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Opinions Wanted Could Michaels Get Hit by the Credit Crunch?

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
My father just told me about an article that appeared in the New York Times on November 3, which mentioned the problems private equity firms face in the credit crunch. Michaels is mentioned near the end of the article. Here are some highlights to give you the gist:

"Private equity firms embarked on one of the biggest spending sprees in corporate history for nearly three years, using borrowed money to gobble up huge swaths of industries and some of the biggest names — Neiman Marcus, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Toys “R” Us.

The new owners then saddled the companies with the billions of dollars of debt used to buy them. But now, The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced write, many of the loans and bonds sold to finance the deals are about to come due at the worst possible time.


So, like homeowners with an adjustable rate mortgage that just went up, some of private equity’s titans are facing a huge squeeze. And that is coming at the same time consumers are staying home with their wallets closed."
...

"Private equity firms, which are lightly regulated, use investors’ money to buy undervalued public companies and take them private. The difficulty of companies that have been acquired by private equity firms to get new credit could have enormous implications for the economy.

People who work for companies owned by private equity firms could lose their jobs as firms cut costs to meet their debt obligations. And private equity firms like Apollo Management, which owns Harrah’s and Linens ’n Things, face deep markdowns on the value of their holdings."
...


"At the time, private equity firms assumed that they could refinance their portfolio companies’ debt cheaply. But many appear to have been blindsided by the size and severity of the credit market meltdown, which has left lenders unable or unwilling to provide more money.


In what seems a worrisome trend, many bonds of private equity-backed companies have recently plummeted in value, signaling worries about their solvency. These include Michaels, the crafts store co-owned by Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group; Dollar General, a low-price retailer taken private by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts; and Realogy, the parent company of the real estate brokerage firms Coldwell Banker and Century 21 that is owned by Apollo Management."


Here's the link:


http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/03/debt-linked-to-buyouts-tightens-the-economic-vise/?scp=2&sq=retailers equity investors michaels&st=cse
 
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pictureframingpro

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
They are not hiring framers in our area. Unless you want to frame 10-15 hours a week.
 

MabSadie2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Oh Geez, this could be potentially bittersweet. What if they just ditch the custom framing departments? I kinda need Michaels to build puppets.
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
They would NEver ditch the custom framing department.............they want their framing department to make up OVER 1/2 of the retail business in each store.........:shrug:
Good thought though!! But then I wouldn't have the constant repairs to do on their framing!!! :D :D
 

MabSadie2

PFG, Picture Framing God
They would NEver ditch the custom framing department.............they want their framing department to make up OVER 1/2 of the retail business in each store.........:shrug:
Good thought though!! But then I wouldn't have the constant repairs to do on their framing!!! :D :D
Half. Huh. If they stopped knocking off 50%, they could pay for the whole store!

Who wants a $500 24 x 18, 1/2" molding with Perfectview? Only $250. The audacity.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Circuit City declared bankruptcy today, closing dozens of stores. I'm sure there are more to come.

Although I see the BBs as unwanted competition, and I would be the first to say I would be happy to see framing chains leave my area, I am more worried about our economy as a whole. How many of these large chains will bite the dust before the economy recovers?

Companies folding right and left damage consumer confidence, hurt the local and state economy, and could decimate our local malls leaving vacancies and unemployment in their wake. Not a pretty picture. Then there's the position of our suppliers. How long can they hang on to serve us if their major accounts fold?
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
This is kind of spooky, Michaels owns Aaron Brothers, so Aaron will go down with them.

This could actually do us small guys a lot of harm, no more major advertising from them to remind our customers to come in with some framing.

I also see the potential for opportunity here. A long time Aaron Brothers closes up and the building becomes available..........hmmmmm. A well established business ready to go.

Save your pennies.

John
 

shayla

WOW Framer
They have the building for the new Michael's here almost all the way built. But now I don't see any activity there. It's a whole huge development, with lots of stores intended to be built. I asked somebody and they said that they heard the developers went broke. No offense to any Grumblers who might work for such stores, as I do wish you well individually, but I have to say I am really hoping it is a permanent delay.

What are LJ and TruVue going to do if their big fish go bust? I know that little people like us do a whole lot of business with them, but selling their product at cut rates to these guys has become a huge part of their business. What do they do now. I like to imagine a world in which the independent custom frame shop remains in great shape while hordes of big box retailers vanish, but this might not be exactly what happens.
 

