Capturing the moment: Cooper Captures Gallery perseveres in new location
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Cooper Captures Gallery held its reopening celebration on Sunday, in its new location at 112 East German Street. The gallery was formerly located across the street, at 107 East German Street, through July 31.
According to owner Diana Cooper, the move was a success, thanks to her local friends and family, who helped her scout out a new location and move into it within one hour’s time.
“I started this business about 10 years ago in downtown Martinsburg, and then moved to my former space in Shepherdstown about three-and-a-half years ago,” Cooper said.
Cooper said she had put a lot of money into keeping her former location in shape, and had recently purchased two sizes of paper bags, business cards and 1,000 rack cards displaying her former address. So when she received an email letting her know her lease would not be renewed, as her landlord wanted to turn her gallery space into an Airbnb, she was filled with panic over finding a new location. Now, looking back at it, she said she should have anticipated losing her gallery space, since the landlord had already turned the other spaces in her former building into Airbnbs.
In the midst of her panicking, Cooper made the most of her situation when she found 112 East German Street.
“It was the only space that I could get, and outside of not having a restroom in it, it’s working out wonderfully,” Cooper said of the space, which was Flower Haus’ former location. “Flower Haus had left their shelves up, so I made use of what was here!”
Already, after two weeks in the space, Cooper said she has received a lot of positive customer feedback regarding her new location, along with an increase in foot traffic.
“It’s a cozier space. I love it when people walk in and their jaws just drop!” Cooper said of her displayed wildlife photography. “It’s definitely smaller, but it works! Because of its high ceilings, I have more room to show my art in this space.”
During her reopening celebration, Cooper welcomed visitors with bird-shaped shortbread cookies, made by Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, blueberry lemonade and door prizes.
She said that remaining in a brick-and-mortar location is important, not only to the success of her business, but also to the spread of her passion for conservation.
“We’re seeing more and more changes in the wildlife we’re seeing. That’s one of the reasons why I do this! I’m afraid that some of my grandchildren will never get to see these birds, if I don’t photograph them!” Cooper said, attributing the changes to climate change and the use of chemicals like DDT. “Just in my lifetime, we’ve lost about 30 percent of our songbirds in this country.”
Three of Cooper’s photographs were featured in The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in West Virginia, which came out this year.
Cooper Captures Gallery is open, Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.