Garbo Watson Hearne owns Hearne Fine Art and Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, located in the historic Dunbar neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas.
She developed Hearne Fine Art in the New York and Atlanta markets and expanded its services to include cataloging and fine art appraisals.
In 2005, Hearne earned her certification in appraisal studies from New York University. In 2008, she and her husband, Dr. Archie Hearne, published Collaborations, Two Decades of African American Art: Hearne Fine Art 1988 – 2008.
Before opening Pyramid Gallery in 1988, Hearne worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She is a board member of the Mid-America Arts Alliance has served on the board of the Arkansas Humanities Council. She received a B.S.N. in nursing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. (Board term 2014-2019)
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:07.2] JM: Welcome to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show offers listeners firsthand insight into starting and running a business. The ups and downs of risk taking and the commonalities of successful people.
Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and informative weekly blog where you’ll read and can comment on life as wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur. Now, it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:42.0] KM: Thank you Jayson, like Jayson said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business. Before we start, I want to introduce my cohost who you just heard from, Jayson Malik from his own Arise Studio in Conway Arkansas, say hello Jayson.
[0:00:55.5] JM: Hello, Kerry.
[0:00:57.5] KM: If right now you’re sitting at your computer, you might want to watch us live in Facebook at Flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page. It’s kind of fun to see what goes on behind the scenes and at the breaks and it’s in real time, which I love everything to be in real time, it’s just exciting. I think today we’re only going to broadcast on Facebook for the first 15 minutes, at the break we’ll sign off with Facebook and you’ll have to log in.
You Facebook watchers to 88.3 FM, KABF. If for some reason you miss any part of today’s show and want to hear it again or share it, there’s a way and Jayson is here to tell you how.
[0:01:33.1] JM: : Listen to all UIYB past and present interviews by going to Flagandbanner.com and then click on Radio Show. There you may join our email list or liking us on Facebook, thus getting a reminder notification the day of the show and a sneak peak of that day’s guest. If you’d like to be an underwriter of any UIYB shows, send an email to email@example.com. Back to you Kerry.
[0:02:03.8] KM: Thank you Jayson, if you’re tuning in to this broadcast for the first time, welcome. And, if you’re a returning fan, you probably know this next part by heart but at the risk of being boring, we must repeat ourselves for the newcomers and besides that, it gives my guest a chance to settle into their seat.
This show, Up In Your Business with me Kerry McCoy began as a platform for small business owners and a guest to pay forward our experiential knowledge and a conversational way. Originally, my team and I thought it would speak to entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs.
But, it seems to have a wider audience appeal because after all, who isn’t inspired by everyday people’s American made stories? To see people in their totality is humanizing. We all thirst to connect and make sense of an overcomplicated world and on this show, we have the luxury of time to go deeper than a mere sound byte or a headline. My favorite part, we always learn something. It’s no secret that successful people work hard but other common traits found in many of my guest are, the heart of a teacher, belief in a higher power and creativity.
Because business in itself is creative. My guest today is the multi-faceted and uber creative Ms. Garbo Hearne. Founder and visionary of Hearne Fine Art Gallery. Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisal Services and Pyramid Art Books and Custom Framings and I just found out you have an auction house?
[0:03:30.3] GH: Yes, with my husband.
[0:03:31.2] KM: I know, all of this is with your husband.
[0:03:33.0] GH: All of this is with him.
[0:03:34.1] KM: The consortium.
[0:03:35.3] GH: Yes.
[0:03:35.8] KM: Before taking this entrepreneurial leap, Garbo was a pediatric intensive care nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. What a difference. She received her nursing degree from the university of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her appraisal studies and certificate from New York University.
Ms. Hearne and her husband, Dr. Archie Hearne are busy proprietors, their side by side businesses, Hearne family clinic, Hearne Fine Art Gallery and Pyramid Art Books and Framings are all nestled together in the historic Dunbar neighborhood in Downtown Little Rock Arkansas. If that’s not enough, she and her husband co-wrote two decades of African American art. Hearne Fine Art 1988h rough 2008.
And, you’re on the board of Arkansan’s For The Arts whose mission is to advance the economy of art in Arkansas. I just found that out yesterday. Today, we’ll find out how and why Garbo went from an intensive care nurse at Children’s Hospital to a business owner, author and art enthusiast. It’s a pleasure to welcome to the table, the creative, hardworking, and if you’re looking at her on Facebook suites smiling entrepreneur, Ms. Garbo Hearne.
[0:04:44.6] GH: Thank you.
[0:04:45.6] KM: Every time I have a girl on, I want to say girl, let’s talk.
[0:04:49.5] GH: I want to correct you, I did graduate from UAMS here in Little Rock, I got my nurse practitioner here, then went to UA Fayetteville for two years and then transferred here and finished in the UAMS nursing program.
[0:05:00.8] KM: Okay, good. I’m glad you fixed it.
[0:05:02.8] GH: UAMS.
[0:05:03.7] KM: UAMS, that’s a great place. Your husband, Dr. Archie Hearne. Did you meet him while you were a nurse?
[0:05:14.2] GH: Yes I did. That’s a whole other hour show so – Would I want to go into all of that then?
[0:05:20.2] KM: Come on.
[0:05:20.8] GH: Doctor nurse story?
[0:05:21.6] KM: A little bit.
[0:05:22.6] GH: Just a little bit.
[0:05:24.1] KM: I love the romantic side of life. You’re a nurse, you’re going to UAMS, you start practicing at UAMS and he’s already there practicing?
[0:05:31.2] GH: No, actually, he came from California. He was doing his residency at Howard in DC and came to complete a public health obligation in Arkansas. We had a community clinic here and –
[0:05:47.4] KM: You’re at UAMS, how do you meet somebody in a community clinic?
[0:05:50.4] GH: Well, I graduated from UAMS, I worked at Children’s Hospital. Community clinic was not associated, you run into people, it is what it is, it was exciting, still is.
[0:06:04.7] KM: What about him impressed you?
[0:06:06.7] GH: Very smart, innovative, you know? Loves to take risks, you know?
