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The Art of Convenience

Aug 12, 2011

by Chappell Ellison handmade and vintage goods

No matter who you are or where you live, we all want our own Cheers — a place where you’re comfortable and everyone greets you by name. In the era of anonymous shopping malls and big-box Goliaths, we forget how crucial such neighborhood fixtures are in our daily lives, be it a café, library, or bar. So when Jody Gnant heard that her favorite local corner store was about to lose its lease and close after 40 years of business, she knew she had to do something. “The worst thing in the world for a business owner, I would think, is watching your inventory go at 75%, or 50%, and having the close out sale and having to say goodbye that way,” Gnant said.

Located in New York City’s West Village, the store in question was Hercules Fancy Grocery, owned by a man of the same mythical name. Earlier this year, Hercules faced eviction as he lacked the cash to pay creditors. While he prepared to shutter his business, a young group of artists and friends, including Jody Gnant, met to discuss how they could help Hercules. At first, when someone in the group suggested they buy everything in Hercules’s store, it sounded crazy. But soon enough, Kyle MacDonald, better known as the guy who traded one red paper clip for a house, went to the bank and took out $20,000 in credit card cash advances. Thus, Store Buyout was born.

Armed with several cameras and one briefcase full of cash, the group descended upon the store and informed Hercules that they wanted to buy everything. At first, Hercules laughed, as if he was the subject of a practical joke. But when he realized they were serious, tears sprang to his eyes in what is the most heart-wrenching moment in the video. The group proceeded to haul armloads of items from shelves while Hercules tabulated what would become a 57-foot long receipt by the end of the evening. All the items were loaded into an empty U-Haul waiting around the corner. Six hours after they had arrived, the group left a smiling Hercules in his empty store, left only with his cat Sneaky in his arms.

Yet for all the fuzzy feelings and good intentions evidenced through their video, there is a second part to the story that has been met with criticism. Every item the group bought in Hercules Fancy Grocery is now for sale as art. What was once a $10 pack of Marlboro cigarettes is now a $409 art object, sealed in a plexiglass cube adorned with a plaque. Other objects — a pack of Orbitz gum ($75), a BIC lighter ($50), a package of plain M&M’s ($100) — are for sale in a similar fashion. Such intense markups are what MacDonald refers to as an “adventure in how value can be created or perceived.” In other words, MacDonald wants to know what sort of cultural shift must happen for a person to pay a high price for an object they could get in their local grocery store for $1.

Though all the profits will go toward helping Hercules get the store of his dreams, for some, the project has taken on an attention-seeking nature. In response to a can of Coke that McDonald is selling for $400, Alex Goldmark of GOOD wrote, “Stick a label on it that says ‘Upside Down Can of Coke’… call it art, and give it a narrative. Will it work? For art’s sake, I hope not.” Goldmark continues, “He’s also really shoving the hollowness of this kind of concept art in people’s faces.” For others like Aimee Davison, a Montreal-based social media marketer, this sort of thing is a hybridization of art and social networking that will positively impact our definitions of value and cultural importance. “The new media zeitgeist has enabled ambitious and outrageous (or epic) independent projects to encourage artistic discussion and collaboration, capture national media attention and achieve both cultural and economic success. Invention, attention and imagination drive the new social media economy.”

“This is probably one of the stupidest things any of us have ever done,” MacDonald has since said of the project. Now, two months since carrying that briefcase full of money into Hercules’s store, MacDonald is just hoping to break even. “When we found out that Hercules was probably going to lose his store back in May, our intention was to help him out entirely,” MacDonald said in his most recent YouTube update. “We figured a little bit of cash would help.” As for Hercules, he recently lost a court battle with his landlord and must vacate his store by the end of August. While encouraging everyone to show some support if they can by visiting Hercules,  MacDonald and his friends continue to do everything they can to get Hercules a new store. In a recent, emotional interview, Hercules stays positive: “I hope something changes my landlord’s life and his mind, you know, to give me some kind of help to stay longer in business.” When asked why he loves his job so much, Hercules simply replied, “To start this business was very hard. I love what I’m doing… I cannot change this.”

There is no doubt that Store Buyout has its heart in the right place. The $20,000 in cash that Hercules received on that fateful day helped him live a bit easier and cover the legal costs of his inevitable court case with his landlord. But mixing a kind-hearted gesture with a high-priced, Warhol-esque experiment is volatile. When someone else’s livelihood is on the line, should you take a gamble with an artistic statement?

Art on The Blog | Art Category


  • whichgoose

    whichgoose said 6 years ago

    *grabbing some popcorn*

  • NorthwestBridal

    NorthwestBridal said 6 years ago

    Very creative concept, I love it!

  • ModernVintageDesigns

    ModernVintageDesigns said 6 years ago

    hmmm, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out...

  • MamaDragonBreath

    MamaDragonBreath said 6 years ago

    I think the idea is noble, but the markup ridiculous. Why not just resell the "art" at double or triple what they originally paid? Still affordable for the common person to own, yet will still make them a profit.

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 6 years ago

    *asks whichgoose for some popcorn* ;) I really want to see what happens next with Hercules & the *art*! Fascinating stuff!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Interesting.. this one's a tough call for me as I can see both Hercules' and the landlord's sides. Business is business, but people are people..what a tangled web we weave never seemed more true.

  • calloohcallay

    calloohcallay said 6 years ago

    Marcel Duchamp would be proud.

  • lazysundaysshop

    lazysundaysshop said 6 years ago

    art is everywhere!!

  • jeffdiamondart

    jeffdiamondart said 6 years ago

    The Store Buyout was a sweet and kind effort by some nice people. But I have to note that the "normally $10 pack" of smokes should cause a needle scratch sound effect in any functioning brain as to what's wrong with N.Y. and elsewhere in my country. The art experiment portion is also a wash. "Warhol-esque" doesn't work for me either; there's only one Andy. And "a hybridization of art and social networking that will positively impact our definitions of value and cultural importance" is more simply and clearly translated as "there's a sucker born every minute." Good on you, Store Buy Out team, Hercules and Sneaky kitty.

  • Tibbycats

    Tibbycats said 6 years ago

    This guy is very clever..

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss said 6 years ago

    What an interesting premise...

  • hawthornehill

    hawthornehill said 6 years ago

    Soo interesting. One man's junk is another man's treasure.

  • EvaRainbow

    EvaRainbow said 6 years ago

    I love this! It shows the strength of community and creativity. I don't know the details of the legal battle but I hope one way or another Hercules can have a store that is even more successful and Kyle can break even. Very interesting!

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 6 years ago


  • GloriousGirlJewelry

    GloriousGirlJewelry said 6 years ago

    I look at it like this - it's a win-win situation: Hercules needed to sell & move out ( he cannot change his landlords mind ) and the group of artists wanted to do a "do good-act"....if someone WANTS to spend $400 on a pack of Malboros, let 'em! Hopefully Hercules can open "the store of his dreams" somewhere else and maybe get a loan from the artists to do so - or retire in peace with his sweet kitty witty.

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 6 years ago

    Where do they sell this stuff? I'm thinking if they had a website where people with too much money could go and purchase these items just to help them out, then that would be a good idea. But calling it "art" ? hmmm

  • soundsofthesea

    soundsofthesea said 6 years ago

    The intentions are marvellous...human kindness is never a waste of time or effort. I am so far from New York that I don't understand the business side of the issue, but I am glad to have learned a little about Hercules. There is likely someone just like him in many of our communities.

