When the company was asked to make a high-profile, cross-country delivery of a $135 million painting by Austrian artist Gustav Kilmt in 2006, Humboldt CEO Howard Goldman saw a prospective niche in storing, moving and managing fine art collections.
Humboldt Storage and Moving Co. in Canton has been transporting people’s most prized possessions for more than 100 years.
But when the company was asked to make a high-profile, cross-country delivery of a $135 million painting by Austrian artist Gustav Kilmt in 2006, Humboldt CEO Howard Goldman saw a prospective niche in storing, moving and managing fine art collections.
After thoroughly researching that market niche, Goldman said he realized reaching out to the art industry would call for a far less conservative approach to marketing than Humboldt’s usual approach.
“You really need to build your name and reputation up, because artists and collectors are very particular,” Goldman said. “They don’t necessarily trust you just because you say you’re good.”
Last year Goldman launched Mind’s Eye, a division of Humboldt devoted entirely to moving, storing and managing collections of fine art and collectibles.
The new division’s name, Goldman said, is meant to display the more creative side of the traditionally meat-and-potatoes moving and storage company.
Mind’s Eye is also turning to unconventional – at least for the moving industry – means of marketing. Its Web site is deliberately artsy and the company has even launched an art-themed blog to raise brand recognition in the art world.
Mind’s Eye consists of 10 employees who are specially trained in handling art, and its 2,000 square feet of storage facilities offer special security and climate-controlled features that allow for complete customization based on the art owner’s needs.
Goldman said the new division even has the room to build customized storage spaces for clients who would like their collections kept to their exact specifications. He said the division already has plans to build an additional 3,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage vaults within the next three months, and expects an expansion of an additional 32,000 square feet in the next few years.
Currently, Mind’s Eye accounts for about 5 percent of Humboldt’s annual revenue of $16 million. Ultimately, Goldman said he expects it to grow to around 20 percent of the company’s overall business.
“But there’s no hurry to get there,” Goldman said. “We’re well enough financed that we’re just trying to build our name and our reputation – one project at a time.”
A.J. Bauer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.