From Chihuly to chemicals, Faith Berger’s second act is about the art of science

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Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

When we began our “Second Acts” series we thought the stories would be about people who found a new calling for themselves after a successful career. Until now, that has included people who retired from arguably high stress, high power positions to a more laid-back way of life. But that is not the second act story of Faith Berger.

At first glance, Berger’s second act isn’t as far a stretch from her first act as it might appear.

The Story of Faith

Berger’s family has always called St. Louis home. Her paternal grandparents emigrated from Russia, and once settled, opened a small furniture shop. Her mother’s family owned a local shoe store called Toby’s Shoes. As a young woman, Berger worked at Toby’s before leaving for a position at Venture Stores, where she became a children’s shoe buyer.

“My mother got the retail bug when I was in college in 1979 and opened a retail frame shop that later spawned into The Barucci Gallery,” said Berger.

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In 1987, Berger left Venture to join her mother at the gallery. Over the next three decades, the two sold millions of dollars worth of art and introduced hundreds of artists to the region. Along the journey, Faith married Corey Berger, had two children, Jordan and Amanda, and is now a grandmother of two.

A life full of art

Berger, a longstanding member of B’nai Amoona, spent 35-years in the art business. She owned and operated Barucci Gallery in Clayton for over 27 years. Barucci is often credited with bringing the “American Studio Glass Movement” to St. Louis and featured many national and international artists such as Romero Britto and Dale Chihuly.

Berger hosted dozens of artist openings throughout the years benefiting numerous charitable organizations from her show proceeds. And she promoted and served as an ambassador of the burgeoning St. Louis art scene, as well as collaborating with other art galleries in the community. She was recently asked to be a judge for the 2022 St Louis Art Fair.

One highlight of Berger’s collaboration efforts was the creation of the Clayton Triangle to promote art and boutiques at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Brentwood Boulevard in Clayton. This was a successful venture garnering her the Chamber’s Retailer of the Year Award.

In 2007, she founded Faith Berger Art Consultants, which served to continue and enhance her art planning and design firm. The firm served residential and commercial spaces for clients both locally and nationally.  Berger has continued her journey in the arts through her own painting and collage work.

Time for a second act

In 2020, Berger and her son Jordan decided to purchase Taylor Scientific, a St. Louis based laboratory chemical distributor, from her husband, who was retiring. Berger became CEO, and her second act was underway.

“Science and art have a distinct connection in my mind. Taylor Scientific is an extension of my career in terms of managing and growing a company. I have always been interested in big-scale business,” said Berger.

So, instead of dealing with artists, collectors and shows, she is now dealing with corporations with strict rules and regulations related to chemicals and lab supplies.

“Interestingly, many government contracts must award art contracts in their bids,” said Berger. “This bonus allows me to combine my skills when dealing with labs that are being constructed or redesigned, we can supply items they need because of my design background.”

Buying the business allowed Berger to apply to be a certified Woman Owned Business, thus opening doors to work on extending accounts and pitching new ones.

“Being a WBE is very exciting in the field of chemical and lab supplies because very few women are involved in leadership roles,” said Berger.

Staying creative

As an artist and designer, Berger is finding new outlets for her creativity. The planning of new business strategies based on current economic conditions requires as much artistic thought as creating a new painting or collage.

“I find business to be an outlet. Coupled with customer service and building relationships, we identify our niche,” said Berger. “To be financially successful in the art business, you must have a business plan. My business strategy is similar to what I implemented while owning Barucci Gallery.”

Painting, design, and business are completely intertwined for Berger. Something will happen in business and stimulate an idea for a painting. Likewise, something she may read can stimulate a creative idea for approaching a potential client.  There is a definite crossover, and Berger can cross between her first and second acts when necessary.

“I have fantastic teams and I can be attentive to both.  I have a wonderful group for Faith Berger Art Consultants and the business continues to operate because of the format we developed,” said Berger. “Bottom line, whether it’s chemicals, art, or any chosen field, if you love what you do, you’ll become a student of how to incorporate and improve your skills.”