Boulder Street Gallery is scheduled to open at 206 N. Tejon St. on April 1.

Local artist and custom framer Terry Henderson is moving his Boulder Street Gallery from a Victorian home in the 700 block of North Tejon Street to the downtown area.

Henderson purchased the building at 206 N. Tejon St., the former home of Novice Gallery. Henderson, who has owned Boulder Street Gallery for the past 10 years, will consolidate an art gallery, custom framing production and warehouse into one location.

“I used to sit out on the porch of our old location and say ‘good morning’ to passers by,” Henderson said. “People would often tell me they had been walking by for 10 years and never noticed the business, so this (new location) represents an opportunity for better exposure and for expansion.”

Since he purchased Boulder Street Gallery during 1998, Henderson said the operation has grown by a factor of 25.

In addition to offering custom framing to local customers, Boulder Street produces custom displays and framing for corporate entities.

The company recently completed work for St. Francis Medical Center on Powers Boulevard and often produces interior design, wall art, graphics, photography, custom framing and installation with security hardware for local military bases.

“I’m a General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule Contractor,” Henderson said. “I get requests for quotes from all over the country and I do a lot of work for Peterson Air Force Base — so the military keeps us busy.”

The former location measured 1,000 square feet and Henderson operated a warehouse of about 1,500 square feet. By comparison, Boulder Street’s new location will cover 8,000 square feet.

Renovations are currently under way. Henderson has already transitioned the warehouse and production facility and expects the gallery to open April 1.“We’ve incorporated our warehouse into the lower level,” Henderson said. “Our upper level will be for walk-in retail.”

Workers removed a false ceiling, so the gallery will showcase 14-foot ceilings, custom track lighting and oak floors.

“Boulder Street Gallery has never stood on its feet by selling artwork,” Henderson said. “It has always been about doing custom framing. Now I hope to sell art work because we’re in an enterprise zone.”

In today’s struggling economy, Henderson admits he’s taking a considerable gamble, but he seems comfortable with the risk and remains confident in the products and services his company has to offer.

“It’s scary, but I’m a good business-minded person and I have my own tricks of the trade on how to stay alive,” he said. “It’s fortunate for us that we were able to get the property for a reasonable price because of the economy.”

Henderson paid $545,000 for the building, according to records at the El Paso County Tax Assessor’s Office.

The current state of the economy also figured in his decision to keep the Boulder Street name, despite moving to a new location on Tejon Street.

“The Boulder Street name is synonymous with quality and good customer service,” Henderson said. “We didn’t want to leave that, especially in these times when new businesses are going to struggle as opposed to existing businesses.”

Retail sales fall, barely

According to the Commerce Department, advance estimates for U.S. retail and food services sales fell 0.1 percent during February compared to January.

At $346.8 billion, sales for February dropped 8.6 percent compared to February 2008. Total sales from December 2008 through February 2009 were down 9.4 percent compared to the same time frame a year earlier.

Motor vehicle and parts dealers registered the largest February decline (4.3 percent) and grocery stores reported a 1 percent drop, but clothing retailers experienced a climb of nearly 3 percent, while electronics and appliance retailers saw sales rise 1 percent.

Scott Prater covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.