The business had been located in Flagler Beach for over five years.
After five years in Flagler Beach, Ocean Art Gallery is moving to Ormond Beach, according to gallery owner Frank Gromling, who cited difficulties with the city of Flagler Beach and an overall decrease in business as reasons for the move.
The Beverly Beach resident has had his facility at 206 E. Moody Blvd. since January 2016.
“I had the final recognition that Flagler Beach nor Flagler County is sufficiently strong enough to support, financially, by purchasing artwork, a gallery like this,” said Gromling, who has original pieces valued from $265 to $7,500. “Over the last 5 1/2 years, I’ve found that there’s not enough support financially to be viable. That’s a major factor.”
Gromling also said he had a hard time working with the city. He petitioned to take the lead on getting the crosswalk near his business upgraded for proper signage to increase traffic to the gallery, which had been down 20% from last year. It took three months to get a response and seven months for the crosswalk to be upgraded. In June 2017, Gromling applied for two wayfarer signs for pedestrian traffic. Seventh months later, he canceled his order.
Flagler Beach City Commissioner Eric Cooley said he did not agree with Gromling’s sentiment about the city not cooperating.
“I really like Frank. I like the gallery. I’ve been there a bunch,” he said. “But, I attend every city meeting and every economic meeting that they have. My only concern is that we’re blaming folks who don’t deserve to get blamed.”
Cooley, who also owns Flagler Beach’s 7-Eleven at 408 S. Ocean Shore Blvd., added that the hurricanes over the past few years have left the beaches in rough shape and that all the area’s businesses are still feeling the effect.
“As a business owner, I think you have to take ownership of bringing people to your business,” he said. “As far as access to the building and the role that the city plays, it’s really a non-issue, and I think he’s putting a disproportionate emphasis on it.”
Gromling said he started looking for a place to move the gallery about three months ago. The new place had to meet several conditions: It had to be in a solid commercial market, have high household income, have high vehicle and pedestrian traffic, have a good reputation and be visible. He looked at seven locations. Granada Plaza checked every box.
Ocean Art Gallery will be situated at the corner of Granada Boulevard and State Road A1A in Ormond Beach in a 3,000-square-foot space.
Gromling will still have a connection with Palm Coast due to his ties with Grand Living Realty and their design center at 2298 Colbert Lane. But he’s looking forward to growing his business at the new location.
“I like art,” said Gromling, who’s not an artist himself. “I’m a businessman. That’s what I bring to the table.”