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Bury a Competitor

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Jeff Rodier, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I learned this past week that I will have a new competitor. The new shop has chosen to use my business name for their business. I was told by one person that the name grab was in progress and have confirmed that it is true. Now I know most would go through the process of getting the name thing changed but I don't want to do that piece of work.

    The shop owner knows I am here and has chosen to scab off of my hard work. We had a similar question come up on the G and I made my stance clear on unfriendly competition so here is the plan. I'm having a "One of Us is Going Out of Business Sale" but I'm not calling it by that name yet since the business is 15 minutes away.

    48 hours ago I began a sale with my artist customers. I told one artist about my "Buy One Get Two Free Sale" on ready made frames. Told her to spread the word with the art guild. The guild has blasted the word by e-mail and the camera club has since forwarded it to the entire membership. I've got 3 more groups to notify yet but many members are cross overs. These groups are over 1,000 artist and photographer customers that I already serve.

    In the past 48 hours I have sold more than 200 ready made frames. I have over 100,000 feet of moulding that can be cut up as fast as I can cut it. My plans are to saturate the artist maket before going after the general retail customer. When I advertise to the public it will be large newspaper adds which will include pricing for ready mades as well as custom framing. All framing will be package priced and stress that every item is the published price. I will plaster the ads with "Made in the USA, Italy, Spain as well as all other mouldings. "Ask for the Most Expensive Frame and Present Your Coupon" will be in the ads.

    I'm all for healthy competition but this has crossed the line. My only response no matter what happens after this post is to assure this competitor never sees the holiday season. Bad decisions carry serious consequences.
     
    American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

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  2. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    How can he use your name? Isn't it registered with the state?
     
  3. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Doesn't matter to me one way or another. I haven't checked to see if their name got listed or not but found a listing for them on the internet. I have already been told who is behind it and have a good idea who the co-conspirator is in the shop. The fact that the idea was hatched and has begun means only one thing to me:

    GAME ON
     
  4. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Wanna post the listing? I just googled your business name and only found you. Is it the same, or kinda the same?
     
  5. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Came up at the bottom of the search page in a mall listing.
     
  6. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well, if they're in a mall, they're never gonna be able to compete in a war that requires inventory. Good luck! :)

    And if they're using your business name, that should be a very easy thing to stop.
     
  7. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  8. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    GeAnn left a message for the mall manager. The manager knows me since they wanted me to open a location in or move to the mall. When he calls I will let him know that nothing will stop the apocalypse.


    Gather your women and children as there will be no survivors.:bdh:
     
  9. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wow what on earth would inspire someone to do this to you. Of all people.

    Guy needs a Darwinian lesson. Go get em. Looks like he's going to have a lot of dead hours to staff too.

    Man I'd hate to be that guy.
     
  10. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I need a pair of pliers and a blow torch because we're going medieval on their ***.:cry:
     
  11. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If you are certain that this wasn’t just an oversight on their part definitely bury them. Just as a pleasant thought, in the long run this might be good for your business. The overhead of running a business in a mall is far greater than running a business in another type of location. Add to that a competitor with the ability to put them out of business fully intending to do so, and the shop doesn’t stand a chance. Hopefully they have enough of a cash reserve to build a customer base of people that would have otherwise never heard of you. When their shop inevitably goes under from the pressure of mall rent and hours and whatever you do to them, you may get some phone calls from people trying to find out where “your” mall location moved.
     
  12. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    So, what happens if THEY register the name and you haven't done so?
    Wouldn't that mean you would have to change your name?

    Seriously, if you haven't, you NEED to register it now! It's called CYA.
    Make them change their name.
     
  13. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    ...probably to Frame and Art Outlet....

    Go get 'em!
     
  14. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jeff, I hope that it is not whom I think it might be. If it is, I would suggest doing something about their name infringement???
     
  15. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The people know who I am and my shop so it was intentional. They want name recognition and that is what they will get. Can't imagine how they will deal with people holding my coupon. Even if they open under a different name the game has been set in motion. We really do love this sort of battle but we never start it. I put few framers out of business a couple years back over this type of unwarranted attack.

    I haven't been this excited about cutting up moulding for a couple of years since we built over 1,000 frames in two weeks to open the new location. I just received about 4,000' of U.S. made moulding including Ash and Maple. I've got over 25,000' of Italian moulding plus about 5,000' of hand finished Spanish moulding. The rest of my inventory is assorted but all excellent quality. I'll be making ready mades from all of these all weekend long.
     
  16. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    a grumbler?
     
  17. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A new one.
     
  18. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Son of a...

    Well, it's one thing just to open another shop, as there's no way to not step on someones toes, but to open near you AND try to use your good name? Go get 'em...
     
  19. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    "Be nice until it's time to not be nice" (the late great Patrick Swayze)
    [video=youtube;5o6QGBNv58w]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o6QGBNv58w[/video]
     
  20. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A chick I used to work side by each with moved to Florida and opened a shop down there and called it State of the Art. I figured if she had to be that uncreative, at least she was on the opposite side of the country from me so what the hay. i kind of felt sorry for her.

    But to steal your name IN YOUR TOWN???

    Even if your name is Howard Johnson you cannot open up a hotel and call it that.

    Go Get 'Em Ricky!!!

    With ♥ from Lucy ;)
     
  21. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Once they open, and you know for sure the name is the same I would take out an ad in the paper offering well below cost framing...At our new mall location only!
     
  22. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    You got some "splainen" to do Lucy. :icon9:
     
  23. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    While I plan on running at extreme discounts I like the idea of taking an extra $50 off at the new mall location.:icon21:
     
  24. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Art Outlet stores can be temporary set-ups. Gas station parking lots, vacant mall stores etc... They're called pop-ups and it's a hot item in retailing. Malls Love em.

    Are you sure your not declaring war on a pop-up? They may be gone in 60 days no matter what you do. You may even be helping them with your advertising.

    Don't kill yourself working for nothing.

    Good Luck

    Doug
     
  25. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No it's a traditional frame shop selling some inexpensive wall decor. I'm not worried about selling down my inventory since it is all owned outright. Tons of good deals out there now and I'll buy more if needed.
     
  26. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That would be my concern also. I admire your gumption, but you are working twice as hard for less money. Your customers already perceive your work as a good value. I wouldn't get them used to deep discounts on that. Then they'll resent it when you return to your "normal" pricing after the creep is gone. It's like Delta Air Lines here in Cincinnati. Every time a budget carrier has tried to come in, Delta undercut them until they left and then raised their fares again. Folks around here really get mad about that kind of behavior. Plus, you are human- don't wear yourself out with repetitive stress injuries to try to chase the bottom dollar. I would kill 'em with quality and service at a fair price, as you already do, and get legal on them.
    :kaffeetrinker_2: Rick
     
  27. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    What Rick said. But I get the feeling you'd rather run an all out offense than do that.

    One thing they've accomplished so far is getting you to react. I hope that it
    works out well for you, and with your ability to work hard and strategize, it probably will.
     
  28. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I wouldn't worry quite as much about anyone who's operating out of a mall. The high rent and long payroll hours, coupled with the inconvenience customers facing carrying large items through a mall will be a major handicap.

    I sold one of my stores to someone with a stipulation that they couldn't use my name, "A-Frame". The guy chooses "A Framing Place". Fair enough. But he would answer the phone, "A-Framing Place," which ticked me off. Unfortunately, there wasn't much I could do about it.

    Your name, "Art and Frame Outlet" would probably be considered descriptive, therefore difficult to defend. However, I'd perhaps use it as a publicity opportunity, "Copycat...blah, blah, blah" to make the public aware of the thievery.
     
  29. AnneL

    AnneL SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You could always take out ads stating something like: "It has come to our attention that a new business is opening up in the mall using the same business name as ours. We wish to make the public aware that this new business is NOT affiliated with us." Lays it on the line that they're business practices are shady.
     