  • rebeccascreations

    rebeccascreations said 6 years ago

    This was an interesting story to read. Hope all goes well for Hecules! Just when I was thinking of giving up on Etsy along comes a nice buyer who bought 7 of my handmade dragonflies. What a surprise for me! I love what I create, and would love to keep on creating everything. If you are interested, please visit my shop. I have wallet wristlets, dragonflies, kitties crocheted, jewelry, horse heads of polymer clay etc. I have a Fall Sale going on now. ;o) Please visit and tell your friends. I would really like to stay with Etsy. Thank you.

  • saraaires

    saraaires said 6 years ago

    Maybe sometimes, the only way to really bring attention to such matters is to kind of "shock" the public opinion... the way I see it, this action is non violent, cheerful, smart and simple (as many great master pieces are) but, I would never call it art, I honestly don't believe anyone should.

  • ryy469

    ryy469 said 6 years ago

    This is not just about Hercules and his store, this is about what is happening around the world when big business takes over. I grew up in New York with corner stores in every community, it was about community and convenience, but when prices go up, both in product and real estate everyone suffers and will continue to suffer until greed people stop being greed. The whole situation is obscene. Don't get me started on 'art'.

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 6 years ago

    I love it, great story.

  • rejive

    rejive said 6 years ago

    Interesting story! Thanks for the share!

  • Geryes

    Geryes said 6 years ago

    That's so cool

  • heatherfuture

    heatherfuture said 6 years ago

    Oooooh, juicy! The store buyout bit is delightfully sweet. As for the second part, I appreciate the way MacDonald challenges our perceptions of value, both with his paperclip experiment and with this project. Anything that has people thinking, discussing, feeling, and questioning deserves to be called art, in my opinion. Maybe the discomfort that the cost of the objects causes people will lead us to think about other questionable instances of invented value.

  • ImagesInBloom

    ImagesInBloom said 6 years ago

    I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand is a group of do gooding people who want to rescue Hercules (funny pun there) and on the other hand there are external factors that keep pushing Hercules into fiscal crisis. I smiled and grinned to see Hercules face when the briefcase of cash and the proposal were given. But this is such a short term, non sustainable solution to the issue. His store was his world, his passion, his reason for getting up in the morning. The money infused hope, but the landlord's greedy activity sounds like it has dashed his hopes. The idea of art as sustainability interests me... but in building community in this sense we need to bring pressure to stop the greed, the increasing rent costs, and the cycle that destroys lives and livelihoods. I agree with ryy on this one. But thank you store buyout for your love and your heart.

  • ShirlBCreations

    ShirlBCreations said 6 years ago

    Good story. You know it can't hurt to try. Just sitting back and doing nothing is better than doing something. Mucho luck to you.

  • pillowfactory

    pillowfactory said 6 years ago

    cool! do they want to buyout my little store ;)

  • BestDressedJewelry

    BestDressedJewelry said 6 years ago

    Etsy is one of the best sites online, because it attracts the kind of people that believe in small businesses. This is such a heart warming story - it brought tears to my eyes. People can empower themselves to create their own reality and this is a perfect example of that. I just love the creativity of this. Kudos to those involved and to Etsy for show casing this article!!

  • crescentmoonprim

    crescentmoonprim said 6 years ago

    I guess the recession is over if people can waste money on things they can buy in their local store & pay exorbitant prices for them. I guess that's why I will never be rich. I have a conscientious.

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 6 years ago

    Fascinating concept, but I would have appealed to the masses to purchase each item first and choose few to turn into an art money making machine. How many items did they buy? and was it all turned into art, what about perishable, we need more details.

  • shawnstpeter

    shawnstpeter said 6 years ago

    This is awesome!

  • debscottage

    debscottage said 6 years ago

    I think this needs to go to the main stream media. I personally don't know how to do that, however, I believe this story has merit. There is something so "American" about the corner grocery store where a man can live his dreams and a neighborhood can enjoy the comforts of good friends, neighbors and convience. We all want wealth, but how is it really measured? Just some thoughts here.

  • threebrandgrands

    threebrandgrands said 6 years ago

    Art is always about the risk--sell that can of Coke for $400! Good intentions and good actions make the Universe a better place for all of us. LOVE this story!

  • mudpuppy

    mudpuppy said 6 years ago

    Being kind to others is never a waste of time or energy. Store Buyout's efforts and intentions will be repaid 10 fold, maybe not in money but in love.

  • WashiLights

    WashiLights said 6 years ago

    hard to see what difference between a $400 can of cola and Warhol's photolitho of a can of tomato soup for 500k would make an art critic upset with the one but not the other....oh, wait it must be that 'whoever gets there first' thing.

  • ekra

    ekra said 6 years ago

    I see this entire act as a piece of art, from the idea to buy him out, to the performance part of actually buying the goods and capturing the emotions on video, to the final encapsulation of merchandise in plexiglass. These final pieces are a way for people for people who were not involved in the original plan, but feel moved by the actions and problems of Hercules, to contribute monetarily, and also have a physical representation of their part in the action. Obviously you can buy a can of Coke or a candy bar for a few dollars, but these pieces from Hercules aren't meant for consumption, but rather, a piece from a moment in time, something meaningful, a commentary on society, or, as some might call those things: art.

  • CCsOneofaKind

    CCsOneofaKind said 6 years ago

    I think after this has made it to the Etsy blog...........the best is yet to come for Hercules! Best of Luck!

  • AppelJar

    AppelJar said 6 years ago

    Lives are destroyed daily with the 'average, everyday' greed that we see everywhere, all over the planet. There is no longer anything called human kindness or respect - when you connect that word to money. Where does it end ?

  • JBamman

    JBamman said 6 years ago

    Neighbors helping Neighbors- You can feel the love for Hercules! Hope the art "experiment" works out for them in the end.

  • featherwhore

    featherwhore said 6 years ago

    ~~~I just loved reading this story!!!! I was smiling the whole time.... I <3 Hercules!!!! xo

  • FinePointStudio

    FinePointStudio said 6 years ago

    That's nice and I'm happy for Hercules, but what happens if Kyle MacDonald can't pay back his newly aquired $20,000 debt - who bails him out?

  • ocbeachdude

    ocbeachdude said 6 years ago

    Wow !! heart warming video, much love to all that made it happen...

  • seule771

    seule771 said 6 years ago

    Unbelievable to saving the lease.

  • littlejarofhearts

    littlejarofhearts said 6 years ago

    I'm such a sucker-- This made me cry!

  • knitoralclitoral

    knitoralclitoral said 6 years ago

    I can't help but feel like, at NYC prices, that store inventory exceeds $20,000... There is at least $1,000 in a pile of cigarettes behind the counter. And the total was...? What? What was it? Still, it's a heartwarming video and left me smiling.

  • caseysharpe

    caseysharpe said 6 years ago

    Seriously? Only one commenter mentioned Duchamp? Back to art history class, everyone! These things are readymades, not Warhol. Let me enlighten you. Duchamp's first readymade was a urinal, turned on its side, titled "Fountain" and signed "R. Mutt" In 1917.

  • jewelkingthai

    jewelkingthai said 6 years ago

    A usefull topic for etsy user

  • EchinopsandAster

    EchinopsandAster said 6 years ago

    As it has been pointed out, this isn't really a new idea in art (Marcel Duchamp). I think the part that is new and fascinating is the way in which these objects become a physical extension of the performance art. They are ephemeral risen to the status of "object" simply through the action of the art. Art is often bought and sold simply as a commodity, often because of the value of the investment and not due to an emotional or cerebral appreciation of the actual art. This kind of turns the idea of art as a commodity on its head. How much more is a lighter worth if it is given status through the action of the performance and then displayed in plexi? I think its worth asking.