BILL WARD

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
some years back I worked for a bloomingdales type retailer who was gobbled up by the 'federated' canadian biggie who accomplished it with junk bonds(remember THAT debacle???) Well, 3-ish years later they had defaulted on most of that deal/sold off gobbs of the assets--lots of people of of jobs, etc(you've heard this all before, right?)-and the head idiot got out free/easy with major assets intact.
It doesnt matter how they arrive at that juncture-junkbonds, lousy credit risks, adj mtgs, the end result is the same---you & me's get the shafting and the corp biggies get their golden paracutes and get to move on & do it AGAIN!!!!!!!!! :mad:
 

couture's gallery

PFG, Picture Framing God
The Michael's across the street from me is way down in volume (about 35%).........of course, so are we down about that much for YTD. and almost every business in this area is at least 40-50% down YTD...and lots of the big boys across the street in the new megacenter are in Chapter 11 , Circuit City being the latest one ...of 6 big stores in the center, 3 are in Bankruptcy....

It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out????
 

couture's gallery

PFG, Picture Framing God
the Michael's across from me in the new megacenter is down about 35% YTD, and of course so are we...3 of the 6 largest stores over there are in Chapt 11 ( Circuit City being the latest)...most small businesses are down 30-50% YTD around here ( the ones that are left)...It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out????
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
The big box stores work on such narrow margins that is they are down double digits they are in a world of hurt. If they were down 35% company wide they will not be around for more then a couple of months.

The bigger they come, the harder they fall. Problem is they take out a lot of other things when they do fall.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
In some ways, small independents are better positioned to ride out the storm than are the chains. Not all of us of course, but those that are well run and who focus on the business of framing, rather than just the aesthetics.

Chains have layer after layer of management and tend to become bloated, especially after years of success. Sure, they can trim staff and close locations, but at a price. They will likely continue to pay rent, incur severence costs and the logisitical issues and expense of dealing with a huge inventory. Their reputation is also put to a test.

And speaking of reputation, while the public was perhaps willing to overlook those pseudo-sales when times are good, that tolerence is now waning. It's one thing to voluntarily pay $300 for a frame; quite another to pay the same while thinking you were going to save 50%. The latter experience leaves a residual bad taste in your mouth. Customers are feeling screwed and the word is getting out.

Also, it takes framers to take produce the work that an onslaught of holiday framing orders will create. Those staff cuts -- what happens to profits (and goodwill) when Michael's can't get promised holiday orders completed, or they have to stop accepting Chirstmas orders in early December? Our problems are multiplied for the chains.

Their decision to push museum glass is also a mistake. Even though they're buying it from True Vue at greatly discounted prices from what you and I would pay, it's a bad marriage. Museum glass and Nascar posters don't belong in the same sentence, much less the same frame. Force feeding MG to their customers is foolish, they'd net more profit if they were pushing fabric mats or other embellishments that had a higher percentage of markup. In most cases, the customer would enjoy a more visible and tangible benefit too.

Then there is the matter of working capital. Being a privately held company makes Michaels Stores more vulnerable to a tight credit market, as was noted in the article. It's not business as usual anymore and Michaels needs new management and fresh ideas if it's to thrive in the future. I'm not their CEO, but if I were, I'd make some serious changes.

Micheals is also operating on borrowed time. Consider the bad publicity that will result from some AG finally lowering the boom on their phoney sales and bogus reference prices. When it eventually happens, it will further cripple their credit worthiness. Eventually, it will happen as consumers and competing merchants start complaining. Afterall, nothing says SCAM, like a sun-faded window sign proclaiming "Half-Price on Custom Framing THIS WEEK ONLY".

The VP they hired from Sweet Bay, is very talented and would help improve the shopping experience for M's customers by improving the appearance of the stores, but now is not the time to embark on expensive cosmetic surgery.

One thing the AOSFs (Always On Sale Framers) have going for them is that people still spend money on their hobbies, even in tough times. This will help them sell beads and trinkets, but it means little for the back of their stores.

If Michaels or Jo-Ann ever does go under, I'm throwing a party and you're all invited.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Has anyone else notice more and more customers asking "how's business". It is almost like they are expecting that the shop will be closed before their work is done.
I tell them that is doing pretty good. I mention that there have been a lot of shops that have closed in the area and that it is like the show Survivor Outwit, Outlast, Outplay.
 

