SOMERVILLE, NJ - Shaun Daley and Michele Mundt were just a few weeks away from the grand opening of their Gallery on Main antiques and art gallery when disaster struck April 17.
A faulty pipe in the ceiling burst in the middle of the night, sending a cascade of water down the the freshly painted walls and spreading across the newly installed floors.
"When I first got the call, I was in disbelief, but it wasn't until I got there that I realized how bad it was," Daley recalls.
"My mouth dropped."
The fire department had arrived before he did, and had just gained access through the rear door, looking to turn off the water supply.
Peering through the plate glass window out front, Daley estimates there was four inches of water inside; a steady stream seeped through the bottom of the door. Once the front door was opened, gallons of water spilled out onto the sidewalk, over the curb, down the street and into the storm drain.
It took five weeks to dry out the store, replace sheetrock, the sub-floor and install new flooring,
The partners opened the doors again on May 23, and have been preparing since then for their long-delayed Grand Opening
Finally, it's time.
Daley and Mundt will host a three-hour celebration with a ribbon cutting starting at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 11th.
Appetizers will be provided by Verve Bistro Bar and Lounge, with desserts by Stephanie's Great American Kitchen.
An art gallery, antique shop and custom framing shop, Gallery on Main is the realization of a longtime dream shared by Daley and Mundt, who are lifelong friends. Both are Somerset County natives and graduated Immaculata High School.
"What we've got is an eclectic mix of things you won't find in the average art gallery or antiques store," Daley said. "The store is the result of careful planning plus having been in the art business for 25 years, as well as frequenting many shops, I saw what different places had, what I liked and didn't like," he added.
"Michelle and I decided to lay out the floor plan as an open space, so there's not so much that you can't see anything," Daley said.
Both are happy to have survived the flood and can't say enough good things about Somerville.
“We had looked at a lot of different locations over the course of a year and found that Somerville gave us the best opportunity, the best main street in our area, and we just knew that with all the revitalization going on and the lively town that it is, it’s definitely the place to be.”
The Gallery will offer:
- Works by artists from around the world as well as local artists, including quarterly juried exhibitions and Featured Artist of the Month
- Interesting vintage and antique items, including furniture, decorative objects, household and industrial items, masks, folk art, textiles, toys, collectibles and more. "We especially love one-of-a-kind pieces and things that are not commonly seen," Mundt said
- High-quality custom framing of pictures, paintings, display-worthy keepsakes and other objects. "We have 30 years of professional framing experience, plus a true love of the craft and great pride in our workmanship. You name it, we can frame it," Daley said. Over the years, Daley has designed and constructed thousands of picture frames and shadow boxes for not only artwork, but also objects as diverse as a monkey pelt, signed sports memorabilia, a vintage gun, wigs and watches. He is also an artist, with several of his works hung on the walls of the store, located at 30 West Main Street.
- Skilled restoration and conservation services that bring damaged or time-worn art, photos and picture frames back to life, as well as fine art appraisals. This includes museum-quality art restoration, digital or hand retouching of photos, repairing tears, deacidification of works on paper or fabric, and more.
- And art- and antiques-driven events, including "meet the artist" opportunities.
"We couldn't be happier," Daley said. "Michelle and I have worked hard to get to this point. We definitely got knocked down, but we're stronger and ready to take over the art and antiques world."
Gallery on Main is open Mondays through Thursdays 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment.