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Bigger and Better: Art Leaders Gallery Expanding

Longtime fine art dealers in West Bloomfield remodeling former Witbeck store to accommodate new business; hope to move in next year.

The secret to the success of Art Leaders Gallery is simple word of mouth, according to President Bonnie Mansour.

That success has allowed the longtime fine artwork dealer to begin expansion into a new store, which she hopes to be completed by late February of next year.

"We had the idea for doing this for about five years and when this opportunity come up last summer, we jumped on it," said Mansour, a Farmington Hills resident who operates the gallery with husband Jason.

"Our clients have made it clear what they wanted and we're looking forward to providing that."

Most notably, Mansour said, local art customers are looking for space. The size of the artwork being sold — including original paintings, limited editions, sculptures, hand-blown glass and unique home accessories – has increased to accommodate large, single-family homes and condominiums in Metro Detroit.

It's nothing new for the Mansours, who have been at 33030 Orchard Lake Rd. since 2000 after working in two other locations in West Bloomfield and Novi for the past 20 years. The new location will occupy the former vacancy at 33068 Northwestern Hwy. in West Bloomfield.

While the size of the current location (4,000 square feet) can still fit plenty of artwork, customers making a purchase are often referred to the gallery's Walled Lake outlet to have it framed. Framing operations will be moved into the new building, Mansour said, but offerings from the current location will remain the same.

"My husband said that even if we move, we might still run out of room," Mansour joked. "I have a habit, it's called buying art and supporting new artists."

Although she said she has to keep some secrets to herself, Mansour hopes to offer a wine bar at the new location and events to benefit the community at-large. With over three times the square footage of the current location, she said she hopes the new store will be able to offer a place for clients and new customers to congregate.

"You're going to want to come here," Mansour said. "We're working with the township to improve the outside design and we've created a look that isn't too contemporary or too traditional. It's just a classic look and it's going to add some character to Northwestern Highway in West Bloomfield."

According to Mansour, the gallery is currently looking for local artists which fit the profile of current clientele. The gallery is also offering a sale in order to create space for new artists.

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