Closing Shop And Looking For A New Space

In case you haven’t heard by now, my shop, Viva Paso, is no longer at 1211 Pine St. We have NOT permanently closed. In fact, we are very much ALIVE online and are on the hunt for a new retail space. We’re calling this a “to be continued” situation. A mere intermission, if you will.

That’s the short version.

And that might be all you are interested in, but if you’d like to read more about it then get ready because here it comes…

The truth of the matter is that we had a 5 year lease and the 5 years was up on December 31, 2020. It’s really that simple. We did not close because of the pandemic or lack of sales/customers. The rent on that space is more than what we want to pay and signing on for another 5 years seemed more dreadful than it did fun. Who would choose dread over fun? Not me. So, after 5 years of being open 7 days a week I am happy to have a little break right now.

Giving a fully detailed run down of my history being a retail shop owner is something I’ll avoid for now, but I will say this. Since I first opened shop in 2004 until closing Viva Paso 2 weeks ago I have had some sort of retail/gallery space to show and sell my art from. In the past 16 years there are only a few little pockets of time where I had no space for a couple of months, but that’s about it. The biggest gap I can remember when I did not have a retail space at all was the 5 months it took for the construction to be done at Viva Paso before we could open the doors. I’ll bore you with all of those details when I publish my memoir, “Thai Iced Tea, Donuts, And Me”, coming out by Penguin Random House in 2055. Anyway, the point is, I have had a store for a long time. It’s what I know and it’s what I’ve done. Opening in a new location is nothing new to me. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.

The question is, will I do it again? Probably. I mean, right now that is the plan. This is a chance to look back, reevaluate, and open shop in a new space with a fresh vibe. Viva Paso, version 2.0. I look at spaces all the time and am just waiting for the right one that checks off all the boxes I want/need. Decent location, affordable rent. Seems simple enough.

Part of me daydreams about renting something in an industrial area so I can be more of an artist and less of a retail clerk. That would mean very little foot traffic and I’d have to rely on selling more stuff online and through galleries and retail shops that aren’t mine, but I like that idea. It feels more risky than renting a retail space downtown, but I would have the opportunity to make more artwork and that sounds super fun to me. Luckily, this isn’t something I need to decide today. So…

For now, I welcome this break from retail with open arms.

See, I never had a chance to paint rocks with the family on a Friday afternoon before.

Without the retail shop I am now strictly online. So, if there is anything you would like please check out all the goodies online.
For my artwork: jeffclaassen.com – This site is dedicated to everything I make. You’ll find original paintings, limited edition prints, shirts, sticker packs, pins, patches, etc.

And, of course, I always encourage you to see artwork in person. For that, I have a good selection of pieces at Fiona Bleu Gallery. They are at 900 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA.

For Viva Paso: vivapaso.com – Here you will find everything you would have seen in our retail shop. There are about 300 items available right now. Everything from serape blankets to stuffed animals, greeting cards to Chilewich mats, books, and even David Bowie socks.

I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to any and all of you that ever stepped foot in Viva Paso. With any luck we’ll be seeing each other again when we find a new space to call home.

See ya!
– Jeff

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