High-end music photography shop Morrison Hotel Gallery shuttered its five-year-old La Jolla location at the end of August, shifting its business to a storefront at Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar. Though both galleries ran concurrent for three months, according to Rich Horowitz (a former co-owner of music retailer Off The Record who cofounded the Gallery in 2001 with former record company executive Peter Blachley and music photographer Henry Diltz), the Del Mar location was always intended to replace La Jolla.
Morrison Hotel Galleries’ first location was in New York. Today there are six storefronts: four in New York, one in L.A., and Del Mar. The galleries’ photos range in price from $500 to $10,000. Though exact figures were unavailable, according to Horowitz, Soho is the most profitable location.
“Our lease was coming up for renewal in La Jolla,” he explained of the move. “When tourism in La Jolla decreased dramatically this past year, we thought it was the perfect time to move.” In addition to rent concerns and foot traffic, he also cites La Jolla’s lack of parking as playing a role.
“It was an exciting spot to have a gallery while there were a lot of people on the street. Once that stopped happening, there wasn’t much point in staying.” Calls to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau for tourism figures had not been returned by press time.
Despite the company’s increased East Coast presence, plans are to keep its main offices in San Diego. Photographs and merchandise for all the galleries are shipped from Morrison Hotel’s Carlsbad warehouse. “I’m not going anywhere. We’ll always be headquartered here because I live here,” Horowitz said.
The La Jolla location was known for attracting a mix of artistically inclined music stars such as ’60s icon Graham Nash and Mexican rocker Javier Batiz, as well as legendary lensmen like Robert Whitaker, whose credits include album covers for the Beatles and Cream. At the new location, Horowitz is planning on increasing the amount of exhibitions, with three already set to take place before the end of the year: “An Evening for Music Lovers,” featuring works from jazz label Blue Note’s photographic archive; works by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) on November 7 and Lynn Goldsmith on November 21, both with the artists in attendance opening night.
According to Horowitz, there are plans for additional Morrison Hotel locations in the future, but nothing is set in stone. “We’d like to open up in places like London, Tokyo, and Hawaii, but with the economy the way it is, not much can happen anytime soon. We’re waiting for things to settle down.”