[0:06:13.9] KM: He moved from California to Arkansas?
[0:06:15.8] GH: California, DC, Ohio, Arkansas.
[0:06:19.2] KM: Is he in culture shock?
[0:06:21.4] GH: Not necessarily. He did something about it because he said “Hey, we’re going to open an art gallery and bookstore.” I was like “Okay, let’s try it.”
[0:06:28.6] KM: I was going to ask you if that was his idea or your idea?
[0:06:31.2] GH: His idea. He started collecting art in college, lived with an art professor. Understood the value and the need for art and of course here, in Little Rock at the time, there was not a lot of art, quality African American art represented in a gallery setting so we did it.
[0:06:50.6] KM: There wasn’t probably any.
[0:06:52.7] GH: No, there wasn’t.
[0:06:55.1] KM: You were impressed by him, you’re working at the University, I mean, you’re working at Children’s Hospital and you’re thinking this is too stressful, was there an event that happened that made you say –
[0:07:06.0] GH: Actually, I left Children’s Hospital and I started working in a clinic and I have my own business I was doing some consulting for surgeons in terms of checking patients as to how much education they got, how well they did if you compare telling a patient what to expect when they get out of surgery, what to eat and just how to take, manage their own care as supposed to just checking in the normal hospital procedures because nurses, hospital nurses are very busy and education is not clearly the first thing they have to do is make sure you understand what’s going on with these.
I did a little of that, just comparing that for surgeons. I was busy.
[0:07:48.6] KM: You’re at children’s hospital, working in intensive care, let me just wrap my mind around this. You’re thinking, my gosh, I don’t know how you can see those babies.
[0:07:58.2] GH: No, I mean, pediatric intensive care, you could have a patient from zero to 18.
[0:08:02.4] KM: Okay.
[0:08:03.4] GH: When they come in to intensive care, they’re either going to stay there a couple of days and go upstairs or they meet their maker. Either way, isn’t that a short period of time that you’re with that patient? You know, you have to make sure you still don’t care.
[0:08:18.3] KM: How do you deal with that?
[0:08:19.8] GH: Separate yourself from that. Well, every patient is a human being and you want to do the best for them at the time of what they need and you know, generally, they have good outcomes and that was the beauty of it. I love that. We got married, had children, they all want to hear my child has a fever.
They want you to come to work because you trained specially to work in this setting so there’s not a lot of people that come and replace you. I think the need for a gallery in bookstore to go on, I was in between, I was actually on leave and I was with my, having my second child and so between that and going back to work, wasn’t that attractive.
In that period of time, we opened a gallery and haven’t gone back.
[0:09:12.2] KM: Hadn’t gone back? That was the event that changed everything as you were pregnant and you knew that going back to work as a nurse was going to be demanding.
[0:09:20.1] GH: Right, already having a baby, I had a baby, I was about to have a second one so you know, this was just a great opportunity for me to be the mother I wanted to be, keep my children with me, that kind of thing. I had the opportunity to do that and they came to work, I brought them, some people thought we had a nursery going on. It was a fun experience and we moved, we started out on 12th in fair park, very small space and we moved down on main street. 301 main street, we were there for like nine years then we moved to the river market district, stayed there about nine years and now we’re home in the Dunbar community on riding Chester.
[0:10:03.2] KM: Your husband has his office right next to you.
[0:10:06.1] GH: Yes.
[0:10:06.6] KM: Was he always in that neighborhood?
[0:10:08.8] GH: No, I mean, actually, he was in the – he’s been around – he was on 12th street as well, he was on 13th, he had a clinic on Louisiana, he was in the doctor’s building and he’s moved around a lot and we both looked at each other at some point and said, we both been waiting for way too long.
Let’s find a space and you know, we could probably built a golden quarter with all the rent we paid that you know, if you’ve been in business for as long as we had been, at least 20 years for me and he had probably been 25, 26 years. Just made sense.
[0:10:46.4] KM: Before we go to a break for those of the people, we’re going to get off nursing but all nurses are angels, I hate to hear this, we lost you because you’re so awesome.
[0:10:55.6] GH: I still have my license, I am still a licensed nurse and I can. Beware pull nurses. I can show up any day. No, I’m just kidding.
[0:11:04.2] KM: Your aura is so nurturing and loving and sweet, I mean, i would love to have you as my nurse. For people, a lot of people are going into nursing because we need more of them and they’re angels. Do you have any advice for anybody out there that wants to be a nurse before we go to a break?
[0:11:19.6] GH: Well, I think if it’s in you, you can do it and you want to do it, you love caring and helping people and now you have to take knowledge because nursing is a lot of technology these days. They take blood pressures with instruments, I mean, there’s just so many different things that are going on, technology has changed every area. I think it’s exciting. I think.
[0:11:43.7] KM: Did you always want to be a nurse when you were a kid?
[0:11:46.1] GH: My parents both were educators and both tailors, they both were.
[0:11:50.4] KM: What do you mean tailors?
[0:11:51.5] GH: Tailors, they graduated from Tuskegee University and they were tailors.
[0:11:55.7] KM: Sewing?
[0:11:56.3] GH: Sewing.
[0:11:57.2] KM: That’s what I would just go for.
[0:11:59.0] GH: All the right clothes.
[0:12:00.4] KM: That’s very artistic.
[0:12:02.0] GH: Always upset because I was like, why can’t I just go to Penny’s or Sears like everybody else, I’ve never realized this exactly. What I was going up and the creativity there, there were two sewing machines, they were always sewing, my mother was a second grade teacher, my dad was a principle. I said, “I don’t want to be a teacher, I don’t want to be a tailor, I’m going to be a nurse.”
[0:12:23.9] KM: That’s love of learning.
[0:12:26.0] GH: Yes, I think so.
[0:12:27.5] KM: Then they sewed in the evenings and on the weekends?
[0:12:28.7] GH: Yes.
[0:12:30.6] KM: Do they sew –
[0:12:31.4] GH: They made patterns, they make you know.
[0:12:33.8] KM: Evening gowns.
