Sapphire Gallery and Custom Framing showcasing local artists
The Sapphire Gallery in Jamestown features artwork from more than 20 different North Dakota-based artists.
As a kid, Jill Edinger loved shopping here.
"I have very fond memories of shopping in downtown Jamestown and all the festivals they used to have," Edinger said. "To have a storefront in my hometown was really special."
Edinger is the owner of Sapphire Gallery and Custom Framing, a local art gallery showcasing 20 different North Dakota-based artists' work.
"I am a photographer and shortly into my journey I had a lot of requests from friends and family to buy my work," Edinger said. "I had been doing Dakota shows and other events with my photography.
"I just thought it would be practical to have a one-stop-shop where people could come to me instead of me hauling and setting up my work at shows on weekends. I also wanted to give my artist friends an opportunity to show and sell their work."
Prior to acquiring her location, Edinger talked to others in the artist community and asked if they would be interested in consigning their work to her gallery. The Jamestown business owner got an overwhelmingly positive response from her peers and began the search for the picture-perfect storefront.
My goal is to make sure customers get what they want.
Edinger said her shop was originally set to open in March of 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic shut down the store until April 29, 2020, when she officially opened the gallery for business.
During the nearly two months of closure time, Edinger was approached by one of her artist peers, explaining that a custom framing shop in Jamestown was shutting down and that the equipment was available for purchase.
Edinger said she thought taking on a custom framing business would be a great way to diversify the gallery and offer yet another service to potential customers. Edinger wound up buying the equipment and underwent some training with the shop owner to learn the basics of custom framing work.
In July 2020, just a little over two months after opening the gallery, Edinger moved into a new space next to her original storefront and became Sapphire Gallery and Custom Framing.
"We have everything from photography and paintings to river pour tables, hand-beaded jewelry, fused glass pieces, stained glass pieces — we have books by North Dakota authors and handcrafted wood items," Edinger said. "I had no idea I would end up with 20 artists but it's been great because there is such a wide variety of artwork."
Edinger's work is not just available to the regulars who come from a 30-mile radius to check out the gallery. She said she has sent work all over the country to customers who buy online at sapphiregalleryjamestown.com.
"I really, really love customer service," Edinger said. "That's what it's all about is building relationships with customers. Through word of mouth, those customers help to build your business.
"In these last two years, I have had many repeat customers come in for artwork and framing."
Edinger said while she has greatly appreciated the repeat business from customers and the relationships she has built with different artists and customers, it has been a challenge to keep her brick-and-mortar store on track, simply due to the increase in the cost of goods.
"I've owned businesses prior so I knew the responsibilities that went with owning a business but right now — in every element of business — the cost is rising.
"That has been an unforeseen challenge. I am trying to not make it as big of a challenge to the customers as it could be."
Edinger said she is trying to make up for the increased prices with a great customer service atmosphere where she can consult prospective buyers about how to incorporate specific pieces into their homes or places of business.
"Those relationships you build with customers help to promote your business," Edinger said. "My goal is to make sure customers get what they want.
"It's very rewarding to meet with customers throughout the day and know that they will be pleased with doing business at Sapphire Gallery."
Sapphire Gallery and Custom Framing
109 1st St. West
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday