Rolando Chang Barrero is a realist when it comes to business. If a company isn’t making enough money, you close it.
That’s exactly what Barrero, 54, chose to do with his 2-year-old gallery on Lucerne Avenue. The doors will officially shut Oct. 31. His works will be moved to The Box Gallery, a 4,000-square-foot space Barrero recently opened on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach.
Barrero spent a little time with The Palm Beach Post to discuss the move — and Lake Worth’s art scene.
Question: Why are you closing your Lake Worth gallery?
Answer: I really can’t handle three galleries (Lake Worth, Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach). I’m a single person and I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the galleries and quite frankly, the Lake Worth gallery, with all the support I get…it’s still a very seasonal business. The first year we did really well (about $90,000) and last year, we did half that. That was a big drop. It didn’t make sense to stay open anymore.
Question: What’s the toughest part about leaving Lake Worth?
Answer: My proximity to Compass Community Center(on North Dixie Highway). I love everything they do. I’ve held a lot of fundraisers there and I used to get a lot of business from them. Being next door to Bruce Webber’s gallery was a really good asset for me. We were working as a team. It’s going to be different. Not necessarily better or worse.
Question: How much did paying rent factor in your move?
Answer: Not much. The gallery covers it costs every month. But the profit margin that is part of the business plan was not there. If the business is not profiting, you close it. You don’t hold on to dead weight until you drown.
Question: How does the art scenes in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach differ?
Answer: I deal with young emerging artists in Boynton Beach, anywhere from Dreyfoos students to those on the university level. It’s a jumping off place for young people. Lake Worth is music and booze. The art scene is more arts and crafts and that’s what gives Lake Worth its charm. It’s recognized as a hippie enclave. As for fine art galleries, I don’t think most people think of Lake Worth as where to go to buy fine art. West Palm Beach is at the tipping point. It’s blowing up. There’s a lot of investment going on there.