  • PetrinaCaseStudio

    PetrinaCaseStudio said 6 years ago

    Wish MacDonald would have said where to mail a check to. Super story - ignites faith in the human spirit. If we all wait long enough we will be getting our groceries from India or some other country.

  • crazycouture

    crazycouture said 6 years ago

    Wow what a great story!!! Thanks for posting things like this Etsy! It makes a bad day look a little brighter!

  • studme

    studme said 6 years ago

    What a stunt !

  • MapleCreekShop

    MapleCreekShop said 6 years ago

    I love how it advances and criticizes art at the same time!

  • GatheringSplendor

    GatheringSplendor said 6 years ago

    i have to give this some deep first impression is wonderful....but then again???

  • BloomAndBarnacle

    BloomAndBarnacle said 6 years ago

    More power to em!

  • juliannamcduffie

    juliannamcduffie said 6 years ago

    I'm with Eckra... Couldn't have said it better. Now... Who's making the "I <3 Hercules" tshirts with proceeds to the man himself? I'm buying.

  • DivaHair

    DivaHair said 6 years ago

    i love the intent, but i wish they would have done something more innovative such as make a collage or sculpture from the items, and not just stick stuff in collector boxes, but at the root it was an amazing gesture and I wish well for all involved

  • CuteKiddoBoutique

    CuteKiddoBoutique said 6 years ago

    This is a great story. I really hope everything works out for the best. People can be amazing at times!

  • FrivolTees

    FrivolTees said 6 years ago

    Very heartwarming story, but I feel bad for all involved - essentially everything is going to go back to the way it was prior to this event, except for the artists forking over the bucks to buy out the items originally - they will be a lighter in the pockets, unfortunately, and the buyout was pretty much delaying the inevitable with Hercules, it sounds like. Hopefully, they feel it was worth it. It does make for an excellent feel-good moment for Hercules and the artists - this good samaritan stuff just doesn't happen a lot, or at least, you don't hear about it very often,at least. The discussion that has come about from this event concerning the art concept is interesting - I do love the discussion that has resulted from this!

  • kimliz59

    kimliz59 said 6 years ago

    I'm not sure what some people's problem is with the store items being repackaged and sold as "art". No one's getting duped here, and the money is going to help repay the cash advance and to help Hercules. As with all art, value is determined by what someone will pay for it, and in my humble opinion, this is no different than a celebrity donating a personal item to be sold at a charity auction. I agree with the prior poster in that Good Samaratin moments are to be cherished in this day and age.

  • pukkacrew

    pukkacrew said 6 years ago

    baaaah. there is hope for humanity! it's people like this, who go way out to help others! while people are too lazy to put their carts up at walmart, people are taking loans out to support one mans dream. things are looking up for mankind.

  • TokulVintage

    TokulVintage said 6 years ago

    You lifted me...up!

  • rainbowbuttons

    rainbowbuttons said 6 years ago

    Okay - I'm from Canada and I want to donate to Hercules and his kitty , Can anyone make t-shirts with this sweet old guy and his kitty on it and I'll buy one and hopefully others will. The artist can make a little money and Hercules will know this lady on the very west coast of Canada cares about him.

  • SeaSand

    SeaSand said 6 years ago

    What a great story! Love it!

  • SeaSand

    SeaSand said 6 years ago

    What a great story!

  • blessedvintage

    blessedvintage said 6 years ago

    now thats community power. Where do they sell these items?

  • artfields

    artfields said 6 years ago

    Art has become social media has become art. ?!

  • bumblebeebaubles

    bumblebeebaubles said 6 years ago

    in b4 "omg that totally isn't etsy" Because it kind of is.

  • WrathofRa

    WrathofRa said 6 years ago

    Art? Good grief. Although the cause might be right...come on. The emperor has no clothes.

  • VespertineStars

    VespertineStars said 6 years ago

    I think I kind of want to hug Alex Goldmark. “Stick a label on it that says ‘Upside Down Can of Coke’… call it art, and give it a narrative. Will it work? For art’s sake, I hope not.”

  • creationsbyingrid1

    creationsbyingrid1 said 6 years ago

    Too cool, power to the creative mind!!!

  • Ebrown2503

    Ebrown2503 said 6 years ago

    Everything means something to someone. If you sell one pack of cigs for $400, that's all you have to really sell to recoup costs for what they did--the rest is profit for a better world, assuming your intentions are good. Who are we to say that the cigs in plastic don't mean the world to someone who smoked their last one yesterday? I say awesome!

  • BittleBoxArt

    BittleBoxArt said 6 years ago

    Thank you for bringing this into the Etsy blog. For me it was a great way to start my Saturday .... with love for those we're sharing this planet with.

  • thoughtfullyadorned

    thoughtfullyadorned said 6 years ago

    That is the coolest most heart warming story! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Interesting story. :)

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Great story! Hope everything works out for the best!!!

  • pamwalsh

    pamwalsh said 6 years ago

    Awesome Story! Art is in the eye of the beholder...I say do it! Where is the site to help this store owner? Pam

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 6 years ago

    nouveau dada? i saw someone name drop marcel duchamp except the dadaist didn't package their work in pexiglass. that was introduced by the grinch.

  • everythingok

    everythingok said 6 years ago

    From heartwarming, to... awkward. When Duchamp turned a urinal upside down, signed it, and called it art, it was revolutionary. Sticking a packet of M&Ms in a case and charging through the nose for it is what one sincerely hopes is a misguided attempt at a joke, for if its artistic intent is serious, I weep a little for the art world.

  • THREEerincadigan

    THREEerincadigan said 6 years ago

    You can't put a price tag on kindness. Forget art. Bravo!

  • ItsYourNana

    ItsYourNana said 6 years ago

    fund-raising. that's what we used to call this. This is a more insane version than I've seen, but hey, why not? I hope you make your money back plus some for Hercules' new store.

  • designbyluecella

    designbyluecella said 6 years ago


  • TinyArtbyJMullin

    TinyArtbyJMullin said 6 years ago

    I will share this with my Art History students. Though I do like the gesture, I think the idea of selling Hercules' goods as art is absurd and a little annoying. When these "readymades" are deemed art, it cheapens what we as artists do.

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 6 years ago


  • BlinginBlooms

    BlinginBlooms said 6 years ago

    I think it's wonderful that there are still people in the world willing to help out someone in need. While it may have only been a temporary help, I'm sure it's something Hercules will never forget and probably gave him faith in the generousity of mankind. In this day and age where pretty much all your hear is negativity, it's nice to hear a story such as this. I think for those focusing on the "art" are missing the point.

  • laralewis

    laralewis said 6 years ago

    Hmm, not sure how this one is going to play out but at the very least I hope that it has inspired others to step outside of their comfort zone and perform an act of kindness for someone else.

  • WhatsNewOnTheMantel

    WhatsNewOnTheMantel said 6 years ago

    What greater art than love! The Art may not resonate through time (or maybe it will) but certianly their love has forever changed many.

  • DustinMooreArt

    DustinMooreArt said 6 years ago

    I love that they can sell a pack of cigarettes for over $400 and I have a hard time selling a 22" x 28" ink drawing, that took me over 30 hours to draw, for over $400. Hey, next great idea: buy my artwork out, laminate it, and mark it up 200%; it's a win, win, win!

  • magdamagda

    magdamagda said 6 years ago

    art is about feeling- and those objects gained more meaning!

  • PamplemousseAndBean

    PamplemousseAndBean said 6 years ago

    Hey...when you give *love* you get *love*...

  • handprintlady

    handprintlady said 6 years ago

    Made my day! This country's future rests on the OUt of the box thinking of the younger generation like this!!!