Peter Bowe

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I've had a bunch of people ask "how's business" in the same sort of concerned tone as they might ask "how's the terminal cancer". On Saturday I had two separate customers say they were glad we are still here!!?

We are 20 years old this year and I don't ever remember this kind of consumer concerns. I have always believed in putting a positive face towards the customer but these days it seems I almost have to calm them down and pat their hands reassuringly.

Peter
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Yeah, our customers seem to be concerned about us. Maybe that's why they're streaming in with framing orders...

Seriously, our revenue and gross profit numbers are well up from last year. Net profit would be, too, but I've spent some this year. COG is still holding at about 18%, but I'm about to raise prices again.

Trouble is, I don't know why orders dropped off when that happened, and I don't know why they are doing better now. Surprises are fun, but the way business goes up and down these days is just silly. It makes me wonder what's coming next. I'm just grateful to be on the up-side.

Whatever I'm doing right, I hope I keep doing it.
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have only had one jerk, and oh, what a jerk, ask me how is business, convinced that I would be closing any day now. I told him the truth, we are really busy right now. He almost flat out started laughing and pretty much called me a liar.

I took him into my back room and showed him my work to be done board, loaded with jobs. (invoices) This guy was downright clearly disappointed.

He is one of those loudmouthed little guys who has a severe Napoleonic complex, loves to throw his diminutive weight around. He acts like he is your friend and best customer, but he clearly is neither.

Every order I have done for him has involved refunds or replacing something, and yet, sadly for all concerned, he keeps coming back.

Had he asked me that in September, the outcome would have been different. That month was the first time I have ever seen my work-board completely empty, including my first month open. Spider webs where hanging off my equipment, all had come to a screeching full stop. Been great since then though, thank God.

John
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jim, I know what you mean, My sales are slightly up over YTD 2007 but my payroll is WAY down. Of course I am doing 6 days a week compared to having a day off or more.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
The new Allposter catalogue has ads for 20% off and free shipping. Everything is shown framed or stretched or plaqued. I wonder who owns them?

PaulSF, I found the article, which I read this morning, fascinating and alarming. What an an unconscionable mess these companies are now in.
 

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Someone asked what would happen to our suppliers.....

It will be good for them, because LJ losts their account with Micheals a few years back. Micheals have been getting their own supplies from over seas.(At least that is what one of my reps told me then)
LJ will benefit because we will get more of the framing and in turn they will get more business.

I will miss the advertising they do, I always see a boost when they advertise. My business actually grew when HL opened near me.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jennifer, I'm not so sure about that. I think Michaels still buys some supplies from LJ.

As for whether I'd pick up any business from Michaels if they close, that's a toss-up. There are some M customers that would never walk in my door, because my store looks nice and clean and the pictures on the wall are straight and there aren't any 1-inch mats on display, so obviously we are too expensive. And there are some M customers that are unlikely to walk in my door, because they already called and found out I'm not running a 50% off sale "this week only." So I would get any customers left over, all 2 or 3 of them.
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
The brick and mortar BBs may not make it, but forget about on-line, they are there for good. One goes down, another pops up.

Assuming that even if Michaels and Aaron Brothers closed, as soon as the economy picks back up, someone else will step in to fill the void. It has been proved that these large operations can be very profitable, so they too will always be with us, in one form or another.

John
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Nobody is cheering job losses:shrug:.

Did you mourn the loss of a jobs when a Home Depot opened and small hardware stores closed? How about when Michaels or Jo-Ann, or BA Framer/A.C. Moore, opened and an independent closed, or had to layoff a framer? Was that okay with you?

Did you send part of your paycheck to the unknowing customer who bought a frame at your store because they trusted you and thought they were saving 50% but only if they came in this week? Did you?

I will cheer and celebrate when a wealthy cheater goes down, so that hard working small businesses, who compete fairly and advertise honestly, can prosper. YES, I will. And YOU can continue to cheer for your side.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
Bill, Yes they did give it thought. That was part of their business plan. Dominating the market and eliminating the weak independent operations. I red this in their annual report.
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
I had the honor of opening up Aaron Brothers very first big box operation, back in the early seventies. All their other stores at the time did custom framing. This "new" type of store would offer no custom framing, no fitting, no mat cutting.