[0:12:35.8] GH: I have two sisters and a brother so they made all our clothes and we were – the best dress and didn’t even realize it I don’t think.
[0:12:43.9] KM: Did your mother do this at Christmas time, sell labels off of clothes into your clothes so that you wouldn’t know that they made them? My mother did that because I was exactly like you, I was like, mother, why are you making all my clothes. She’d cut labels out of old clothes and sew them into our clothes to try to trick us.
[0:13:00.2] GH: Never did that. They would say okay, it’s time for you to get a new coat, what color do you want? What kind of materials? A coat? Come on. You know, it was an experience.
[0:13:11.3] KM: I love that story. Hard working parents that paid off because you’re hard working too. This is a great place to take a break, when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Ms. Garbo Hearne. Founder and owner of Fine Art Gallery. Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisal Services, Pyramid Art Books and Custom Framing and her auction house. We’ll find out what it’s like to be her, an art love, author, proprietor and about her and her husband’s, real estate decisions to invest in the historic but distressed Dunbar neighborhood in downtown Little Rock Arkansas.
Before the show ends, we’ll have her tell us about the current artist on display at her upcoming events and exhibitions, we’ll be back after the break.
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You’re listening to up in your business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400. Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed. Starting with door to door sales, then telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales. Now, a third of their sales come through the internet and this past year, Flag and Banner added another internet feature. Live chatting.
Over time, Kerry’s business and leadership knowledge grew, as early as 2004, she began sharing her knowledge in her week, weekly blog and then in 2009, she founded a nonprofit, friends of dreamland ballroom. In 2014, brave magazine was launched.
Today, she has branched out into radio with this very production. Podcast and live streaming on Facebook Each week, on this show, you’ll hear candid conversations between her and her guest about real world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you’ll find interesting and inspiring.
If you would like to ask Kerry a question or share your story or underwrite any of her past or present shows, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page. Back to you Kerry.
[0:15:55.4] KM: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with me Kerry McCoy and I’m speaking today with Ms. Garbo Hearne, founder and owner of Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisal Services and Pyramid Art Book and Custom Framing in downtown Little Rock Arkansas.
Before the break, we talked about Garbo growing up in an academic family with a mother and fathers who were teachers, about them sewing all of her clothes and how they were entrepreneur and creative people when she was young and that hard work rubbed off on her and that she always wanted to be a nurse as she grew up and became a nurse and she met her doctor husband.
Then they became entrepreneurs when her family was started. That’s where we’re up to, if you missed any of it. Now we’re going to move in to how you decided on art as a career. You said your husband was the doctor. Dr. Hearne was a –
[0:16:48.0] GH: Art collector, started collecting in college when he moved to Arkansas, yeah. Moved to Arkansas and realized it was a void. Especially as it relates to African American cultures so henceforth, we started Pyramid, those Pyramid Gallery.
[0:17:05.2] KM: Yeah, I saw that.
[0:17:05.8] GH: We’ve change their name over the years as the business has evolved. We showcased primarily prints and work by local African American artist. We moved quickly into, we added a bookstore and the service with custom picture framing because whenever I frame, nobody like the mess, wanted to change so the customer service person that I am, I was like, “I’ll change it and I’ll make it happen."
I spent a lot of more time at the firmware than I was at my business. We ended up buying a frame shop that went out of business, their supplies and then we ended up hiring a framer and henceforth, we became custom picture framing. Then of course, books are just the source of any knowledge is popper. You got to read for yourself and having a bookstore was so important to our business to help traffic and just the whole educational process of being a platform for local, regional and national authors and artist. It’s just kind of melded together.
[0:18:11.3] KM: The pyramid –
[0:18:13.6] GH: It was first, it was Pyramid Art Gallery, then it became Pyramid Gallery and Books. Then we moved to the river market district, we decided to –
[0:18:23.8] KM: You were the first to move to the river dock.
[0:18:24.9] GH: Yes, we were on the first floor, we were next to where the Museum of Discovery, we were there before the Museum of Discovery and the several restaurants on that. We outlived all those.
[0:18:37.5] KM: It’s a beautiful place, a beautiful gallery.
[0:18:39.1] GH: Yes, it was, the beauty of it was we initially, we came from in street and we had a sign on our building because we wanted to build a space but we didn’t get the loan. Forgot to take the sign down and someone about the building. Had to move, there we go.
[0:18:54.5] KM: That’s the place on main street?
[0:18:55.6] GH: That was the place on main street. 1308 main street. We moved into the river market district and we got to build out the space the way we want it to. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds, I still got a new space, wouldn’t mind but I was able to, we were right in the center of that building and it was smaller, very compact but you know, we got the job done and we grew our business there.
[0:19:21.2] KM: Is that when you changed your name?
[0:19:22.6] GH: Yes.
[0:19:23.4] KM: From Pyramid.
[0:19:25.7] GH: Well, I kept Pyramid. I read an article that said, you know, if you believe in your business, put your name on it. It also said, you got to be sure that people know what you do is in your name. I had all these space, okay, I see it here. Hearne Fine Art.
[0:19:41.6] KM: I love it.
[0:19:42.8] GH: Then, Pyramid, Art Books and Custom Framing, again, explains I kept my roots in Pyramid because Pyramid came from the fact that the pyramids are always going to be there. You go to Egypt, they’ve been there, they began in the beginning of time so actually, everlasting, that’s why I put pyramid in the beginning.
[0:20:01.8] KM: Well, most – I think I read what you said most art galleries don’t last more than five years.
[0:20:07.7] GH: Five years is the turning point of when you going to make it. We’re starting on year 31, we opened in 1988 so every year is like the beginning, every year is a new year for me. I can’t really – I know it’s been 30 years but I say, I hope I have 30 more years.
[0:20:27.3] KM: What was it like starting your business? I mean, did you think, how did you even – did you use your own money, did you think, this is going to be harder than I think it is or you think it was going to be easy and it turned out to be harder than you thought?
