Contemporary Galleries stays on the cutting edge

| June 15, 2011

Contemporary Galleries.Look, up in the sky – it’s a crossword puzzle! It’s Op Art!

No, it’s the gigantic QR (Quick Response) code that’s had heads turning and smart phones clicking on Bardstown Road since early May. With only the name “Contemporary Galleries” beside it, the barcode is a bold, two-dimensional design that evokes the store’s style, which has made it a local landmark for modern furniture and accessories for 40 years.

“QR codes are a new way of interacting with customers. Anyone with a smart phone and the right app can scan our code and see a short video about our merchandise. It tells who we are and what we’re about – and it has great music,” said Bob Mason, who owns Contemporary Galleries with his brother, Todd Mason. “The visual sense is important to consumers, especially with furniture. You can describe a sofa with words, but it’s better to see it. QR codes are still kind of new and different, like our furniture, so this form of advertising is a perfect fit for us.”

Contemporary Galleries.The location of the billboard, facing south near Eastern Parkway, seems ideal as well.

“The area is good for pedestrian traffic as well as stop-and-go car traffic. The neighborhood is technically savvy, so they know what a QR code is for,” said Todd Mason. “Since the code is scanned with a smart phone, the sign could be a dangerous distraction if we put it near an interstate. It’s in a great spot right where it is, and we’re seeing good results.”

The store also has the QR code on furniture tags, to access details about brands and materials; and on its delivery truck, so nearby motorists can do a quick scan while waiting for a light to change or a train to pass. The mini-video, created by Buzz Advertising, concludes with a special offer.

Brothers Todd and Bob Mason own Contemporary Galleries, which recently started using QR codes in its advertisements.

Brothers Todd and Bob Mason own Contemporary Galleries, which recently started using QR codes in its advertisements.

Contemporary Galleries of Kentucky Inc. was founded in 1971 by Chuck and Eleanor Mason; since 1995, it has been located at 220 N. Hurstbourne Parkway in the Forum shopping center. The couple’s sons have pitched in ever since they were students at Ballard High School.

“We started out cutting the grass, doing maintenance, making deliveries and assembling furniture,” Bob said. “Later we moved up to sales and day-to-day operations. It was great to learn the business that way.”

Contemporary furniture always has been popular among young adults who want a more casual, bolder style than that of their parents. However, the Masons also have customers who have loved traditional (e.g. Colonial Williamsburg) furnishings all their lives, but are ready for a change.

Contemporary Galleries.“A lot of the older generation is downsizing into smaller rooms, and contemporary style lends itself to that,” Todd said. “Our furniture isn’t as bulky as what they’ve had before, and it’s easier to keep clean.” Today’s materials include comfortable microfiber textiles and surfaces that need only a quick wipe-down.

Contemporary Galleries is next door to Home Today, its lower-price-point annex, which offers ready-to-assemble bookcases and other items that make it a popular stop for students and apartment dwellers.

“This style is very functional, and it doesn’t get old,” Bob said. “A few decades ago, it was very Scandinavian, but our niche in the marketplace is broader and more modern. A lot of contemporary pieces are almost works of art. They’re timeless.”

Contemporary Galleries.As for that eye-catching billboard, its time will soon be up. However, the Masons will be watching the technology as it evolves.

“There are new codes that use circles and colors; so much of this is in the early stages,” Bob said. “We’ll see what develops down the road.”

Contemporary Galleries is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6p.m.; closed Wednesday; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

For information, call 502..426.2406, visit www.contemporarygalleries.com – or scan the QR code.

Billboard photos by Chris Humphreys | Voice-Tribune

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