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Bury a Competitor

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

  1. Not your average framer

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

    BTW, don't forget to email your customers warning them that the new store is nothing to do with you and that it is a form of identity theft.

    Tell them that there's a lot of this sort of thing happening these days and to be careful that they don't get ripped off!
     
  2. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    So do you have a DBA there?
     
  3. Bron

    Bron SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jeff,

    I've followed you for a while, and though I'm completely in another business than you, I think you really have a very good idea about how to do this ... so ... go for it. Knock their socks off; but do take care of your self.

    My experience has been mostly big guys trying to get rid of me by selling frames for below cost; gold leaf for less than I can do metal, PFUI, it's been difficult, but I can do things they can't, so in spite of everything, I'm still here.
     
  4. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Here they wont grant/assign a corporate name if its close to another name, statewide. They have to do a search before approving the (LLC, INC) corporate paperwork. For example, they wouldn't allow another GET THE PICTURE or GET THE PICTURE FRAMED etc. Are you sure that you aren't protected by this, too?

    Personally, I don't think a mall is the right environment for a custom manufacturing type business to succeed. (at least in my market) The high rent, far walk to the car, hours, parking fees (some malls), etc Malls are more about impulse items that are made already. (pre framed prints, photo frames, gifts) Mall framers that I have seen locally (all gone now) were low end/low quality, some with plastic frames and paper thin acrylic glazing. I don't think they did custom, and I never saw samples on the wall.

    Malls have also had some problems in recent years, with big boxes and the internet taking their customers away. Two of our four large malls have failed in the past 6 years.

    I think this problem will take care of itself :)

    It would also be a shame if the media were to unintentionally promote their business, with free publicity of your argument. :)

    Another approach "Often copied, but never duplicated. The ORIGINAL ART & FRAMING OUTLET"

    And another... hire a lawyer. Cease and Desist letter :)

    Good luck with it. very interesting situation,
    Mike
     
  5. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bury them Jeff! But make sure to take good care of yourself too and don't work even harder....

    I think they will be gone before you know it; I don't understand why they are even trying, especially since they apparently know you and how your operation runs? There are only a few that can run a business the way you do...what are they thinking???

    Good luck! Do we take the spades out yet??? (road trip girls?)
     
  6. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Mike's right about malls not being our prime location for framing. I've had plenty of strip stores and mall stores. Although the mall stores still sold an ok amount of custom framing, the sales were driven by artwork, wall art, sculpture, and giftware... oh man the giftware. Ugh. Going to shows just to pick up gift lines. Starting to buy freakin santa clause stuff in May and June. Forget it. Not to mention being fined $150 per hour if for any reason our store was closed when the mall was open. And having to be open nearly 365 days a year. You think you're gunna be closed on the 4th of July? Or Christmas? Sure, here's a reprimand and a $1500 fine. When I had 3 mall stores open at once, along with the strip stores, it was the most miserable time of my life.

    The numbers are higher but you have to keep them up. Malls care about your sales per square foot. For example
    one mall I was in started to get on us really bad if we dropped below $250 per square foot. They also tend to care about your balance sheet. The more you're making and the stronger you are to back your lease the more money they are worth.

    Closest thing to this I've seen to this in a mall was Prints Plus and I don't think they did too good. Jeff would blow a store like that completely away.
     
  7. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    As to the concern about Jeff's customers getting used to "discount" prices. I think that train has already left the station. Do you think that M customers get upset when the discount goes from 70% off of their inflated prices back to a mere 50% off. While Jeff's business is very different then M, they do cater to a similar customer.

    Go get'em Jeff.
     
  8. KL Smith

    KL Smith CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Loose Lips Sink Ships!

    If you ready want to do battle with this other shop, I'd suggest you keep your stratagies private rather than telling them what your next move is here on the G!

    Just a thought.
     
  9. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Just heard from the mall manager. The name will be off the website in minutes and if they used it in the mall the sign will come down today. The actual name of the business is very different than ours. This business did already open so it is only one of the people I suspected to be behind it.

    The mall manager is very concerned about any negative publicity the mall may incur so he will be watching them carefully. The ready made sale will continue to the guilds and clubs but does not need to go public. We have cut, joined, cornered, priced and merchandised 150 new ready mades since Saturday.
     