[0:20:40.9] GH: I really didn’t, it was a challenge, it was something that my husband wanted to do, he wanted me to help him, someone had to be their person that actually had a real job that had to support the family so I knew – That was him and so I had the opportunity to take this dream that he had and it became mine and I taught myself the business of art and the business of just being in business and all. You know, working as an intensive care nurse, you had to understand how to prioritize what needed to be done so that really prepared me to be a business owner.
I went in with so many unknowns if I probably had known the unknown, I probably would never have done it.
[0:21:23.6] KM: What was different that you think that – what was something that happened that you thought, wow, I didn’t expect that.
[0:21:32.5] GH: I think that when I sold my first piece of original art, I was just completely shocked. My god, probably six months in there because you know, we were selling prints and posters and you know, the whole just getting to understand and then meeting artist and is my knowledge of business and I grew, I realized that I was doing my customer a disservice by not offering them original art.
Because art is the basis of our civilization, it tells our story and why would you spend $300 on a $50 print when you can own an original.
[0:22:16.9] KM: Yeah.
[0:22:18.1] GH: You want that and it builds generational wealth. It’s a wealth building piece that either of you are interested in collecting. You know, the more – there was so many artist that had never been to Arkansas, that we brought and we gave them fine art exhibitions and they met long life friends because of just coming, just because of our existence, that’s why I had to differentiate the pyramid art, the decorative art from the fine art to move into another level and just exposed myself to other people who didn’t necessarily want to show in a frame shop.
[0:22:55.3] KM: Yeah. When did you decide that you wanted to be an appraiser?
[0:23:00.2] GH: Well, that came in 2004.
[0:23:04.8] KM: You’ve been in business 16 years now?
[0:23:07.7] GH: Yes. People would come to me, “What’s this worth? I bought this from you 10 years ago, what is it worth now,” and I realized that that was something I needed to teach myself. I needed to go and figure out how to do this appropriately. I went to NYU and I did a six week intensive course.
[0:23:27.6] KM: You live up there?
[0:23:28.3] GH: Yes, stayed there for six weeks
[0:23:30.3] KM: How fun.
[0:23:31.7] GH: I took my youngest daughter, I think she was sophomore and our junior in high school and so she went with me and she stayed – actually, her first baby sitter in Connecticut. She stayed with her and I went to NYU and I used to see her on the weekends.
[0:23:48.7] KM: You stay in a dorm?
[0:23:49.5] GH: I did.
[0:23:50.6] KM: How old are you when you were doing this?
[0:23:53.0] GH: Let’s see. I don’t remember. It was 2004 doing the math, I had to be in my 40s.
[0:23:59.8] KM: How adventurous?
[0:24:00.8] GH: Yeah. I needed to know how to do it and I was the online person and I wanted, you know, the idea of going there for six weeks, they took us all over New York, they took us you know, every museum auction house. I just learned how to do it.
[0:24:17.9] KM: You came home when you changed?
[0:24:21.0] GH: Yes, I was ready to be home, I know why I live in Arkansas and I love Arkansas. I definitely, it was a six-week adventure.
[0:24:30.2] KM: Did your husband come up to see you?
[0:24:31.6] GH: He did came at the end, you know? I actually have a couple of artists that I represent form New York so while I was there, I was working on – I did an exhibit there so I spent six weeks organizing that practice, I can’t just do one thing at a time of course.
[0:24:48.0] KM: No you can’t.
[0:24:49.5] GH: That was really fun.
[0:24:50.9] KM: That’s one of us, you’ve created all of these relationships that last a long time through all your art connections.
[0:24:57.0] GH: Right. You know, you evolve from a decorative art to fine art, to appraising art and then the auction house piece is just the next level of people as they downsized, as they moved on and buy better art or you know, they want a way to move it.
[0:25:16.0] KM: I don’t think people realize that art is kind of generational wealth, it will keep on – if they’ll hang on to it.
[0:25:21.2] GH: If they hang on to it, they keep their paperwork and if they, you know, you should never buy art to sell it. You should buy art because you love it. You should know that it is of value because of just because that’s just good business, if you’re collecting original art. But then, from there, if you want to give it to your children, you know, the sentimentality of buying from an artist, getting to know that artist and to watch that artist grow, that you don’t want to part with it and hopefully, that you instill the same love of art in your children.
[0:25:54.7] KM: I love that, you said this, this is a quote you said that I think is really nice. You said, you and your husband opened Pyramid Gallery, which is now Hearne Fine Art Gallery in 1988 because you felt it was important for people to experience African American culture through the arts and it was a niche market that wasn’t being served.
Are you still the only people serving it?
[0:26:15.4] GH: No, I mean, we have Mosaic Templars, cultural centers in Downtown Little Rock, there are galleries in northwest Arkansas and a house of art in north little rock. There are people who have –
[0:26:28.9] KM: Are those African American?
[0:26:30.3] GH: They are.
[0:26:30.3] KM: Genres?
[0:26:31.3] GH: Yeah. I’m excited that what we’ve done has taken hold and people are taking their leap and doing it as well. Pine bluff, there’s a gallery, Henry Linton has opened his old studio. Yeah. It’s exciting to see people grow and to see the whole art market just explode. African American art is really on the upswing now if you look at the last year crystal bridges had the soul of the nation exhibition that went from Arkansas to Brooklyn and now it’s headed to Los Angeles.
It’s going to open at the road in march actually.
[0:27:12.8] KM: Good. Everybody down to Right avenue in the Dunbar neighborhood. Did you felt like that was a great move?
[0:27:20.5] GH: Definitely, I mean, where can you find a piece of property with the stop light already there. That chose you right there, you get traffic.
[0:27:28.7] KM: That’s right, you know? They have to stop at your building.
[0:27:31.5] GH: Stop, your neighbors are the So Cal and Williams Library. Allison Presbyterian Church, the oldest African American school in the state of Arkansas, Dunbar, which will be celebrating 90 years this year, a hundred years and 2029. I mean, that’s the best neighbors you could actually have.
