NASE Member Profile: Caffeine Buzz


NASE Member Profile: Caffeine Buzz

Gary Perkins has been an NASE Member since 1993. He and his wife, Marie, own DaVinci’s Gallery & Coffee House in Fremont, Ohio. Their website is

Tell us about DaVinci’s Gallery & Coffee House.

My love for woodworking led me to start a custom framing business in our basement 26 years ago. Within a year, we opened a small storefront and added some framed artwork and a few home décor items. Although we have opened and closed two other galleries over the years, we have been focusing on our original location since 2007. We added a coffee house to bring in new customers, especially those who might not otherwise visit an art gallery. We still do custom picture framing and we also sell all North American-made art, such as pottery, jewelry, fabrics and wooden ware.

What’s the best thing about working with your spouse?

We really do complement each other in our business because our skills are so different. I handle the framing part of the business and any of the building issues, such as lighting and plumbing. Marie is the words and numbers person, as well as the Coffee Countess at the coffee house. She’s very good at marketing and is the face of DaVinci’s, while I am happiest when I am being creative with framing and displays. We both choose the artwork that comes into the store.

How has being an NASE Member helped your business?

I originally joined the NASE because I wanted to have a voice as a small-business owner. I also needed affordable health insurance, and the NASE was able to help us at that time. My favorite benefit is your magazine, and I eagerly read about other small-business owners. I know my wife has even contacted some of them personally to talk about an idea, marketing strategy, or something she read about in the magazine or online.

What is the most difficult thing a customer has asked you to frame?

We framed an iron skillet that was the first item a new auctioneer sold. Her husband bought the skillet from the buyer and had it framed as a surprise for her office. The thing was big and heavy and a challenge to keep
in place in the frame.

What’s been your biggest success as a business owner?

When we bought our building downtown in 1996, we knew that people wouldn’t come to the gallery just because it got bigger, so we looked for something else to complement what we do. We decided to add the coffee house because people aren’t intimidated by a cup of coffee or a muffin, and it would draw people into the building. We were both born in Fremont, and I think our greatest success is that DaVinci’s sparked the revitalization of our entire downtown. We are currently the anchor store!

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