We sold every type of frame that was available in those days. We also sold glass, pre-cut mats, packages of screw eyes and wire, picture wall hooks, an item called "Easy Points" for fitting pictures at home, along with artists supplies, craft supplies. framed pictures and mirrors, posters, and anything else we thought people would buy.

About a week or two after we opened, and it was very clear we had a winner on our hands, Al and Len Aaron came down. After looking over the operation and the line ups at the cash registers, they took me out to lunch.

At the restaurant, they made specific instructions for me to go to all the custom frame shops in the area and introduce myself. They wanted a supply of their business cards so we could refer custom framing to them. Both Al and Len were very concerned about the small custom picture framers who might be freaking out about our presence and our mass volume store, and how we may be affecting them.

They wanted me to assure them that we would be doing no custom framing and we would be more than willing to send customers their way.

After a few years, we had to start offering fitting and limited matting, no custom framing.

It was not until after the company was sold and Al and Len retired that custom framing was offered at any of the big box stores.

Len and Al were very astute businessmen, but they never forgot just how small they started that company. They understood how they could hurt the little guy, and deliberately tried their best to avoid doing that.

Aaron Brothers Art Marts were started from the trunk of a car in the late forties.
They went from door to door taking and selling baby photographs. People started asking for picture frames, so they started making them. Their first retail store was on La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles. It was opened as a place to get rid of their seconds and close outs.

I started with them when they had around 25 stores, all small custom framing and art galleries. They were called Aaron Brothers Picture and Frame Galleries.

John
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
These guys have a ton of debt that has to be refinanced on a regular basis. Just read a couple more stories tonight about the 2nd largest mall owner in the U.S. that is about to go under because nobody is willing to refinance a failing enterprise.

In order for them to refinance, any willing party is going to force them to trim a ton of fat. Crafts and framing supplies will remain but from conversations I've had with the framing staff they are all looking for jobs. Their satff has already been drastically reduced and for many stores the framing department will need to be replaced by retail merchandise.

Crafting gains popularity in recession while custom framing dies off. The chain as a business may not be able to survive but in order to refinance the debt the custom framing will have to be killed off.

Eliminating the custom framing will allow them to close certain distribution centers and lay off twice as much staff as any other area of the business. They will still sell ready mades and some of the profitable framing locations will remain. Other than major metropolitan areas the indies that remain will recover the custom frame customer. Eighteen months ago everybody thought Starbucks would expand endlessly.

Consumers in every income bracket are making smarter decisions. I hear from all of my customers what a scam the 50% off at M's is and 50% off of what. I advertise "Save Up to 70% Everyday". When a customer asks me 70% off of what I always respond "M's Regular Prices" and that is a fully accurate statement.
 

FrameMakers

PFG, Picture Framing God
I just had a decorator in last night. She got one of my postcards in the mail and decided to give me a try. She had been a Jo Ann's framing customer. Her comment when I gave her the price was that it was about the same as what she paid for similar jobs done at JA with their coupon. When I told her that her job would be done by the end of the week she told me that she didn't need it rushed. I informed her that would be a normal turnaround and that we stocked most of what we sell. She told me it took at least 3 weeks for them to get something framed.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
We have a brand new JA near to where I live. (Our shop is about 5 miles away). The last time I went in there the framing dept. was not staffed in the back room or at the counter. You had to ring a bell for someone to come from another department.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Kirstie, I'm not at all surprised, especially since it's a newer store that won't have a lot of loyal past customers. Also, you've been one of the few framers who's emphasized capturing first time customers. Too many in our industry have conceded those customers to the chains.

I wonder just how much of their profit Michaels and Jo-Ann derive from custom framing. I would think it's a very significant percentage because it's their highest ticket item, and they've got to be running about an 80% gross margin, conservatively speaking.

Right now these stores are pushing Christmas decorations, and I don't think people are going to be spending much to upgrade their holiday decor when they've got presents to buy. They could get stuck with a lot of unsold inventory.
 

MabSadie2

PFG, Picture Framing God
I've had at least three former Michael's employees looking for jobs here. Their back room is a little pit and my backroom is the store, full of windows and pride and they were very disappointed that I wasn't hiring.

I remember when the Michaels here opened and a district manager came in here passing out cards to the staff and saying they were looking for a manager.

Then about two years later a customer came in and said that a Michaels employee told them there was a great frame shop in Four Corners if they were looking for a better bargain. That was weird, but thanks, Michaels.