[0:27:54.8] KM: Your building is beautiful. If anybody goes by, what’s on the corner of right avenue and end Chester. You sit right at the stop line, that’s a nice building and it has your name Hearne all over it so you took advantage of what that meant, told you you’re proud of it, put your name on it, you did.
[0:28:10.9] GH: If you put your name on it, you know you’re representing you, everything you do, you go out, that’s why it’s important, if you believe in it.
[0:28:17.9] KM: If you believe in it. All right, this is a great place to take a break, when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Ms. Garbo Hearne, founder and owner of Hearne Fine Art Gallery, sorry. Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisal Services and Pyramid Art Books, Custom Framing and an auction house. We’ll continue talking about her consortium of businesses, their challenges and successes, the work she’s doing at Arkansan’s for the arts, a nonprofit that advocates the art, art education and the creative economy in Arkansas.
Before the show ends, we’ll have her tell us about the artist that are currently on display and her upcoming events and exhibitions, we’ll be back after the break.
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[0:29:33.5] CC: Flagandbanner.com is proud to underwrite Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. This weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners first hand insight in starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk taking and the commonalities of successful people shared in the conversation interview with Kerry. Along with this radio show, flagandbanner.com publishes a free by annual magazine called Brave.
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Back to you, Kerry.
[0:30:32.1] KM: Thank you. You are listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I am speaking today with Miss Garbo Hearne, founder and owner of her own consortium. Somebody called it, what do you tell them consortium but we looked it up, it is actually pronounced consortium.
[0:30:45.8] GH: Thank you, you learn something every day.
[0:30:47.5] KM: I’m telling you, you learn something on this show. It is the word for the day and anyway, her consortium is Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisals and Pyramid Art Books and Custom Framing in the downtown Little Rock, Arkansas area and your husband’s – I didn’t even put this in there. Your husband’s Hearne Family Clinic is also right there.
[0:31:08.6] GH: Yes, right there. So we take care of the soul all the way, inside and out.
[0:31:15.4] KM: Inside, yep. Mind, body and spirit that’s right and then you also got another one, you started the –
[0:31:21.8] GH: Hearne Southern Auction House.
[0:31:24.2] KM: Yeah, that is a consortium and let me just tell everybody the word for the day is consortium and it means an association typically of several business companies. If that is not what that is, I don’t know what is.
[0:31:36.4] GH: Yeah, we take it to the next level.
[0:31:38.2] KM: God you all do, you all are busy. Business people are so creative. They are always creating businesses. All right, here is another quote, you said that I absolutely like.
[0:31:48.6] GH: Oh my quote, where are you getting this from?
[0:31:50.5] KM: Because I am acting my homework but I do want to tell everybody that missed this part of the show that they can go to listen to a podcast over that will be made available next week where we talk about how you transitioned from a nurse to this entrepreneur and art critic that you are and you’re not a critic but you are an art enthusiast let’s say.
[0:32:11.1] GH: Yes, art enthusiast.
[0:32:12.3] KM: So here is your quote and I love this. This is my favorite part of what you said that I read of all the interviews that you did. “Art is important because it conveys people’s struggles and triumphs and solidifies my belief that we are more like than we are different.”
[0:32:28.5] GH: That’s true.
[0:32:32.6] KM: We are more like than we are different. I see it every day. I love that. So how do you find artists for your shows? You went to New York and met some, is it all just networking?
[0:32:46.8] GH: Well it is a lot of networking, you need artists who need other artists and my goal is I probably have about 55 to 60 artists that I have worked with over the lifetime of the gallery and my goal is to work with artists who are passionate about what I do. They have a signature technique. You know their work without looking and you recognize it and teaching people how to invest in themselves and generational you are going to have all levels or art. So that’s why I have emerging mute career master artists so that you can move in all circles and educate yourself in all of that –
[0:33:30.6] KM: So would you say something, what was the first one something mid and then – emerging so that is the affordable ones.
[0:33:38.7] GH: Well I would say all of them can be affordable because we have that famous we call it installment plans. Some people call it layaway. You can do whatever you want if you want a piece of art. You know when some people when you go buy a car? You go buy a car and say, “I’ll just take that one” and write a check for 30 or $40,000. You go in there with an idea that you’re going to pay on it, right? But the thing about art as oppose to a car, we get that piece of art on your wall at home. It is going to be worth more than that car.
[0:34:10.6] KM: Yeah it is.
[0:34:11.2] GH: So I say Uber, ride the bus, buy art.
[0:34:15.4] KM: It’s just an enjoyment of having art in your home. I did not become interested in art. I didn’t know why people loved it. I can’t tell a print from anything else until I probably got to be in my late 30’s and somewhere around there and I have lots of artist friends, somewhere around there I ended up buying a piece of art and expensively that somebody hung it up and it’s like an addiction. It’s weird. All of a sudden, you are looking at it all the time.
[0:34:47.2] GH: You’re paying attention to it and then you want another piece and another piece and another piece.
[0:34:50.6] KM: And you want another one and you go on this buying binges. Have you done that?
[0:34:55.9] JM: Yeah, I did that down in New Orleans in the French corridors. All the local painters and artists down there. Yeah, I bought a bunch of stuff for the studio.
[0:35:03.6] KM: You just get – yeah and then you get home and you’re like, “I did love it.”
[0:35:08.3] JM: Yeah and I want more and more now.
[0:35:10.2] GH: And more and more. I had a client come in. It was a Friday afternoon and she said “I am having an art attack” and I said, “What?” and she said, “I am having an art attack, I just want to buy some art” and I was like, “Let me help you,” and you know, she ended up taking home about four or five pieces and so that Monday, I called her up and I said, “You know, are you okay? Because you can bring it back. You don’t have to keep them.”
Because the thing about it is while I love impulsive buyers, I want the experience of owning art to be so exciting that it feels good. No buyer’s regret. So when she kept them all, I was like, “Oh my gosh!” that was just an amazing day for me.
[0:35:49.3] KM: You like Friday night art that we have in the second Friday on.