  30. Bandsaw

    Bandsaw MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    When a similar situation happened in our area the thing that killed the new guy was radio and newspaper comments about the name cheater - various editors and announcers seemed to be annoyed by this issue and kept beating it up.

    However, Molitov Cocktails come to mind.
     
  31. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    We will use the media for the story as well. We have been interviewed by all 4 local TV stations numerous times and have many friends at the stations. We've also been in all 3 newspapers numerous times with friends at all 3 of them. We will do a whole campaign about how sleazy these guys are. Basicly a would you trust them to be honest with you after knowing how they operate type deal.

    I don't mind working hard and selling everything I own since it will not cost me any significant money. Selling all of my moulding cut into ready mades at a 67% discount will leave me with about a half million in my pocket.
     
  32. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Lucy is getting worried about Ricky.

    There is more to life than money.

    If you kill yourself with all of this working (and you are already the hardest working man in framebusiness) you won't get to enjoy any money at all.

    Take a chill pill, por favor! Put your feet up, relax with your wife and kid. Let the wheel of Karma polish off this competitor - he will be gone soon enough.
     
  33. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You'll be able to find Ricky smokin' Cubans on an island in the Carribean celebrating the New Year. If it were about the money I would have been taking a pay check rather than reinvesting in inventory up to this point.
     
  34. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Along with your fun and games, I would still contact the governmental jurisdiction that you registered your name. In addition to the games you might have a big smile as they are pulled into court, at their expense, not yours.
     
  35. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes Jerry that is the plan once the financial pain has been inflicted. I want to add insult to injury.
     
  36. Franny

    Franny CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    This is different

    I asked the question a couple of weeks ago about my opening a 2nd location across from another framer. Now I am apparently not your ordinary person and I would take an oath saying that I am not a vindictive person in any way (throughout my life, I have ALWAYS turned the other cheek) and when I asked that question to all of you I honestly had no blood bath in mind. When I asked myself how I really feel about this whole competition thing (after I received so many WAR responses) the only conclusion I could reach is that I am so confident and passionate about what I do that I assume all others must be just like me.

    On Friday night I had an opportunity to go up north to a concert in a small town. There is a frame shop there that was recently listed for sale and it was smack in the middle of all the goings on. It was closed and I was shocked. The shock wore off a bit upon my looking in the windows. All I can say is that I was very hard pressed to understand why EVERYTHING in the window appeared to be consigned artwork framed by the artist with every one shabbily done. Scratched, mitres ascew...and my question is....you can sell this???? and you are not a garage or an estate sale????

    This person is either in really a severe rut or he is absolutley in the wrong business, but either way I feel like he does our industry a total dis-justice with the likes of that in his window. I wish I had taken pics with my phone...didn't think of it. Through the windows, I did observe nicer thing, but on the whole, even though it was a very nice corner location, I got an old-fashioned, dank feeling.

    I sent a note to him yesterday and told him I would like to speak to him. I have not decided what to say...if anything...so I'm putting it out there to my fellow passionate framers...would you broach this subject...strictly heart to heart....framer to framer. I am not interested in hurting anyone...my good friend suggested I broach the subject of consulting with him...if he is going to keep the shop maybe I could help him get some of that fire back in his belly.
    Please don't be cynical with your remarks because I am being completely honest. I am not threatened and I do not want to threaten. Thanks people.
     
  37. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Franny, your original question was one of opening without all the courtesies of the current situation you are speaking of here. I have helped many framers in this area as well as over my 32 years of framing.

    Opening accross the street without conversation is one thing and warrants a counter attack. Using someone elses name and trying to scab off of years of hard work is flat out war.
     
  38. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm with you, Jeff. I try to live by the Golden Rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. But sometimes when you turn the other cheek, you get both cheeks smacked. Then it's "eye for an eye" time.
    Do what you have to do, but don't let it eat you up inside.
    Laugh at the b*stards while you do your thing.
     