  10. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A framer stealing your name, setting up shop in your neighborhood trying to snag someone else' customers is a real low class character.

    My only concern is that your pricing is already rock bottom. With that said a shop just starting out is gonna be buried in overhead costs and trying to float a lot of credit. Hitting them hard right now could be the leverage that'll shutter them, and do it quickly :)

    Who knows maybe there'll be a used CMC for sale here in the very near future.
     
  11. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My wife is the one talking with the mall and the manager went and looked at the temp sign which says "Art & Frame Outlet". That is coming down now but they added our name to the words Grand Strand. She is letting him know that if the words Art & Frame are used after Grand Strand we will not begin the trashing campaign against the mall. If the word Outlet is used it goes to the media. The sign company is coming out today for the measuring and finalizing the sign.

    So with all of this new info it is GAME ON

    We will decide whether to include the mall in the game based on the signage.
     
  12. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    From what I am hearing - an entity with a given name wanting to use a second name, a DBA in conflict with yours, they have not had any proper legal advise as to operate a business. This should be like shooting ducks down in an arcade.
     
  13. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We had a similar situation a number of years ago. The man we bought our shop from had started other frame shops in the area and "retired" several times. We had a 2 year non-competition clause, but as soon as the 2 years were over, he was back in town and used the name of our shop as part of a slogan for his new shop. In addition, he tried to order supplies from a number of suppliers using our account numbers ( they were never changed when we bought the shop) and told the suppliers our shop had two locations.

    The only solution for us (and I think you) was a legal attack. He backed off pretty quickly.
     
  14. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The Secretary of State told us the business is not registered under our name or any other for that matter. I guess the mall should have asked for his business license before allowing him to open.
     
  15. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Not enough.
     
  16. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh, snap!
     
  17. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think that Jeff is under the impression that the other guy is on the G, so these pieces of information he is sharing are INTENDED to get to the other guy. Always look your enemy in the eye when you are taking them down.
     
  18. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I remember a newbie not too long ago...I remember wanting to comment; are you sure you want to open up in the same town as Jeff...but didn't. Can't remember who the newbie is, nor do I care.

    Just get 'em Jeff!
     
  19. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    I think you need to make a visit and get this fixed.
     
  20. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The mall manager is being very cooperative.
     
  21. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    I think I know where you can get some slightly used signage for your business...
     
  22. UzZx32QU

    UzZx32QU Administrator Staff Member


    I think you are discussing a fraud and an illegal act. Please don't discuss illegal acts on the G.

    Admin
     
  23. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jeff, IMO, Grand Strand Art & Frame Outlet is probably going to be viewed as a permissable name. Art and Frame Outlet would likely not be granted trademark status were you to apply for it. It's too generic and too descriptive.

    Of course, Apple is trying to claim unique use of "App Store". However, I don't think the court will side with them. I believe the term "App Store" will be viewed in the same way as Convenience Store, Grocery Store, and Art and Frame Outlet. These names all describe what you do and fail to provide any unique branding. It's why we see lots of businesses named, ____ Depot.

    Considering this, I suggest being very careful before delving into a smear campaign, or you may find yourself as the Defendant instead of a Complainant. Just my view.
     
  24. dpetti

    dpetti PFG, Picture Framing God

    Gee, I wonder where he is sending the sales taxes he is collecting?
     
  25. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Secretary of State said they would not be able to use that name as we have registered a name that is too close. The business is operating without a license under a stolen name. The mall has become liable for publicizing the name as it has already spread to multiple mall registry sites. The mall did no Due Diligence before allowing the business to open under my name and has continued the unlawful act by spreading it accross the internet. The mall allowed the business to open without a license and the mall is a partner in the business since they take a percentage of gross sales.
     
  26. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jeff, call your lawyer. Let that person deal with this. I have a feeling you are gonna have to be cranking out frames :) Don't let this distract you anymore, pay someone to sweat this baby out for you.
     
  27. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That's certainly a good argument, but it's no guarantee you'll win. Also, it doesn't give you the right to do anything except litigate.
     
  28. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    And litigate we will. The sale I'm running in response is causing me daily financial loses so the tab is running.
     
  29. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What's in a name?