[0:35:52.2] GH: The second Friday of this year, we actually started that experience back when we were in the river market district. Debra Wood and I, I was part of the group that started it with Arkansas Times and we started in the River Market because that was supposed to be the cultural district and with the Kell System and so they’re were like about seven or eight places that you could stop and sip and look at art in the second priority and it is still going on.
We are out of that loop now because we’re in the Dunbar community and they tried and you know but we have the trial lease but we were a walking driving people. We don’t like to necessarily like to get on buses and go places within the community. So it didn’t work for us to stay a part of it but it is still going strong.
[0:36:41.8] KM: So you don’t do it anymore? You are not on the trolley system.
[0:36:45.0] GH: I am not on the trolley system because it doesn’t come all the way over to –
[0:36:49.1] KM: Well I bet it would if you ask since you got power and pull and you own the Arkansas for the arts group.
[0:36:54.3] GH: Oh yeah but it’s all good and actually tonight we are going to be open late with Sue Cal-Wyms Library. So we are going to have our own kind of – I guess whatever Friday night this is. This is the fourth Friday there is to me, what is it?
[0:37:08.4] KM: Are you starting another art night?
[0:37:09.0] GH: We’re starting a little art night. Another little art night going on with the library so.
[0:37:13.1] KM: That’s good. So you started framing because your customers wanted you to frame and it’s probably the most lucrative part of your business. I was at your business yesterday. I popped in there to see what you did before the show, son, Matt and I did and you had – how many people were back there Matt? Five people framing, four people framing?
[0:37:34.0] GH: No, I have two framers.
[0:37:36.6] KM: Well who were the rest of those people?
[0:37:38.2] GH: They may be clients, I don’t know.
[0:37:41.0] KM: No.
[0:37:41.4] GH: But it is only two people and I have a bookseller, a literary person and then my manager. So I do have four employees. So they may be all in the backroom.
[0:37:49.8] KM: Oh maybe that, they are all back there taking a break.
[0:37:53.2] GH: Well taking a break with everybody. I mean we are family. My manager’s name is Patrice Brown, she’s been with me 29 years between the two framers, they have 25 years of experience. So we’re seasoned, yeah you got to have a good framer.
[0:38:10.8] KM: Would you say your framing is your most lucrative business?
[0:38:14.3] GH: I would not say that, no.
[0:38:17.1] KM: You think art?
[0:38:17.9] GH: I think it is a combination. Sometimes it’s books, sometimes it’s framing, you know they all go hand in hand. I mean the framers, we do framing for people we are – they are custom picture framer. They just drop it off just like they are going to the cleaners. They say, “Just frame it, you know what I want” but we’ve framed primarily for our artists because artists are not framers and we do have to protect the original art work and there are certain things that have to be done.
Certain types of materials that you must use for an original art, so we really started our friendship to protect the artists and the art.
[0:38:55.7] KM: But anybody can come down and get something.
[0:38:57.2] GH: Anybody can come in. We do a lot of degrees, I mean you can frame anything.
[0:39:01.3] KM: I saw a bank and I don’t mean to be nosy but I saw an order from somebody who works down there.
[0:39:06.4] GH: Yeah, you work with our bank. The people that we support, support us you know? So we work with local banks, yes.
[0:39:13.5] KM: So you started off with regional artists, local artists but now you are national.
[0:39:16.8] GH: Local artist and then we moved regional, national. We have some international artists that we work with. So we have grown, luckily there is not a lot of competition for African-American fine art. So artists talk to the other artists and you know Arkansas is a state with a lot of rich and powerful people who collect art. So why not come to Arkansas and give it a try.
[0:39:41.1] KM: Now you have also started your auction house. Tell us a bit about that.
[0:39:45.8] GH: The auction house started about five years as a result of my husband just looking into that other business model of when people downsize and what to do with their art so why not –
[0:39:59.6] KM: So you get to sell it the first time and then you just sell it later.
[0:40:02.7] GH: You can resell it, resell it you know?
[0:40:04.1] KM: You chose a good business.
[0:40:05.2] GH: Yeah, he is very, very smart and –
[0:40:08.1] KM: So who is the auctioneer?
[0:40:09.5] GH: He is. He got the license and he does. I am the appraiser and he’s auctioning.
[0:40:16.9] KM: And then how often do you have auctions?
[0:40:18.6] GH: Well mostly it is online and we have had at least two fall and summer auctions but he hasn’t really taken as not yet. It takes a lot of work to get that out there but mostly we do online auctions.
[0:40:36.5] KM: It’s like eBay?
[0:40:37.5] GH: Yeah, similar to eBay, so there is always something online that you can go out and you can buy. You can buy it now.
[0:40:44.2] KM: You probably know my cousin in law, Kate Esque.
[0:40:48.6] GH: I do. I do, Yellow Dog Press.
[0:40:50.6] KM: Because she is also an appraiser and she’s also sells online and she got her auctions licensed and did not really like it but she does sell online but she’s quit selling on a lot of the websites because it’s too cumbersome.
[0:41:05.5] GH: Yeah, you got to have people that – It’s technology, you got to have people that know how to put it up, have it make look good. It is a lot of work. So that is why we have young people in our life. That is why we work with students, we love students and they come in and they go and they –
[0:41:20.7] KM: Let us talk about your students. You work with the students from Philander Smith College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Is that why you work with them?
[0:41:27.2] GH: Yes, well I mean some of our best employees have come from those two institutions. They started with this when they were freshman graduated on and gone on to their careers but the beauty of working I think with me is that I understand you’re here to go to school. I am not your first priority but when you’re with me, you are taking care of my business but if you have a test and you need to be off it’s fine.
[0:41:54.4] KM: What do you have them do?
[0:41:56.2] GH: Well they do different –
[0:41:57.5] KM: Do social media for you?
[0:41:58.7] GH: Some do social media, some do – it depends on their area of expertise. I mean everybody does everything in my space. So we got a project, you do this, you do that, you get ready for events, sales –
[0:42:13.5] KM: Tell me how you get those students down there at the school? Because I have been thinking that for an event and I don’t know exactly. Do you have an event and so you call up the department like say you are going to have an event and you want somebody to –
[0:42:28.0] GH: Actually it is word of mouth. I don’t work with a particular person in each one of those institutions but Philander is walking distance from the gallery and I know people over there and then they’ll send somebody. They’ll come over and if they are interested, then it makes –
[0:42:46.3] KM: And what you got to do and it’s more like piece of work so it is a short period of time while you work on something.