  • JBsBaubleandTrinket

    JBsBaubleandTrinket said 6 years ago

    I'm not an "artist", so I guess I don't have any negative feelings about selling the items for much more than there value. The only feelings I have about this story are good ones. That people care enough to go into debt and buy everything so Hercules could at least walk out of his old store with dignity - that is inspiring and awesome. Love it!

  • KristyLynnJewelry

    KristyLynnJewelry said 6 years ago

    Interesting, great story!

  • amberike

    amberike said 6 years ago


  • baublesandmore

    baublesandmore said 6 years ago

    Fabulous idea!! I think people who are saying the markup is ridiculous are missing the point. I look at it as a fundraiser, just the way you make a donation to a charity. Only you are getting a memento from the store. It's not really like your going to a gallery and purchasing a piece of art, and to be quite honest I've seen some "art" in galleries that is far more over priced! I hope Hercules gets his store and I hope that landlord goes bankrupt!!!

  • WriteTheGoodWrite

    WriteTheGoodWrite said 6 years ago

    I want more information! Why did Hercules lose the court case? Did he not pay his landlord? I think it is a great idea that Kyle MacDonald came together with other artists to help him out, but the crazy mark-up makes it appear that they were also trying to make a profit off Hercules' unfortunate situation... I'd also like to know how many 'art' pieces sold... a link to more info would be appreciated.

  • gumdropglamour

    gumdropglamour said 6 years ago

    stupid...borrowing from a to pay b is not solving the problem. Do a benefit or something for Hercules instead.

  • TrueColorsCouture

    TrueColorsCouture said 6 years ago

    I Love this! My heart swells. We will all get ahead...if we help others along the way.

  • dahliasoleil

    dahliasoleil said 6 years ago

    I started to feel all warm and fuzzy until I read they were trying to make a profit from the items.Wow.Doesn't really sound like they helped him out at all in the end.He's still losing his store.Maybe if they were creating artwork and giving him a portion from the sales it would make more sense.

  • branchonthebeadtree

    branchonthebeadtree said 6 years ago

    I find things to love about this story and I also find greed, greed, greed. To love: How many times has the corner store saved the day? Donated food and water, shelter and companionship. Given you a real smile and a real thank you, please come again. I am from a small town and I still pick and choose the friendship over the best price or bargain. I buy local from Mom and Pop instead of the big Mall. To not love: Greed that takes an item from $1 to $400 is ridiculous. You can call it art, maybe in the year 2045 but not right now. True Love: Buy every item from the sinking store. Sell every item with the story and a profit to fill the store up again, pay off your loan and have enough left over to do it again for another store. I would buy an item from them and I would tell all my friends and the project would grow. So would all humanity, in true love.

  • distancerunner4

    distancerunner4 said 6 years ago

    What about all the perishable foodstuffs? I hope they were at least donated. I love how art is supposed to push the boundaries of what people consider it to be but I feel that food such not be wasted. There are too many people struggling with hunger. With such a ridiculously high mark-up on all the other products-turned-art no wonder they aren't selling. Is this economy who's crazy enough to buy a lighter for a couple hundred dollars? Charge double what the actual price is and that's more acceptable. Then I'd be fine with this.

  • lastorm

    lastorm said 6 years ago

    They did it. No one else did. This is how legends are born. It's not about money. It's about now.

  • lastorm

    lastorm said 6 years ago

    Twenty years from now that pack of Marlboros will really be worth that much anyway. "Vintage"

  • Dabanga

    Dabanga said 6 years ago

    Wow! marketing as art.... who knew : )

  • ArtAfterDark

    ArtAfterDark said 6 years ago

    I'm glad Hercules got the cash to continue his fight for the store, but doesn't appear the "artists" accomplished much. Hercules will still lose his store and Kyle is in debt. This cheapens the concept of art and it is true.....the emperor has no clothes. Maybe they can find some folks with more money than brains to buy their "art objects" which will be worthless except for the curiousity factor.

  • Vrogster

    Vrogster said 6 years ago

    Oh come on. The profit goes back to the charming store owner. And even if it didn't, I don't see why the criticism in the article would be warranted. Frankly, it annoys me. These kids took a financial risk to help the guy out, or made a great attempt trying. That they managed to turn around and break even by reselling the items is wonderful. If they manage more, even better. If it by some chain of events brings them fame and fortune, congrats to them. Also, they do not seem hung up in whether the items are art pieces. Why should others? As with any commerce, the buyers should be perfectly capable of deciding the fair price of a box of washing detergent that might bring a smile to a hated chore. Also, what high ground is it you speak from? For a representative of a venture-backed commercial exchange of art, wanna-be art, crafts, resold stuff and a solid amount of rubbish for prices ranging from low to sky high, it is pretty fresh to criticise these kids' standards. Etsy is a fine thing, so are these kids. Case closed.

  • Xjaeva

    Xjaeva said 6 years ago

    Man, I would be so pissed if I was on my way to Hercules to pick up some booze and m&m's and EVERYTHING HAD JUST SOLD! I really needed that booze too.

  • LiciaBeads

    LiciaBeads said 6 years ago

    Ultimately, who wins? Probably the people who can afford to purchase the "art", and the credit card company. He still lost the business, I just hope he was able to benefit by paying some of his legal fees and bills... $6K a month for rent would put anyone out of business. Best to you and your family Hercules Dimitratos!

  • branchonthebeadtree

    branchonthebeadtree said 6 years ago

    I find things to love about this 'man saving man' story and I find things to dislike. To Love: Who hasn't been saved by the corner store? By the gushing down pour of rain, the hot scorching heat, the nature calls and where can I go? , the where am I?, and how do I get to's? Or seen them donate food and give temporary shelter to the homeless? How about a real smile, thank you and please come back? I love the human that gives me those feelings. To dislike: Greed, Greed, Greed. Why take a $1 item and mark it up to $400 than call it art? You might could do that, in the year 2045 but certainly not now. True love and better story: Buy out the store and really help Hercules. Take the item and the story to the community. Sell it for a profit margin that will allow you to re-fill the store (at not cost to Hercules), walk away with a best friend in your pocket, pay off your loan, and have enough left over to buy out another Pop's store. I promise, you will make a name for yourself, have more supporters, the project would grow and so would our love for humanity. Not our love for money. Of course, I am from a small town but I have always thought that if I found myself in that kind of predicament, I would have friends to bail me out no matter where I lived because I have a human living inside of my body and a wealth not found in pennies.

  • LiciaBeads

    LiciaBeads said 6 years ago

    “We were hoping the hit of cash would help him get through the month,” said Hal Kirkland, creative director of the project, when informed Thursday by a reporter of Mr. Dimitratos’ ensuing struggles. “This is completely the opposite of what we thought would happen.” full article: However, he did know it was inevitable that he would have to close down. Like most small businesses, it's an increasing reality.

  • LiciaBeads

    LiciaBeads said 6 years ago

    They should have put that $20K into advertising and spreading the word about the exceptionally rare imported beers he had as well as his legal battle and financial woes, it would have gone much further. It could have struck a cord with another landlord and actually gotten him the "store of his dreams". And the merchandise would have gone to people who actually appreciated it and used it as it was intended. *could use a beer.

  • brinnet

    brinnet said 6 years ago

    Seems like the lawyer made out best on this one...

  • DejaVuDream

    DejaVuDream said 6 years ago

    The lawyers always win........winning!!!

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    KKSimpleRegalJewelry said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! ~Krista

  • Ayamilein

    Ayamilein said 6 years ago

    The idea is awesome, helping the guy is awesome...but something is seriously messed up with the rest of the concept -.- Why not make it entirely charity and instead of just helping one guy keep his store save 500+ kids lifes in Africa? -.- All the money they make beyond the 20k they originally spent could do so much good in 'cheaper' areas of our world...