I'd be happy if the one here closed their framing department, but I like the store as a whole. We need a lot of random craft supplies to make puppets and puppet sized props. I wish I had jobs to pass around, but I find my employees. Usually from a business where they have provided me great service. As nice as experience is, it's no substitute for finding someone with great service skills from the customer's side. Framing can be learned, and it's actually easier to teach from scratch than to unteach Michael's standards.
 

Maryann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We have a M's about 7 miles from us. It is our closest competitor.

They are more and more frequently sending customers to us with things that they don't want to do. The last one that came in this week was a cross stitch !?!? As near as I can tell, our M's only doing dry mounting with simple matting ~ and of course, masterpiece glass. No complaints here but it looks our M's is gearing down - or doesn't have the help - or both.

I'll be happy to come to your party when they close their framing department, Paul.
 

blackiris

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Framing can be learned, and it's actually easier to teach from scratch than to unteach Michael's standards.
Well, I do have to say that differs per person......they do teach conservation/preservation to be their #1 standard......
Everyone starts somewhere.....:shrug:
You can not make a generalization that all Michael's employees are idiots.......or send work away that they don't WANT to do.....thats plain and simply not true.......

I have issues with the corporate part of their company.....policies and such.......been there, done that.....one good thing about being in that corporate retail enviorment and being where I am now............I'm working for myself.....not a DM or anyone else or babysittting college kids. But I wouldn't change the way I came up either.........I've learned good and bad from my time in my Michael's stint!! :D
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
If one of the craft store chains went under or gave up framing, it would be unfortunate for all those framers to be unemployed. On the other hand, it would be good for a whole lot of small independents like us.

In the grand scheme of things, whatever closings could occur in the framing industry, they would pale in comparison to what's going on on other consumer industries -- the automotive industry, for example.

This is a difficult time. I hope the new administration and Congress will be able to pull off a few miracles and bring us out of it quickly.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
You can not make a generalization that all Michael's employees are idiots...
How true. We all had a starting point in framing, didn't we? I know at least a few small independent framing veterans who coccoon in their shops and guard their "secrets", and the typical craft store framer might frame rings around them.

When the manager of a nearby craft store framing department stops in to ask for my advice, she brings fresh brownies or scones. I loan her books from my framing library one-at-a-time. She seems very interested in improving her knowledge and skills, and sharing same with her framing employees. Maybe she'll open her own frame shop one day...hopefully not across the street from mine.

I lost a very good framer to Michaels some years ago, when they hired her is as Manager of their frame shop. I'm sure she's at least as good a framer now as when she worked for me.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jim has summed it up nicely. None of us holds store level employees to blame for what corporate executives do. What's more, none of us likes to see anyone lose their job. However, there are only going to be X amount of frames sold, and I would like those orders to go to the small businesses of our industry, rather than the large ones.
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
You may think this a strange thing to say, but there really is enough business out there for everyone.

The ones who are going to get the cream are the ones who are willing to go after it. The Big Box operations have always aggressively gone after their business, and until recently, it has always paid off for them.

If we want to sit on the sidelines and bitch because the 'big guy' is taking all the business, well, that's because they are taking all the business while we bitch about it.

I have a hunch, even if the big box operations closed completely, the sideline sitters will not see much of an increase in sales.

You will never get a date if you don't get out there where they can get their hands on you.

John
 

Whynot

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
You may think this a strange thing to say, but there really is enough business out there for everyone.

The ones who are going to get the cream are the ones who are willing to go after it. The Big Box operations have always aggressively gone after their business, and until recently, it has always paid off for them.

If we want to sit on the sidelines and bitch because the 'big guy' is taking all the business, well, that's because they are taking all the business while we bitch about it.

I have a hunch, even if the big box operations closed completely, the sideline sitters will not see much of an increase in sales.

You will never get a date if you don't get out there where they can get their hands on you.

John


In other words fleas may very well outlive the run over dog but they won't chase cats instead.

In the large societal picture every one finds his place according strictly to his merrits and luck. With your minute framing capacity and without those large suppliers that live on BB's business, you, independent framers, will find yourself holding onto tiger's tail next day Paul's wishes upon BB's come true. There is a system and you are a select but minor part of it. Let's face it.
You are not able to replace BB's and don't even care to, all you need is a larger slice of the pie. But demand alone will bring about another "monster" to take care of what you can't do.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
When the small independent framers that are the primary retailers of finished corner frames go under, so do the manufacturers of those frames.
 