[0:42:51.3] GH: Right.
[0:42:51.7] KM: Have you ever thought about hiring somebody full time for social media for your company?
[0:42:55.8] GH: I have not thought about that because I don’t really do social media. So I don’t really understand. I have never bought anything from looking at Facebook, Instagram. It’s just never had been my forte. So I really don’t delve too much into what I don’t understand but I do understand that it is important. So my daughter, Anna, she handles all my social media and she puts all our stuff out there and I know that it’s important because we do get people that come in and saw them.
I am not crazy that I just – but I don’t think that I would put a person there to do that full time especially when I have my daughter to do it for me.
[0:43:37.3] KM: That’s right. So it is a family business and your consortium is a family business. It’s you and your husband, is your daughter going to join you?
[0:43:43.2] GH: I hope so. She has a master’s degree in Art History from the University of Cincinnati but her heart is in teaching. So she wants to and she’s a teacher at heart. I have my youngest daughter, she’s in North Carolina. She’s doing her first year as an emergency resident.
[0:44:02.4] KM: Oh my gosh they really are like their parents.
[0:44:05.7] GH: And then my son is an entrepreneur, he’s in sales and he works for a guy with office products and he does some online sales and he comes and helps me. He’s here in Little Rock and then I have another son that’s in New York at Columbia University. He works in the alumni department and does the marketing for the alumni. So they’re all their own creative spirits so who knows.
[0:44:30.2] KM: So you got one in marketing, one that is going to be a teacher like your parents. One is going to be a nurse like you.
[0:44:36.1] GH: No, she’s a doctor. She is an emergency resident in North Carolina. So she graduated from UAMS.
[0:44:44.6] KM: Like her dad.
[0:44:45.4] GH: Yes, so she is a doctor.
[0:44:47.5] KM: That is wonderful. Let me tell everybody that you are listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I am speaking today with Miss Garbo Hearne, founder and owner of Hearne Fine Art Gallery, Hearne Fine Art Consulting and Appraisal Services and Pyramid Art Books and Custom Framing in downtown Little Rock. It is a consortium of her family, he and her husband, Dr. Hearne – what is your husband’s first name?
[0:45:09.8] GH: Archie.
[0:45:10.4] KM: Dr. Archie Hearne and they have just taken something that they are passionate about and they turned it into a gallery and a framing company even though your background was originally in nursing and you spent time and money on your nursing degree.
[0:45:26.9] GH: I did, my dad was like, “Are you serious?”
[0:45:31.9] KM: Arkansans for the Arts that is your passion and its mission, I went to its website and its mission is to advance the arts, arts education and the creative economy of Arkansas. I love the words creative economy of Arkansas. That’s good, tell us about Arkansans for the Arts.
[0:45:52.1] GH: So Arkansans for the Arts is a state-wide arts advocacy group. We are made up of a board and advisers so we are a working board. Right now we don’t have an executive director. So we do the work, there are eight different committees. They come together that make this all happen. In 2014, we were formed as a result of a grant from the Wingate Foundation and Americans for the Arts, we were –
[0:46:18.8] KM: In what year?
[0:46:19.7] GH: 2014. We were one of five states that did not have an arts advocacy group. So they wanted to see what happens with states that don’t have arts advocacy groups and states that have strong ones as it relates to arts education. So it was a three year pilot project that a group studied arts education in Arkansas and so there was a paper written from that and so after that was over, here we are, the hard work must begin.
We must understand what is the importance of advocating for the arts in Arkansas and realizing that you are not going to get anybody’s attention unless you are talking about something that here’s where their heart is and that is the creative economy and if you look at the arts and what they do for the creative economy in Arkansas, every part of our state has its own successful art store. Crystal Bridges, I mean need I say more? Mountain View.
[0:47:20.6] KM: What’s in Mountain View?
[0:47:21.9] GH: Mountain View is where the culture – what is it?
[0:47:26.9] KM: You know they got big music, don’t they?
[0:47:28.4] GH: Music but it is the craft, the craft school started in 1941 and El Dorado, the Murphy’s Hours District. You look at pine blow of the murals. So every part of Arkansas has their own successful art story and if you think about arts other than visual theater, drama, dance, think about culinary. Think about fashion, think about film, think about what you do, all of these people have to have a creative output and that’s students that worked with our economy.
If you look at health care, look at all the beautiful art that they put in the hospitals. You think about art therapy, you think about dance therapy, all of that stems from the creative spirit and you have to be able to in terms of arts education it starts young. You never know what will happen if you don’t even think of – use both sides of your brain. So we got to make sure that there’s funding for arts education. So Arkansas for the Arts, looked at other successful advocacy groups in the United States.
And what we were missing was a legislative arts caucus. We got to work with Senator Joyce Elliot and you know just sat with her and gave her the numbers in terms of all of the disciplines that bring this creative economy in Arkansas. So when you talk money, you got to be able to back it up and so we convinced her to start a legislative arts caucus. So that was formed in November of last year. We had first arts advocacy day at the capital and the arts caucus was announced.
And so that is really exciting and that’s one of the things that we are really proud of. We are working with building student art leaders on the campus of UCA. They are forming UCA students for the arts and we’re hoping to take that model to every two year and four year college in Arkansas because we have to build student art leaders. We got to have people who understand what is the NEA do, the National Endowment for the Arts?
You know they were seeking a $155 million to celebrate the arts source so what do they do? And so what does mid-America arts lines, what is NASA, who are the people that control the arts? So we must understand that and have and build patrons. So that’s our goal with making sure that we play a part. If you’re not at the table especially political, we’re just out here talking. So we’re at the table, we are hoping to get a seat for the arts on the economic development commission right now that arts is not there.
