Gallery & Co operator bows out; vendors face payment woes

SINGAPORE – The operator of Gallery & Co, the museum store located in the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), will be pulling out after more than four years of operation.

The operator, ByandCo, announced on the Gallery & Co Facebook page on Friday (Aug 7) that it is now under liquidation, although it did not state when it would cease operations.

“We are hugely dependent on tourism and retail. With Covid, both sectors were severely impacted,” it wrote in the post.

The sudden move has not come without its woes. Several vendors, whose products are stocked at the store have voiced their discontent, with some claiming that Gallery & Co has defaulted on payments.

Local design label Little Drom Store posted on its social media channels on Thursday that it was owed payments to the tune of $12,000, for goods sold since November last year. About $30,000 worth of products remain in the store, it said in the post.  The label is known for its nostalgic, Singapore-inspired pins and accessories.

A local distributor of an international brand of merchandise to Gallery & Co, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also faced issues with non-payment. The distributor told The Straits Times that since the announcement, several business associates had written to Gallery & Co and their liquidators chasing for payments.

A creditors’ meeting has been scheduled for Aug 13, and creditors have to submit paperwork by Aug 11, the distributor said.

Gallery & Co opened in November 2015 with the opening of National Gallery Singapore.

National Gallery Singapore announced the news on its Facebook page on Friday, noting that ByandCo had decided to terminate its operations “due to the changing and challenging business conditions brought about by Covid-19”.

A representative from the NGS confirmed that the store and cafeteria will remain under the Gallery & Co brand, but be run by a different operator. Both store and cafeteria have been closed since April, when the circuit breaker took effect.

She added: “We are already in touch with the proposed liquidators of By andCo on the liquidation process. We hope to resume operations for the museum store and cafeteria as soon as possible.”

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