Words: Zena le Roux | Images: Supplied
The Showroom Art Gallery is an art gallery based in Olympus, Pretoria. Owner, Ilze du Preez, tells us more.
Tell us more about your business.
The Showroom Art Gallery represents almost 30 different proudly South African artists. We permanently exhibit their work in the gallery which includes paintings, bronze sculptures and clay items just to name a few.
Why art? What inspired you to start the business?
At the age of 19, I was au pairing for a gallery owner when she needed me to help out in the gallery during a crisis, the bug bit and I have never looked back. I still get goosebumps when I open a beautiful painting! I cannot see myself doing anything else, to be honest.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
When my husband and I got married we built a house in the Woodhill Golf Estate which was still in its infancy all those years ago. We chose this area because it is a beautiful estate in Pretoria East with homes built against the hill and it is surrounded by many great schools. It was an upcoming affluent area in the East with many shopping centres popping up in the various areas. It was the perfect market for art as all the people who moved into the area had to decorate their homes – so I decided to run my art gallery from home. A few years ago, we moved to a small holding in Olympus.
How has the area changed from when you first started to now?
The house in Woodhill Golf Estate is where the gallery started out. In those days it was the outskirts of Pretoria but now there are a great number of developments in that area. About six years ago we moved to a small holding in Olympus where there are a few businesses on the premises, including the gallery. There used to be an old glass factory which we converted into the gallery, so it is a big structure with high ceilings and plenty of space for the art. We are surrounded by other small holdings, so it creates a very peaceful atmosphere in which to view the art at your leisure without interruptions from busy streets or other people. The only intrusion might be the cry of the neighbours` peacock or the guinea fowl that live in the area.
Have the changes been for better or worse?
Definitely for the better, the area is beautiful, and we also have a few extra shops for our convenience. There are also plenty of good restaurants to choose from.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area compared to when you first started?
As the area developed and the demand increased, the prices definitely increased as well.
What do you love about this neighbourhood?
It is a little out of the way from the daily bustle, so it feels less like a busy city. There are more open spaces and bushveld here, so it is quite beautiful. We are also frequented by a wide array of birds and we have seen the odd buck run past the property.
Any tips for business owners looking to buy/rent in this area?
Make sure your product/s is suitable to the area and that you are conveniently situated.
What is the best part of your job?
I absolutely want to come to work every day, it is my passion. I get to work with some of South Africa`s best artists and are surrounded by beauty every day. I also exhibit at six festivals throughout the year (Aardklop, Decorex, KKNK, Frankfort fees, Oesfees & Vryfees) so I get to meet and interact with loads of new people.
What advice would you give to new business owners?
Find something that you are passionate about, there is nothing worse than dreading going to work every day.
The Showroom Art Gallery
Plot 78c Leander Way, Olympus, Pretoria East, 0081
012 991 2374/ 083 449 2132