    Jeff,

    I think that Paul may be correct on this one. Yes...a decision could go either way, but if I were a betting person...

    In the meantime, I think his advice on handing this over to an attorney might be a better way to proceed.

    Keep your prices where they were...and use that profit instead to pay for a lawyer.


    John
     
  30. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paul, let jeff's laawyer litigate, Jeff needs to make 4000 discount frames :) The $500K that generates should pay for the lawyer....

    Jeff go for pain and suffering from this bozo. After all your leg is gonna be sore from all the chopping you have ahead of you. Got a feeling you'll have one leg stronger than the other from the upcoming workout. Beware, if you take up jogging you may end up running in circles due to one leg being faster than the other :)
     
  31. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Mall management has claimed the business owner has provided them with a fraudulent business license. I don't think they planned on handing over any of the sales taxes collected.
     
  32. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You may want to tell the mall that if they discontinue their relationship with them and close the store, that you will drop any potential litigation against them.

    ...this may be a quickly resolved issue.
     
  33. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The mall is trying to claim they have no involvement in the scheme but that will be left to attorneys to do the math. The also warned us about this individual since he has been a tenant of theirs in the past. I will notify the Dept. of Revenue that this is not affiliated with us in any way. SCDOR will be interested to find a business collecting their taxes with no intention of turning them over.
     
  34. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So, there need not be any legal costs for you to incur ................. :popc::popc:
     
  35. Pat Kotnour

    Pat Kotnour SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It sounds like they are going to be shut down before they get started if they used a fraudulent business licence in obtaining their space at the mall. If they are that stupid, then I wouldn't worry about them as competition.

    I do know your pain though. Trying to keep the jackles from using my company name hasn't always been easy. However, I have found that the best way to deal with them is to stay so far ahead that they can't compete, which it sounds like you are already doing. You will never keep all the compittion away, but you will always come out on top if you are better than the next guy and keep your customers happy.
     
  36. steponme

    steponme Grumbler

    WOW!!! I cant wait to here more...
     
  37. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    According to the South Carolina Department of State’s web site, Jeff is the registered agent for “Art & Frame Outlet, LLC”.

    Whether, the upstart “Grand Strand Art & Frame Outlet” is considered a trade name infringement will depend upon the whim of some bureaucrat in the SofS’s office, I would guess.
     
  38. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sec of State already told me their name configuration could not be used in SC. Turns out they may have registered that name in NC where their other business resides but in SC it can not be used.
     
  39. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Just a heads up for those seeking lawyer's letters: In most states when a lawyer writes a letter on your behalf, it is assumed that you have retained him/her as your attorney for this case. The attorney must be willing to follow through, not merely threaten, or the attorney is commiting an ethics violation.

    It seems like Jeff has the legal side of this issue well in hand.
     
  40. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    The ampersand alone would make it a totally different business name. They could be "Art and Frame Outlet, LLC".

    I don't like it, but as far as names go...that's how it is.
     
  41. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Nope, can't be used like that either.
     
  42. Not your average framer

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

    I guess you may be right, I don't know how the law would see things over there.

    Needless to say, I apologise and accept everything you say without reservations and will be completely happy if you wish to delete my post.
     
  43. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    It's ok... we knew you were just kidding, right?:thumbsup:
     
  44. Beveled

    Beveled SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Wow, that really stinks. I hope what you are doing really works. I'm struggling to understand WHY they would want to open under your name, unless they just do crummy work and want to benefit from your reputation.

    I would send a letter to every one of my customers explaining that you are not them, and then start taking out ads letting the public know that this is not you. All you'd have to do is state the facts. The truth will take care of itself, and people will see it.
     
  45. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    JEFF! You better keep us posted on this!!

    I just love it when people commit business suicide!
    Its like a train wreck.. ya just gota watch................. :popc:
     
  46. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The wheels are turning Nic. I'll give some updates soon.
     
  47. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Anyone have a link to the original thread about this framer?
     
  48. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I guess I'll just have to wait...... [​IMG]
     
  49. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    :shrug: What? This is the same thread. There was a link to the mall's directory showing the imposter's name on their directory.
     
  50. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sorry, meant to say "by a framer who stated he/she was opening in that area."
     
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