public at accessible prices. It sells signed works by both up-and-coming and established artists, with over 1,800 works available with editions normally ranging between 75 and 150 prints. Various sizes of artwork are available, from small to full-wall sizes, with prices starting at as little as $100. The company has galleries across Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and Canada, with plans to expand into Australia.
We spoke with Canadian franchise partner Erin Lang, who explained how LUMAS isn’t a competitor to pricier galleries and if anything, it helps promote art collecting to the general public. After discovering the LUMAS concept while visiting New York City in early 2014, Ms. Lang decided to bring the concept to Canada, seeing a market for accessible artwork from top international artists.
LUMAS’ first Canadian location opened at 305 Water Street in Vancouver’s Gastown area last spring. At 3,400 square feet, the Vancouver store is one of the company’s largest, located on the ground floor of a heritage building on the same corner as Gastown’s iconic steam clock. The Toronto location, at 159 Yorkville Avenue in the former Four Seasons Hotel on Avenue Road, spans approximately 1,800 square feet. Although less than a month old, Ms. Lang says sales at the Toronto store are stellar and that pieces featured in its windows sell very quickly.
We asked Ms. Lang about her plans for more Canadian LUMAS locations, and she explained that her goal is to operate six Canadian galleries within the next five years. She has her sights set on opening in Montreal and Calgary, provided that retail space becomes available. Ms. Lang explained how rather than locating in a typical ‘gallery row’, LUMAS seeks retail space in high-traffic areas — a strategic idea, considering that an estimated 50% to 60% of sales come from walk-in visitors. Ms. Lang worked with Colliers as the brokerage for her first two Canadian deals, and LUMAS galleries are generally sized in the 1,800 square foot to 2,200 square foot range.