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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Feb. 6, 200212:00 PM EST

Profile: Leigh Fogle

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Leigh Fogle is the co-owner of Fogle Fine Art & Accessories on the Southside.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Decorative art and framing. She runs the business and conducts sales.

WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS?

“A large percentage of our business is corporate accounts; we work through their interior designers. We also target new businesses moving to town and those expanding. I monitor the newspapers to see who out there needs art work.”

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

“I had worked in a framing store in Indiana and my boss offered me a job as an art consultant. He planted the seed. I started my company right out of college. My husband Bryan and I both own it. We worked out of our Southside home for two and a half years and we’ve been in this location for five years. When we moved down here I told Bryan we could buy a used frame cutter for matting. I started framing pictures out of the spare bedroom and once we began getting national accounts, we moved to an office.”

WHY OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

“I was a born entrepreneur. In the fifth grade I sold Christmas cards and in high school, I had a business with a friend where we sold T-shirts.”

WHAT’S NEW?

“We’re starting to do more residential. This year we are adding to the sales staff and doing more advertising. We’ll get to expand and do more openings.” Since the business opened, the gallery has expanded from 3,600 square feet to 6,000.

HOW MANY ARE SCHEDULED?

“This year we have an opening in April, then one in November.”

WHAT GENRE OF ART DO YOU FEATURE?

“We try to be really diverse. I have all different kinds of art work from posters to originals — whatever the market dictates.”

ANYTHING YOU WON’T CARRY?

“There’s a new process called giclee that is wonderful. It is most like an original piece of art of any printing process. There has been some controversy over it because the artist has no hand in it, but it allows him to have more of his work out there. I refuse to sell giclee on canvas because buyers don’t know it’s not an original. I think it’s deceiving.”

WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?

“Every project is different but most rewarding is watching something you create become successful and see people appreciate art. It’s good to have relationships with people; my customers are my friends and I like educating people about what they’re buying.”

WHAT’S MOST CHALLENGING?

“Finding good people is the hardest thing. It’s any small business’ biggest problem. We have a good staff but people have lives; they move on.”

HOMETOWN

Warsaw, Ind. “We lived in the country where the closest neighbor was a mile away.”

COLLEGE

An art history major, Fogle attended Depauw University and graduated from Indiana University.

ARE YOU AN ARTIST?

“I did do paintings, mostly oils, but I was a frustrated artist. I always wanted things to be perfect. I think it’s easier to sell it than to paint it. I can communicate to artists what the customer is looking for.”

WHY CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

“My parents took me to The Art Institute in Chicago in the fifth grade for a Monet exhibit and I just fell in love with art immediately. I took art classes in high school. In college I majored in economics then switched to studio art. I find art history intriguing because you can learn about the artists, their culture and society around that period.”

WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE?

“I had just graduated from IU and my husband [before they were married] was living in Atlanta. I didn’t want to live in Atlanta. His sister had just moved to Jacksonville and Bryan always wanted to live by the ocean.”

WHAT OTHER JOBS HAVE YOU HELD?

“I worked at CSX for 14 months in the environmental department. I started out as a temp but when they realized I had a brain, they moved me into budgeting.”

HOBBIES

Gardening, fishing and decorating the house are favorites of hers. She is also a member of the Southside Rotary Club. “My husband and I drive A1A to Vilano Beach on the weekends to wind down.”

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

Fogle’s father is on a car racing team. When she was three years old, she met race car driver A.J. Foyt.

— by Monica Chamness

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