  • heatheramartyak

    heatheramartyak said 6 years ago

    The generosity of spirit is heartwarming displayed with this act of kindness is heartwarming, however, couldn't they have just thrown a humongous fund-raising party with all of the beer & liquor & snacks that they bought? They could have charged twenty bucks per person and done raffles for the rest of the merchandise. Perhaps this approach is much more simplistic and less an artistic statement, but it seems like if the idea is to raise money, it would be a bit more effective than charging $100 for a bag of candy in a display case. At any rate, I hope that everything works out for everyone involved. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

  • montgomerycrystalco2

    montgomerycrystalco2 said 6 years ago

    in the spirit of extending help to the store owner, an appropriate next activity could have been to donate the goods and receive a tax deduction - or to have returned some or all of the goods to the shop to be sold. there is no art by any name that we see which as been physically produced here, except the initial kindness.

  • petalannie

    petalannie said 6 years ago

    I say whatever works, go for it.

  • caratsoup

    caratsoup said 6 years ago

    Hmmmm Very interesting.

  • Adornyourself

    Adornyourself said 6 years ago

    Andy Warhol is alive and living in New York.

  • choisette

    choisette said 6 years ago

    as my dad would say: "whatever rocks your boat, babe."

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 6 years ago

    I think that is great that they were able to help out Hercules, but a bit foolish to do it with borrowed money, and even stupider to try to sell all that stuff at ridiculously high prices. I agree wit hMontomerycrystalco2, they should have just returned all the stuff to the store to be sold again, or donated it to another good cause.

  • artyphacts

    artyphacts said 6 years ago

    Incredible! Good luck to them all.

  • WickedDarling

    WickedDarling said 6 years ago

    It is heartwarming to see that people still have compassion for others. We need a lot more of it in this world!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    I am generally a positive post~er here cash advances pave the road to !@#$ with intentions of getting out of debt by going into debt. The idea of a Warhol-esque similarity is absurd except for maybe his "Oxidation Painting copper metallic pigment and urine on canvas 76 x 52 " the only difference is that both urine and canvas will biodegrade far before that plexiglass will. Not to mention the credit card company who laughed all the way to their own bank. Good luck to Hercules ~ I hope like the Grinch that stole X-mas the landlords heart grows in size after seeing how the public stepped into help.

  • misscharlottejewelry

    misscharlottejewelry said 6 years ago

    Crazy to borrow the money! And Hercules' $20,000 won't go very far in the long run, especially in NYC. Seems like it was a short sighted stunt. Art? give me a break!

  • amoronia

    amoronia said 6 years ago

    I need popcorn too...

  • bezaleljewels

    bezaleljewels said 6 years ago

    Sweet for Hercules but where did they get the money? And definately not art. More like fund raising! People would buy it for a pull on the heart strings not art. Just sayin!

  • amirehsdesigns

    amirehsdesigns said 6 years ago

    wow, I like it .so great job.

  • SweetiePieCollars

    SweetiePieCollars said 6 years ago

    What an awesome, inspiring article! People are doing good things, in new and different ways, everyday! A new 100% fair trade coffee shop just opened here near downtown Orlando, and everything in it is NAME YOUR OWN PRICE! I think they are doing quite well. I always give more than I would pay for the same thing at Starbucks, and the place is usually pretty full. People like to do good things to help others. That's the bottom line. Don't be so pessimistic, yall!

  • EcoFoto

    EcoFoto said 6 years ago

    It is great that Hercules got some help and I do find these marked up prices to be ridiculous. That sounds awesome about the name your price for the coffee place, everything should be name your own price, especially health care, ha ha!

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 6 years ago

    Wow what a fantastic story - so kind of eveyone to try and help him! I look forward to the update to see if he can stay where he is or find a new store! Thanks for the article!

  • KnuttinButYarn

    KnuttinButYarn said 6 years ago

    I liked the concept and certainly agreed that their hearts were most assuredly in the right place but at the same time it is not that much different than robbing Peter to pay Paul. What if it doesn't work? How are these good Samaritans going to pay back that $20,000 not to mention the interest that is going to occur on the loan? I also agreed with the comments that just sticking a commodity in a plexiglass case and calling art does cheapen the very idea of art itself. Art is supposed to be something a person puts their entire heart and soul into. There hearts are certainly in the mix but where in the art of it is their soul making the pieces worth the tremendous mark up they have asked for? Great story non the less. I wish I had $20,000 just laying around that I could in turn bless someone else with.

  • FrivolTees

    FrivolTees said 6 years ago

    Nothing replaces the feeling of helping someone else...which maybe should be the focus of this event, instead of the monetary reasons, which as far as I can tell, have not been successful.

  • BestArtStudios2

    BestArtStudios2 said 6 years ago


  • StraightUp

    StraightUp said 6 years ago

    Wow. MacDonald is an idiot.

  • indiefide

    indiefide said 6 years ago

    That is such an amazing story!! I am very touched to see that people are like that out there. Instead of selling those things $100+ he should just double the retail price dummy you will sell it faster.

  • charcoaldesigns

    charcoaldesigns said 6 years ago

    If people are willing to pay $50 for a $1 bic lighter and it really goes to help Hercules, I'm all for it. It's not any diff than Hercules once paying .25 cents for that same lighter and charging $1 to consumers. Go Herc!

  • MyWisteriaCottage

    MyWisteriaCottage said 6 years ago

    I think we should re-learn comunity from this story. If every day we bought local our small business would not suffer this fate as the landlord would be able to recieve a current market value in rent on the property. And we would all live in a closer knit more viable comunity.I love what the original idae was. The art,I doubt that it will sell unless it is sold to help the store owner still.

  • IdaSlappter

    IdaSlappter said 6 years ago

    Someone call Bill Gates.

  • karenelisam

    karenelisam said 6 years ago

    I really don't see how capitalizing on the story makes these objects art. They're still groceries. If people want to pay extra money for the plexiglass to help this guy, that's great, but I'm not convinced it's any more than a great social experiment.

  • AimieG

    AimieG said 6 years ago

    Art to the rescue. Hooray!

  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy said 6 years ago

    Curious ideas-good for Hercules!

  • frillanthropy

    frillanthropy said 6 years ago

    many have asked how to get to the website to buy the art to support Herecules and his cool cat - just go back to the article up top and click the sentence (it's highlighted I think) that says 'for sale as art' and it should take you where it took me - to the store buyout sale site. or see if this works

  • DeborahVoizin

    DeborahVoizin said 6 years ago

    I think they need to add a cool Hercules Logo Design & make everything a number item 1 of 25 lighters from Hercules' Neighborhood Store.Maybe something with Hercules' picture on one side. So each item tells a story. This is a wonderful story of people helping each other. Something good will come from all of this, I just know it!

  • simplicecards

    simplicecards said 6 years ago

    I think it would be a wonderful idea to turn each of the individual, everyday items into works of art and sell them, thus showcasing the "normal"/"everyday" item as something that could be beautiful, and then sell it ridiculously overpriced. show how easily art is born of the mundane, though perhaps this doesn't have the same jaw-drop effect?

  • simplicecards

    simplicecards said 6 years ago

    also: you go Hercules!

  • RedwoodDawn

    RedwoodDawn said 6 years ago

    "took out $20,000 in credit card cash advances" One outrageous markup deserves another. The article didn't mention if the credit card bill is paid off yet.

