Contributed by Classy Art
Wholesale art dealer Classy Art, LLC has once again been honored for its consistent positive growth and commitment to job creation in an under-resourced community by being named No. 66 on the Inner City 100 list for 2020. Family-owned since its establishment, Classy Art, LLC operates under the direction of CEO and President Gabriel Cohen. A visionary of the home décor industry, Cohen led Classy Art to a repeat appearance on the IC 100 thanks to an impressive 115% increase in revenue between 2015-2019. The art dealer was grateful for the commendation.
“This is a proud moment for us to be included on the IC100 list,” Cohen said. “This is proof positive that what we are doing is working. It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized alongside leaders from so many industries across the county.”
The IC100 list is compiled by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a Roxbury, Massachusetts-based non-profit research firm founded in 1994. The ICIC tracks and assembles actionable data on the economic health of urban centers across the United States. Honorees on the 2020 Inner City 100 list were assessed on a number of variables, including revenue growth and job stability, measured over the course of the previous four years. It also included information gathered during 2020 to evaluate growth against 2019 and gauge how inner-city industries were holding up against the ravages of COVID-19 closures.
Cohen said the Classy Art team’s efforts rely on the talents of Vice President Blake Johnson and credited Johnson for helping the business not only survive but thrive during what was a challenging year.
“It’s wild to think that we achieved the growth numbers that we did while the industry was essentially shut down for several months,” Cohen said. “I’m really appreciative of Blake, who facilitated the pivot we made in our marketing strategy that allowed for the adaptation necessary to grow during the COVID-19 closures.”
Johnson is humble about the praise and said that it’s the groundwork laid by Gabriel and his brother and partner Jonathan Cohen that makes it possible for the business to succeed.
“I don’t know that I or we did anything different,” Johnson said, “Our owners set a culture of being incredibly aggressive and agile from the beginning, so it (2020) was not out of the norm, but rather simply a shift in the order of priority in which we tackled projects.”
The IC100 awards were announced in a virtual ceremony held on Dec. 8, 2020. Honorees were invited to speak about their businesses and their experiences maintaining and expanding even through the health crisis. ICIC CEO Steve Grossman addressed the tenacity of the art dealer during the awards presentation.
“IC100 companies are forces of economic opportunity, optimism and transformation in their communities, and it’s an honor to recognize Classy Art’s leadership,” Grossman said. “Especially during this incredibly challenging time, as small business owners reckon with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, these pioneering entrepreneurs have demonstrated a deep commitment to and passion for their local communities.”
For Cohen, the award is a tangible indication that his business is making an impact in their community.
“We are so honored to be included again in the Inner City 100,” Cohen said. “We certainly aren’t working this hard to achieve recognition, but it is rewarding nevertheless to know that our efforts are paying off and making a difference.”
Classy Art, LLC was founded by the Cohen brothers’ parents in 1987 to fill a need in the wholesale art industry. Today, Classy Art maintains its original location in Houston as well as showrooms in Tupelo, Mississippi, High Point, North Carolina, and Las Vegas, Nevada. They also currently have an office in Opelika.
Retailers who need more information or would like to open an account are invited to visit Classy Art’s website at www.classyart.net. For more information about the businesses on the Inner City 100 list for 2020 or the methodology used to choose the award winners, visit fortune.com/inner-city-100/2020/.