MabSadie2

PFG, Picture Framing God
I do apologize if I hit some sore marks about the standards of Michaels. I was referring to this store in Bozeman, which opened around 2003 and has been going through a lot of turnaround. This store has produced substandard framing because my customers tell me so, and I have done quite a few repairs on frames falling apart under their own weight, and 30 x 40 prints mounted with tiny LJ corners slipping down inside the mats.

I used to have a employee from M on the east coast who was my worst framer ever, super cool guy, couldn't see smears insides the glass to save his life. His references were great, his former manager said he was the best framer to come out of their department and yet....after two months of hit or miss he approached me and said he couldn't work to my standard. That was a bummer, since my standard has always been "clean, straight, solid."

Someone who has the temperment to be a framer: education seeking, detail oriented, creative problem solving, will be a great framer no matter what store they work at. And some will not. I will hire someone from Michael's if I have an opening, but my experience in that respect means I won't consider that experience superior to no experience.
 

Doug Gemmell

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
When the small independent framers that are the primary retailers of finished corner frames go under, so do the manufacturers of those frames.
Or as Ross Perot used to say "Eagles don't flock, you have to find them one at a time."

Or

"If someone is blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will?
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have retrained several bb framers over the years. They catch on much more quickly than someone new to framing. They tend to be a quick study. They are also usually really appreciative of the time we spend training them and the fact that we are so thorough. For most, working for us is a welcome change.

We also maintain good relationships with bbs near us so that we DO capture overflow, time sensitive work, and so on. Most of the employees seem really nice, if a bit hampered in what they can actually do in their stores.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
To clarify my position on the chain stores, for those who are new here or who remain unclear:

If these behemoths were using their wits, guile and resourcefullness to achieve their success, I would bowto them.

That they choose to lie to, and cheat their customers to achieve ill-gotten gains, while at the same time injuring our small businesses, who compete with them while abiding by the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Laws (Google it) is wrong and I will not rest, nor be silenced, until justice is served.

However, I also agree with John that those lemmings who stand on the sideline will continue to fail.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
You may think this a strange thing to say, but there really is enough business out there for everyone.

The ones who are going to get the cream are the ones who are willing to go after it. The Big Box operations have always aggressively gone after their business, and until recently, it has always paid off for them.

If we want to sit on the sidelines and bitch because the 'big guy' is taking all the business, well, that's because they are taking all the business while we bitch about it.

I have a hunch, even if the big box operations closed completely, the sideline sitters will not see much of an increase in sales.

You will never get a date if you don't get out there where they can get their hands on you.

John
Points well taken, John. I have tried several times on this forum to start threads about marketing ideas, about how to get out there and get the business, but they always fizzle. I guess complaining is more comfortable.

Paul C--yes, I agree.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Points well taken, John. I have tried several times on this forum to start threads about marketing ideas, about how to get out there and get the business, but they always fizzle. I guess complaining is more comfortable.

Paul C--yes, I agree.
Kirstie, I have tried every imaginable type of marketing over the past year known to man, woman and child. Two months ago I decided to try the dinosaur; the old fashioned printed newspaper that people pay money to read. Yeah, you guys remember these things from when we were kids.

Turns out that people who pay money to read these things and get newsprint on their hands actually pay attention to whats in them. This is my 3rd run and the response has been unbelievable. Many of these people do not use computers regularly and had to call to ask for directions. Each time I have recovered my investment within a couple of days. I have had over 20 NEW customers since Saturday.

Maybe the BB's knew something all along that we thought was dead. This is where the BB's place their ads and they had beaten us up for years doing so.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
There are all kinds of posts on this forum, which is how it should be. Some are complaints. Some are complaints about complaining, which of course is itself a complaint. Some are messages, or warnings, that appear to be complaints. Some are advice. Some advice is surrounded by "Look at me and see how wonderful I am," grandstanding. Sometimes people will even go to great lengths, day after day, to tell us in every post how their elbow is in rehab, or where they are going on vacation.

The point is that a forum is a mixing pot of thoughts, personalities, egos and ideas. I think we should let it continue that way.

Now, the topic of this thread was...oh yes...Michaels.
 
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