  39. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    In CA one must register a DBA with the state every x number of years, but the protection only applies on a county by county basis. Someone else could register a business in Contra Costa Co, 5 miles away, with the name The Framer's Workshop (I am in Alameda Co.) and there would be nothing I could do about it. In order to protect a shop name, it would need an expensive trademark.

    I would be spitting mad if someone did this to me, but selling my stock at fire sale prices would not be my response. I would try legal letters and threats first. Then I might make sure that my customer base knew that any quality issues coming from the competitor's shop are not our responsibility. In other words, an attitude of "concern" for the safety of customer's art at the shop that is "borrowing" your name.
     
  40. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Same here with the DBA, however you need not do a DBA if you are incorporated. I'm in the same frame of mind as Kristie and Mar on this. Not only would you blowing your inventory you would be setting a precedent for discounting and customers will expect the same deals when this blows over.
     
  41. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have enough moulding to build over 10,000 frames. It will take a little while to end. Most framers are way too emotional about their inventory. Mine was purchased to be converted to cash. This is where I begin to cash it in.
     
  42. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Maybe you can pull if off Jeff, but once people get used to a low price, then even a lower price... its what they always seem to want, or do get a bit mad if you don't give it to them.

    Your prices are good enough to win without fighting them so hard as you are going to as far as i can tell.

    Now... if they were going about it just like you. Then, your way may be the best, but if they are going to be a normal frame shop, you will win in a little bit without the extra work.
     
  43. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Just being honest.

    I wouldn't set up in your neighborhood unless I had a financial death wish. :icon21:

    But here's to competition :beer:
     
  44. nikfrz

    nikfrz SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jeff, I think you were premature in offering these discounts.

    If the opposition is selling mostly framed decorative art, and you are selling mostly ready mades and printing services, I dont see a whole lot of competition here.

    what I find disturbing is the Name snatch. I would be all over that one. If it were me, I would be doing some ceasing and desisting letters pronto.
     
  45. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    OK, here's an idea - send them a bill for $150,000 to buy into your franchise.

    ;)
     
  46. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Years back a Larson rep came in an said, I was at your other location.(150 mi. away) I said not us. He showed us their business card and it was identical to ours other than address and phone.
    We took pride in our card design so by someone cloning it, well we just took it as a complement. how sad they couldn't create their own. (they didn't last to long)
     
  47. Not your average framer

    Not your average framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I don't know how these ideas might play out, but some may be worth looking into:

    Suppliers. So who is supplying them? Notify all of your suppliers that someone is making bogus moulding orders in your name and that any of your orders delivered to anywhere else will be regarded as stolen. Tell them, "It's a scam!"

    Credit card companies. Warn them as well. "It's a scam!"

    Customers. Get you friends to get the word out. "It's a scam!"

    The guys who are ripping of your business name. Get your lawyer to set them an official letter stating that if any of your orders are delivered to and signed for a their address, the matter will be treated as theft and will be reported to the appropiate authorities and you will take legal proceedings against them.

    Then it's time to turn up the heat!

    See if you can get one of you suppliers to deliver a large consignment of damaged returned moulding to the address of the bogus business, make sure they know that it's not to be collected, if they later reject the goods.

    Get the bill sent to your address. Then start complaining to the bad guys about them ordering goods on your account. Tell them that you are gonna sue them! They will have serious concerns that no one will believe them.

    After all, it's them who are using your good name for their own dishonest purposes. That should make them sweat!

    You don't have to take them to court, just scare them a little!

    Whatyathink?
     
  48. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    Since they are in a mall, any legal threats or action should also include whoever owns/manages the mall. They are responsible for allowing this to continue once they know the name is a scam. They will want nothing to do with this store once the legalities start.
     
  49. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The mall will be aware of the media attention when the manager returns my call tomorrow. He knows me since he saw one of my TV interviews and he came around trying to get me to move to the mall. I do the framing for the newspaper editor-in-chief as well.
     
  50. Not your average framer

    Not your average framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    With a little effort you can make this look like a serious mess for them.

    It's very easy to get them very worried when they don't know how this is gonna end up looking for them!
     
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