  • oralgasm

    oralgasm said 6 years ago

    I love what they did! What's the difference between gambling with an artistic statement and Coke coming up with New Coke to make more money? It's a fair question, but I think that question is indicative of a culture that is so skeptical of art that artists are held to a standard that corporations don't even have to consider, though one is (presumably) expressing the truth of their soul while the other is (broad brush coming) padding their wallets -- the money making isn't bad in either case, but one is made to justify every dime, while the other makes dollars hand over fist. I think this group has every right to sell those items for the prices they chose. I think calling lighters and such art creates it's own conversation. The fact that they have to sell ordinary items for hundreds of dollars speaks to deep economic and community issues and for highlighting those issues and showing support for another human being, I call it art. What is art but soul connecting to soul? Also, while some might find it ridiculous to pay $400 dollars for some ordinary corner store item, how ridiculous is it to realize that over the course of a year or several months/weeks, you've spent $400+ on your daily latte? It's all about choice and values.

  • blupony808

    blupony808 said 6 years ago

    "money walks"...hope the Herk wins the lottery and buys a wallmart...werd

  • PurplePeony

    PurplePeony said 6 years ago

    I would have been more impressed if they had gathered friends & strangers together to each buy one thing from the market to buy out everything. Anyone with a smidge of decent credit can get a loan from a bank...not very innovative about that. as far as putting the items into a plastic case and selling it as art.....ugh.

  • PurplePeony

    PurplePeony said 6 years ago after reading the rest of the story....they probably did more harm then good and it was all a publicity stunt to begin with ( they walk in conveniently with a blogger and a video camera????). Im more impressed by people who give anonymously. Not people who do it for PR.

  • littlehinLEE

    littlehinLEE said 6 years ago


  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 6 years ago

    Love it!!! Great idea for wonderful cause!!!

  • hotabich24

    hotabich24 said 6 years ago

    good luck!

  • PrettyPouches

    PrettyPouches said 6 years ago

    The concept was amazing. The mark up, on the other hand, not so amazing. Seems a little shady to me. I feel like someone saw an opportunity to turn someone else's misfortune into a "look at what I did for somebody else, look at buy this $400 pack of smokes"...come on, this isn't right. Poor Hercules, the man needs help, not this.

  • joyceweaver

    joyceweaver said 6 years ago

    I hope all works out for the best for everybody!

  • jpcountrymarket

    jpcountrymarket said 6 years ago

    This was all done on a credit card???? The American way - get into debt. What they needed to do was to rally the community to shop at his store on a regualr basis and keep the inventory moving. And first he should have negotiated with the landlord before a buy out. Many were offering criticism toward the landlord, we don't know the circumstance there, maybe it's not greed, his expenses for owning the property could have sky rocketed like everything else, taxes, maintance, insurance etc. and he needs to also factor in a profit. Maybe they needed to help him revamp the store to draw in more customers. I think this may have backfired on them. And what was their real motivation. Just saying.

  • Vrogster

    Vrogster said 6 years ago

    I'm flabbergasted at the amount of criticism this act of kindness has generated on this site. If doing a nice thing requires having money to spare and then simply donating it, unnecessary limits are placed on helping people out. Same with an unwritten code on how to handle the financial aspects or publicity. I hate to say it, but I think you folks are jealous. Both since your own small shops may be struggling, and since this crew was remarkably successful with their creative stunt even if they have not (yet) succeeded in their Herculean task. Suck it up already, and give credit where credit is due. If you can do good better, go do it already. I will be the first to applaud you - and to advise you to disregard the negative Etsy crowd.

  • Vrogster

    Vrogster said 6 years ago

    PS. A lot of positive people here too. Hat tip to you.

  • ddfoto

    ddfoto said 6 years ago

    What a novel idea! Good to see a feel good story coming from young people helping an older person!

  • misscharlottejewelry

    misscharlottejewelry said 6 years ago

    Purple Peony: i agree with you.

  • NannyMadeandfound

    NannyMadeandfound said 6 years ago

    Started out thinking what a fabulous example of community....people caring about another's life and doing something heroic to save his livelihood. Then when they turned it into a profit making endeavor, it lost it's power. Was this mark up intended to go back to Hercules or to the guy with the bright idea? If they really wanted to help Hercules, how about an auction in the neighboring community to sell the items for a slightly higher price in order to bring in even more to help him restart? Seems that 20,000 was not enough anyway. He not only had to pay creditors and live off of that, but restock his store in order to keep going. Such a great idea to begin with....but seems it ends in much American greediness involved here.

  • floodplainstudio

    floodplainstudio said 6 years ago

    If you truly want the store to survive, just donate and/or get the word out. Leave the man's inventory alone.

  • ArtistVanda

    ArtistVanda said 6 years ago

    I as an artist am thrilled by the actions of my fellow compatriots! ArtistVanda

  • SiriRose

    SiriRose said 6 years ago

    Eccentric idea~ Yet this manifestation of love to make a profit can have no losers The store owner is old school with a serious work ethic all his life so he deserves something amazing to happen and kudos to the artists who made that happen

  • HiddenMeadows

    HiddenMeadows said 6 years ago

    There needs to be more of this going on. :D

  • froufroubijou

    froufroubijou said 6 years ago

    THIS IS disgusting. I am so appalled how art has turned into some drama whores intention to make some money. I went to art school and by god if they wanted to do this I would make sure my criticisms were heard. This is not art. this is a fucking object in a plexi glass box. I can't believe you guys like this. I'm so ashamed of the etsy community. I can see why people buy awful products on here now. ART IS DEAD. What they should of done was made a consignment taken all the products and placed it in the gallery in a similar fashion as a Bodega, but twisted it. NOW THAT WOULD OF BEEN COOL.

  • froufroubijou

    froufroubijou said 6 years ago

    This shows how great ETSY IS! GARBAGE.

  • inDpendant

    inDpendant said 6 years ago

    Great neighbours!

  • lunagris

    lunagris said 6 years ago

    Coming together is always the right way to see better things happen. I pray that the landlord can show some compassion and still be able to come to a sensible business plan that can work for both of them. My suggestion is get rid of the lawyers and save some money and actually get something done. Hercule,s may your dedication to your work keep you, the person that you are open to something I wish will come your way. It is not easy getting a job in this economy that is for sure. Peace and Blessings your way..... I loved the piece..


    SPUNKbyCM said 6 years ago

    Like Andy Warhol said, "Art is anything you can get away with."

  • DreamsandJewelry

    DreamsandJewelry said 6 years ago

    Someone will always criticize a good intention.

  • Vintage4Shur

    Vintage4Shur said 6 years ago

    Why don't we all come together and donate $1.00 to Hercules. People do it every week on America's Got Talent, and those things... It's a way to give back....and help Hercules get started again now that he's a little bit famous. What we sow we reap...don't you think? :) Tell us where to send the $1.00. Love from Vintage4Shur!

  • Vintage4Shur

    Vintage4Shur said 6 years ago

    1.00 each voting

  • DreamyIsabel

    DreamyIsabel said 6 years ago

    This brings up a lot of issues. It's so interesting. I do hope things work out for Hercules.

  • Vintage4Shur

    Vintage4Shur said 6 years ago

    GIVE him a dollar. Instead of buying an item. Where can we do that?

  • juliems35

    juliems35 said 6 years ago

    If only everyone had the heart that these pope had!!

  • artstylefashion

    artstylefashion said 6 years ago

    I actually cried. That is such a sweet and noble thing to do for Hercules. It is amazing how much we can do to be a blessing to others! I hope that one day I am in the posistion to help people that are going through hard times.

  • WISHsupplies

    WISHsupplies said 6 years ago

    very interesting and lovely story! congratulations to all who help Hercules. cross my fingers everything to be ok.

