Hi Mike and good luck with this, you don't know unless you try it.
Jeff has as usual, some great points, here are a few of mine if it helps.
I have switched over to fine art and a) am loving it and b) am doing very well, much better than I thought.
Limited editions are nothing new however Jen Beckman's 20x200
is a more modern idea and does really well. I adopted a similar idea on my work and the nice thing is I sell stuff, large and small.
Also, when you do a 'limited edition' as an artist you get closure, you can move on from that work knowing 'that's it'. It free's the mind to go and create again.
Luckily I live in NYC, in a 'hood full or journalists and writers, film editors and people who are generally 'art aware'. To be honest I sometimes sit outside my front door on Saturdays with a box of 16x20's and so far have never taken less than $500.
I think the fine art market is very much alive, and as more people get inspired by interior design/fix it shows they don't all want either an IKEA poster or an expensive rare photograph, they want something in between. A bit like wine or fashion even, yes there is cheap stuff to take (or wear) at your neighbours sunday grill and their is upmarket wine costing thousands and of course the clothes to match.
Fine art too is like that, there is a ripe market for the discerning client in between those two extremes. Here's why, back in the last days of film, photography was in bad shape as a hobby.. losing out big time to computers and games, then came digital, everyone bought a digital camera, the rest is history... So, more people were taking pics again and this made millions more people aware of just how hard fine art photos can be, a new appreciation for 'the decisive moment' or the 'golden hour' was born.. Hence the shift in the middle for fine art photography.
I also believe taking a shop/store is a mistake, mentally you slow down and expect the store to pull people in... that's passive marketing and pretty negative if you ask me.
After 20 yrs of 'globalization' I think people now want 'localization' meeting local people and building a relationship with them and buying from them, just look at the booming success of etsy.
Hope some of this helps... more later, my son's just woken up..