The Saratoga Sun -

Fashion, furs and fine art

Laura M to move apparel into Blackhawk art gallery, merge lines


Laura Morrow, the owner of Laura M is expanding her business to include art and home furnishings. Morrow’s business will expand

“As everyone knows, Blackhawk Gallery is closing their doors, Dec. 6,” Morrow said.

Morrow started talking with people when Gwen Gorton and Patty Lufkin announced they were closing the doors in December. Gorton said she and Lufkin are not retiring, they are moving onto new things.

Morrow, who believes the building is the cornerstone of downtown Saratoga feared there would not be a retail business on the corner of First Street and Bridge Avenue where the Blackhawk Gallery is located.

Morrow said not having the retail presence on the corner would put a pretty big dent in the town’s economic attraction. Morrow said the gallery is a large attraction for out-of-town people and the gallery has been in Saratoga for more than 30 years, Lufkin has owned it for the past 10 years.

“I am growing out of my space … and I talked with Gwen about the space and how much I thought I could afford. Patty Lufkin, the owner of the gallery, and I visited and we came up with a rent I thought I would be comfortable with,” Morrow said.

Morrow, who has been in business for more than 34 years, 18 of them in Saratoga, has been renting a space in the building for the past four years.

When Morrow moved to Saratoga 18 years ago, she started in the Blackhawk Gallery building where the radio station is now located.

The gallery is two-and-one-half times the space Morrow is renting now, and with the gallery art all consignment work, Morrow decided she wanted to add items to her store that she felt weren’t offered in other stores.

“Hat Creek Saddlery carries a lot of the western home furnishings,” Morrow said. She didn’t want to take away from their niche, so the home furnishings she is offering will be more contemporary. Morrow is already getting items into her current location to see how they well they tell.

“We will have some tables, mirrors, candles, candle holders, wind chimes and garden gifts,” Morrow said.

“I think it is something the town needs because you really can’t buy a different gift,” she added.

With the limited retail stores in town, Morrow said she saw the opportunity to offer something the others stores do not.

Morrow is bringing Joel Johnson’s artwork into the gallery too. “I am very excited about that, his work hasn’t been here for a long time.” Johnson, whose watercolors earned international fame in the art world, grew up in Sinclair and lived in Saratoga for several years before moving south.

“I am excited about Laura’s enthusiasm and her passion, and just the idea of doing something different, and trying to make a go of it,” Gorton said. “The building really is a main focal point and it needs to be retail,” Gorton said.

Gorton said she will be working as a consultant for Morrow.

On Thursday, the two businesses are hosting an open house to share the news and feature the local artists in town.

“Something the gallery has never done is offer art at a discount,” Gorton said. That changes Thursday as art by Dawn Senior-Trask, Trisha Kauffman and Jerry Wood will be offered with a 10 percent discount. Senior-Trask, Kauffman and Wood will also be at the reception.

“Our artists are very excited and some of them have added another 5 percent,” Gorton said. That means early Christmas shoppers can get a 10 to 15 percent discount, depending on the artist, at Blackhawk Gallery.

Morrow invited Dixie Berger, of Cowboy Couture, to be in Morrow’s store during the open house with her newest products.

Even though Blackhawk Gallery is closing their doors Dec. 6, Morrow plans to stay open to around Jan. 10, 2015 in her old location.

This winter and spring she will begin to remodel the gallery to fit her style and hopes to have the doors open to the public by April 15, 2015.

Morrow said she is not increasing her clothing line. The art will be half of the store, Morrow explains, with some of the art mixed with clothing. From May until October, the store will be featuring an artist the third Thursday of the month, Morrow said.

The name of the store will change to Laura M Gallery featuring Blackhawk Gallery and Rocky Mountain Furs.

Morrow said she has chosen 28 regional artists to be in the gallery and the artwork will include more than western art. “I talked to Jerry Wood, who is very excited that he will be able to show his abstracts,” Morrow said.

Morrow jokes she has been around the block in the Blackhawk building. “I moved here just to do wholesale,” Morrow said. She saw the potential for the retail when she moved her store in the building next to the Saratoga Sun. “We were there for 11 years,” Morrow said.

When Morrow closed that store, she was working with the Wyoming State Penitentiary and working on her wholesale line again. That partnership collapsed and she opened a little shop across the street from the post office. That move gave her time to take some time off and reflect on her future plans. When the location next to Blackhawk opened up, she moved in to expand her retail business.

“My business has just boomed since we moved to this corner,” Morrow said.

Morrow will use additional space in the back of the building to work on her own designs and to possibly teach workshops. “It has been exciting to see what Saratoga has offered me and been able to give me over the 18 years I have been here,” Morrow said, who also had a successful business in Cheyenne for 16 years.

Gorton said she excited to see what Morrow will bring to the gallery. “I always felt like the gallery could do more as far as inventory,” Gorton said. “It is exciting to see some fresh air coming in and re-inventing it.”

Morrow said she is already planning on how to tastefully display the artwork, décor and clothing. “I think people will get lost for hours looking at everything.”

“It will be a destination,” Gorton said.

Morrow laughed. “Yes, it will be a destination of fashion, furs and fine art.”


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