  • SweetSincerity

    SweetSincerity said 6 years ago

    I really think that the buy out and the fund raiser-esque art for sale is a creative answer to a practical dilema. Personally, I believe when there is meaning behind art, that is when it is truly valuable. Knowing that by purchasing a piece of "art" I could help one man continue to live his dream, would make me smile everytime I walk that piece in my home. Purchasing art should never be just another form of materialism-I want to buy a piece of art because it touches my heart and makes me feel something.

  • moonflowercreations

    moonflowercreations said 6 years ago

    Wow. Truly very interesting.

  • katielynnjewelry

    katielynnjewelry said 6 years ago

    This is so sweet, I hope they raise enough money to keep him in business!

  • FancyPantsAndMore

    FancyPantsAndMore said 6 years ago

    I love this story. It is inspirational to me. What matters in the end, is not that items were marketed as Art, selling or not. What matters is the glimmer of hope, the pouring out of love, the compassion felt and given, to this man called Hercules. I hope with all my heart that more good comes of this. I hope with all my heart that Hercules can continue his dream. But if he cannot, if the dreams ends, he will know beyond a doubt, that people cared and tried to help. I view this with an open mind and an open heart, much like MacDonald and his band of friends. While all good deeds are not rewarded equally, indeed, they are rewarded. Cheers to MacDonald and friends and blessings to Hercules and all.

  • OpulentOddities

    OpulentOddities said 6 years ago

    I think its bonkers to call a 400$ pack a smokes art. This isn't an art project just because its done by artists? This is charity and doing good. (which is a great thing) but I don't see how its art, unless that's the only way they can sucker people into buying the goods? then its a means justify the ends kinda deal.

  • Eklektisch

    Eklektisch said 6 years ago

    I love this story. Everything about it. Purchasing this "art" is merely a donation in which you get a keepsake from. PLUS the "artwork" makes it newsworthy so they're able to cross oceans. I wish there were more kind hearted souls in this world. Brilliant.

  • Eklektisch

    Eklektisch said 6 years ago

    ps- it's not a "means to justify the cause" You found out about this story due to it's nature. I think the concept is beautiful and captivating. Is it art? does it make you think? open boundaries? cause a stir? depends what you concider art, but they seem to have captured your attention, and others. Which was the precise intention.

  • NannyMadeandfound

    NannyMadeandfound said 6 years ago

    guess i didn't read it thoroughly enough the first it looks like they did intend to continue to help with the money they made..if any. still thinking it was a little too much show, and not enough tangible help that would actually ensure he was able to stay in business

  • nancydrew32

    nancydrew32 said 6 years ago

    I also love this wonderful story about Hercules! What matters is the end result of helping someone out. I am older now--in my 50's--and maybe one day we'll all need help. I for one am so very happy it came from younger people. Love and success and happiness to the young artists and Hercules.

  • fifime

    fifime said 6 years ago

    Helping is opening our hearts . I love it :) greetings from Turkey , Chantal & Team

  • LiciaBeads

    LiciaBeads said 6 years ago

    Oh Etsy, you didn't finish the story! Worth a Google to find out what happened in the end.

  • CassiasGarden

    CassiasGarden said 6 years ago

    i am sure they had good intentions. i am glad that the man was helped.

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 6 years ago

    I'm glad they helped out Hercules. He loved his business and it was nice of them to care and help him out. Too bad the story seems like it will not have a happy ending.

  • fidencio

    fidencio said 6 years ago

    What i found most uplifting was the fact that they had the idea and took action, its one thing to have intentions but another to actually carry them out, very nice story. Hopefully everything works out for them.

  • hollaluna

    hollaluna said 6 years ago

    Wow! I am thinking of the journey...and I don't believe it's over!!! All the best to Hercules. Chappell, thanks again for a great story. ~ Holla Luna

  • TeaandStrychnine

    TeaandStrychnine said 6 years ago

    What happened to all the perishable food they bought? This idea was incredibly short-sighted.

  • thymeforgotentreasur

    thymeforgotentreasur said 6 years ago

    What an awesome story and show of humanity! God Bless to all involved.

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 6 years ago

    Great article! One person's trash really is another's treasure- If it were out of reach to you in the normal fashion, and you wanted it bad enough- then maybe the price isn't too high-

  • stellaranae

    stellaranae said 6 years ago

    This is the end of the story, he is losing his store anyway and discounting all items...closing at the end of this month, no happy endings here... Although they had great intentions in doing this, I am most sorry for Hercules and all small business who are not appreciated in their time. There is a lesson here, support local artists and business.

  • GemBijouterie

    GemBijouterie said 6 years ago

    The Hercules-rescue-mission-turned-art project to me challenges one to think a bit. The items sold for art are only an artifact of the greater art piece. I think McDonald understood that once he completed his first project of trading a paper clip up for a house. If you were one of those people who traded an article in that last escapade, wouldn't your item be of higher intrinsic value because you participated in one of the most legendary social events of our decade? Isn't any art an investment in the greater value of the artist's work as much as an appreciation of the commitment of the artist to his concept? If we put those art objects, a coke can, for example and place it in a new context, make an investment for all that it represents, could this not be an object d'art? Look at it from an angle of 50 years from now when all the corner stores are gone to racks of dispensing machines.

  • hennalounge

    hennalounge said 6 years ago

    Clearly this whole project makes many statements, therefore it is art. Consider also the industrial and graphic artists who designed every package and label on every product. In 100 years that may be the only remnant of their oft unappreciated creative efforts. Of course the real art here is the gift of compassion and humanity.

  • OakhillSilverSupply

    OakhillSilverSupply said 6 years ago

    Awesome Story ~ Thank you!

  • KateStealey

    KateStealey said 6 years ago

    wow..a piece of interesting and uplifting news...for once!

  • DownHomeDeco

    DownHomeDeco said 6 years ago

    Just because you have a lot of money, it doesn't mean you're smart: Recent arrivals to the West Village and the landlords and property owners who suck at their teats -- making 10014 the fourth wealthiest zip code in the nation -- are destroying the very thing that brings them here: Diversity. How dumb is that?!

  • Danidorem

    Danidorem said 6 years ago

    Amazing story, it brought tears to my eyes. People do care

  • artworksbycarol

    artworksbycarol said 6 years ago

    I don't believe just "making a statement" is ART Thats just freedom.

  • LalaDangerous

    LalaDangerous said 6 years ago

    It was a very sweet gesture, it really is too bad he is loosing his store. My thoughts and prayers with Hercules. I do hope you succeed in getting your store back!

  • QuirkMuseum

    QuirkMuseum said 6 years ago

    That's a great story. Good for Hercules, Kyle and everyone else involved. Next thing they should do is stop by Etsy and buy some more stuff. Wanna buy out a museum?

  • Grammiesquiltz

    Grammiesquiltz said 6 years ago

    Mmm.......Gotta sell more stuff. I want those M & M's

  • JanaSkye

    JanaSkye said 6 years ago

    As others questioned... "is this art?" Maybe it is a charity and the "art pieces" are actually "to hues", something more compelling, even more decorative than rubber bracelet or lapel pin? The hypocrisy in the controversy is interesting. How much does the $10 pack of Marlboros cost to manufacture? I think it's important to look at ones own countries poor before diving into a "voluntourism" excursion. And maybe folks can research more into micro financing that has proven to have long term effects rather than the well meaning but ineffective form in a large handout. The hearts here are certainly in the right place, no doubt. And I appreciate and admire the tenacity to finish trying to help Hercules (yes cute pun). I hope they succeed, in fact, i think they already have in easing one mans heart for a little bit and giving hope and inspiration to others. (^_^)

  • JanaSkye

    JanaSkye said 6 years ago

    "trophies" not "to hues" :) N sorry for other typos Was unable to reread n edit. :(

  • MissMaeVintage

    MissMaeVintage said 6 years ago

    CORRECTION: The social media marketer's name is Aimee DAVISON not Aimee DAVIDson.