[0:50:13.3] KM: I can’t believe that.
[0:50:13.9] GH: But you know, nobody is paying attention and if you think about politics how many politicians run on the arts? How many were missing it in their speeches? Because it is a given as one of those things that we take for granted. That is there but it not always going to be there. We don’t pay attention and make sure arts education is funded appropriately and that we are – the arts for everybody not just for the rich. It is for everybody.
[0:50:42.1] KM: So you want to have all the campuses to understand the NEA, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid America Arts –
[0:50:49.5] GH: Mid America Arts Alliances, a regional group.
[0:50:51.2] KM: And these are all people that give money.
[0:50:52.7] GH: Give money to support the arts. There are grants that they give. You know it goes down to the people, one of our biggest partners is Arkansas Arts Council. The Arkansas Arts Council is they support the arts in Arkansas and there’s a board that serves at the pleasure of the governor that is from all A districts in the State and so what do they do? You know they give grants to organizations like the Arkansas Arts Center, the Rip. They also give individual grants. So there is –
[0:51:28.6] KM: Do you all work together with them?
[0:51:30.0] GH: We do, we support their efforts and they keep us informed of what’s going on in the State of Arkansas so they cannot be – they cannot lobby, they cannot go form a legislative caucus. They cannot do that at all.
[0:51:43.2] KM: They are just a non-profit but where do they get their money to support the arts?
[0:51:47.1] GH: They get it from NEA and they get some money from – they are using some of that money for – that is where the money funnels down through.
[0:51:54.1] KM: So your people will work through them to get money or will your non-profit get money on its own?
[0:52:02.5] GH: No Arkansas for the Arts is sustainable from membership and this is from organizations can join, individuals can join. It is sustainable from membership only.
[0:52:15.3] KM: You are getting a phone call. Hello caller, you are on the air with Garbo Hearne on Up In Your Business. Do you have a question for my guest?
[0:52:23.3] CALLER: Yeah, I do. Good afternoon, I was close to Hearne. Do you know who this is?
[0:52:29.4] GH: How are you? I sure do, one of my best customers.
[0:52:32.9] CALLER: Yes ma’am. I’ll tell you why. You know I am so happy that I called the show today and they were saying is this message to you given for your simple definition about the true meaning of art as you say free and kindred and you know, it ends up as a divine manifestation from God, which is nature and I always felt like that should be taught in the home. I mean even before a child goes to school, he should be taught the essence of art and I just want to let you know I am going to pass on the word and we are going to be supportive.
[0:53:16.5] GH: Thank you.
[0:53:18.2] KM: Thank you caller for calling and Jayson, I think this is a good place to wind the show up. It was a great call from your fan club out there and I think he’s right. You do need to teach it, your love and appreciation for beautiful things I think is really important. So I was going to give you this book called The End of Line by Berna Love about 9th Street. Do you already have that in your bookstore?
[0:53:39.4] GH: I don’t.
[0:53:39.8] KM: You don’t?
[0:53:40.5] GH: I don’t.
[0:53:41.5] KM: Oh I cannot believe it. So we sell this at Arkansas Flag and Banner. It’s The End of the Line, it is about 9th street. It is written by Berna Love and author of Right Here. I know the Mosaic Temper has it, you might want to think about this.
[0:53:52.5] GH: I think I did, sure.
[0:53:54.0] KM: Listen, I have another great book. Do you have these books? We are going to talk about business here for a minute. I want to give you another book. So I will give you a couple of books. So these are all from Arkansas Flag and Banner, so do you get these books? This little bitty cute if you’re on…
[0:54:09.6] GH: These are great gift books. We do carry them during the holiday and these are a great gift for graduation.
[0:54:17.8] KM: Yep, since it’s on the radio I’m going to talk about it. They are about four by six inch books about 30 pages. That one is the quotes.
[0:54:27.8] GH: The Quotations of Martin Luther King Junior, yes.
[0:54:30.7] KM: And there’s quotes from my favorite president, Theodore Roosevelt. He is my favorite president. He was the last president to do battle on horse, in case you all didn’t know that. I know and –
[0:54:43.1] GH: Is this for me?
[0:54:43.8] KM: That is for you too, yeah. I didn’t know if you sell this books in your store and I wanted to let you know about it and I think you should and this book too.
[0:54:48.9] GH: Well, thank you. Yes I know Berna really well.
[0:54:51.8] KM: Oh good, I thank you for coming on very much.
[0:54:54.6] GH: Well, thank you. Thank you, it has been fun.
[0:54:56.1] KM: Yeah, it is fun ain’t it?
[0:54:58.0] GH: Yes.
[0:54:58.2] KM: You were great. Who is my guest next week Jayson?
[0:55:01.1] JM: Matt Bell from Chef Matt Bell from South and Maine Restaurant.
[0:55:04.8] KM: Yes, Matt Bell. If you all eat from South and Maine he is a great cook and he’s got a wonderful wife, Amy and I saw him the other day and I went down there. He has lost 80 pounds and I told him I don’t trust a skinny chef. He said he quit eating when he got off work. He said all I did was quit eating, I get off work at midnight, I go home and I eat a bagel plate of food. He said “I just quite eating that meal.” The fourth meal. He said “I just quit eating the fourth meal.”
I was like, well okay. So he is also partners with Oxford America down in South on Maine. We are going to hear about they have great music down there at South on Maine. So we’ll hear about their music that they offer. Jayson, will you tell our listeners how they can become a part of the show?
[0:55:54.1] JM: If you have a great entrepreneurial story and like to share it with Kerry, you can send a brief bio to email@example.com message on Flagandbanner.com’s Facebook or make a comment on here below.
[0:56:06.8] KM: That’s right and lastly to our listeners, thank you for spending time with us. If you think this program has been about you, you are right but it’s also been for me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I’m Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up In Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:56:35.1] JM: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you miss any part of this show or want to learn more about UIYB, go to flagandbanner.com and click on “radio show”, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our weekly podcast wherever you like to listen. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show. Underwriting opportunities available upon request. Kerry’s goal is to help you live the American Dream.