  • JanaSkye

    JanaSkye said 6 years ago

    Ive reread and feel badly that my paragraph reads so poorly. It comes across not as I meant. When I mention voluntourism, I wanted to applaud this group of doing something on their own turf. Even people who sign up for "voluntourism" have their hearts in the right place, but as a recent article pointed out, wanting to spend 20 of ur vacation days, say, building a school in unfamiliar soil, and not having the physical stamina or prowess with tools to break sun drenched rock hard ground as the local farmers have. Point is, it's important to research more what will "really help" to be effective and sustaining. I'm sure we can all improve daily with more asking and listening. I know I can. Chrs.

  • thebagglady76

    thebagglady76 said 6 years ago

    Pretty cool!!! XO Fran.

  • wiosnachamow

    wiosnachamow said 6 years ago

    It was nice that they helped this man, but then - trading everything AS art ? It's only exploiting this word, these 'works of art' aren't really something, they are just means to make this whole case louder and more public in order to make a statement about consumptionism and globallization. It's unfair to art, but, on the other hand, where else can such a statement be made? Maybe in a book, but no one reads books, we are all looking for NEWS such as this one

  • emjoie

    emjoie said 6 years ago

    I feel bad for Hercules, but there are only a couple of mom-and-pop shops that I will go out of my way to visit nowadays, convenience stores included. For example, if the owner and I chat it up a lot or if the waitress knows what I want to order before I even sit down, then I figure it's worth visiting. But from a financial perspective, I usually would rather go to Walmart and buy Orbitz gum in bulk for much less.

  • BestArtStudios2

    BestArtStudios2 said 6 years ago

    This is not art. It is a nice story, but it is not art.

  • skyamethyst

    skyamethyst said 6 years ago

    this is very kind, i almost cried. it makes me angry that people say it isn't art. art can be anything, especially if you pour your heart into it.

  • TNShopthailand

    TNShopthailand said 6 years ago

    Hmmmm Very interesting

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 6 years ago

    What an interesting story! Good luck!

  • meowadays

    meowadays said 6 years ago

    reminds me a bit of Exit Through the Gift Shop.

  • jmwartsandcrafts

    jmwartsandcrafts said 6 years ago

    Art ,is the creation of of an object thru the eyes of the beholder..Every thing ,every object,every creation is art, but viewed differently by each indiivisal..My daugther is a profissonal artist. I taught her how to paint at a very young age,but today she paints entirely different than me. She is into modern ,abstractart. I paint true life , natural ,as it appears. So you see art is in the hands of the beholder.

  • snappyshop

    snappyshop said 6 years ago

    This is awesome! I can't believe all the criticism on this story. This is a pure and creative act of kindness and generosity. I hope they sell all the art cubes! Thanks for the inspirational article!

  • barbaraportraits

    barbaraportraits said 6 years ago

    Awesome that Hercules friends came to the rescue! True friendship is a blessing and very hard to find.

  • TrulyJulie

    TrulyJulie said 6 years ago

    Wow! I will follow this story, so amazing and heartfelt!

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    I keep coming back to this post , partly because its so interesting and partly because I hadn't thought out my comment very well. I wish I had said something nice about the intentions and the community spirit. My comment got a bit lost in the anger over 20,000 dollars borrowed on credit. But its not my place to judge another's financial choices. I took protesting the IMF practices seriously back in the day and still the Global Financial Stability Report is bleak, little has changed with even less public attention. I can't help but feel adding to the machine doesn't help anyone. I apologize to my etsy peers for the negativity on my part ~ signed credit crab

  • KarolinFelix

    KarolinFelix said 6 years ago

    I think it will work (: people love to buy controversial stuff like that just for sake of hanging it on the wall and discuss it with anyone who notice it, and I'm sure many will. Marcel Duchamp did not pack his 'Fountain' urinal in plexiglass though...and I'm sure he would love that idea. (: I admire the courage of the artists..and craziness. (:

  • swissjoe

    swissjoe said 6 years ago

    "....... should you take a gamble with an artistic statement?" - chaps676 What else is art for than making statements? Every statement that is artistic is a gamble. So yes, Store Buyout made a statement and a great one.

  • chaps676 Admin

    chaps676 said 6 years ago

    I love that this got you guys talking! When I first started researching this project, I thought it was just a simple, lighthearted story. But there was so much more to it, as all of you are proving. As long as we keep questioning and debating art, we know our brains are still healthy and chugging along. Thanks, everyone!

  • PinesVintageClothing

    PinesVintageClothing said 6 years ago


  • JessieJonesLocker

    JessieJonesLocker said 6 years ago

    awesome! :) check out my shop too! :)

  • SpiritedWoodland

    SpiritedWoodland said 6 years ago

    What a story! Some food for thought and quite a topic for discussion!

  • mimisrecycledesigns

    mimisrecycledesigns said 6 years ago

    Heartfelt story and will follow.

  • losttreasures2u

    losttreasures2u said 6 years ago

    Ditto Mudpuppy = ) you made me smile,,Thanks

  • earjeans

    earjeans said 6 years ago

    wow! I just went to their website (Store Buy Out) and clicked on the "Kyle discusses current situation" video...The original receipt is on ebay for $1 Million dollars!!! wow...wishing everyone involved the best

  • BlackDahliaDesign

    BlackDahliaDesign said 6 years ago

    That video actually brought tears to my eyes! What amazing people! and a GREAT STORY! ★ Fascinating! :) ★

  • lulusnest

    lulusnest said 6 years ago

    Very interesting story! I love that the neighborhood cares enough about the least of their stores to save it! Too bad this isn't happening all over America.

  • blackrockvintage

    blackrockvintage said 6 years ago

    I wonder if we would be reading about this story if it weren't for the mark-ups (for art's sake) and the criticism it garnered. I wonder why doing good wasn't enough? Surely 20K could be earned back another way. Too bad more people weren't involved to "buy into" the idea. We'd all like to be able to share in the love--they could have auctioned the items off, too. like the grocery list.

  • bellebellss

    bellebellss said 6 years ago

    wonderful ,,this is so heartening story ,, really amazing .

  • PoorGirlCouture

    PoorGirlCouture said 6 years ago

    No matter what people think as far as the reselling of the items as art (who can really say what is art and what isn't?) the point of this story is that these people went out of their way to help this man save his store, and are continuing to do so. There is so much heart there that if I could, I would buy the $400 pack of smokes just to contribute to such a kindness.

  • rjxp

    rjxp said 6 years ago

    I suppose i could have gotten behind the art project if they had replaced all the items they bought from t he store buyout day BACK into the store and turned the local grocery into a sort of everyday object art gallery. With the proceedes obviously going back to the store. Then i think it would have been a really interesting project.

  • bedouin

    bedouin said 6 years ago

    If we all charged what we thought our art was worth ~ would etsy exist ? Many etsy stores include charitable items at affordable prices.

  • MissyNite

    MissyNite said 6 years ago

    These are similair to "fluxus boxes" from the Fluxus Movement in the late 50's to the early 70's which was an inspired reaction to previous Da-Da concepts. For the most part, fluxus art forms were considered to be anit-establishment and a playful and sardonic spin on the value of consumerism. Very interesting up-cycle of the Fluxus concepts.

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