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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ok, the site has been up for 7 months now. I am considering joining, but would love some feedback from anyone who has joined so far. Nothing has been mentioned on the grumble for quite a while now so I'm wondering if there is any "new news". Thanx in advance!
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MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Just signed up recently. Was given a couple of referrals but too early to tell.
Start-up kit was quite impressive. The program is very well thought out and very professional.
I am quite excited and feel positive about what the program could do for biz.
Sorry I cant offer much more but just look at who, among many others have signed on:

John Ranes
Bob Carter
Marc Lizer

These guys know what they're doing and run successful operations... thats enough for me to give it a shot without a track record.


Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Wow-What a compliment being included with that group. I agree with Mike, but I'll take it a step farther.

I joined not so much for the referrals (we hope they will be plentiful), but for the ability to network and share with some of the best and brightest of the trade. And to do so in a controlled environment where we can talk to each other not as competitors, but as peers. I know the things we speak of are respected (not necessarily agreed upon) by others. There isn't a sniper in the bunch.

I know it's not for everyone and I hope not everybody would be allowed to join. We need more of a common goal than just being in the framing biz. It's a discriminating group that has more similar goals than opposing goals. And from that sharing comes, and will come, great information. And if even an old know-it-all like me feels I can learn from a group as diverse and accomplished as ours, imagine how the average feels.

We haven't reached that critical mass yet, and it may take longer than an impatient person like me usually allows, but I'm very confidant it will get there. And every new member gets the group closer.

Several of us are refugees from FYA.com. This is quantuum leaps beyond that venture. But if I was only expecting referrals, I would have never joined. It's just an opportunity for all of us to learn from the best and share with the rest.

Besides they have a picture of a weekend fisherman with the biggest dad-gummed fish I ever seen. That alone ought to be worth the price of admission

[This message has been edited by Bob Carter (edited October 12, 2001).]

Marc Lzier

Of course there are those who may have come in from FramerSelect, but did not mention it, and of course there are those customers who may have come in, people who have seen or heard our name 'around', and FramerSelect was just one more media attention moment or name retention. I don't know. But I can say I have had at least one lead that has actually been driven to us by FramerSelect. I can't really get into specifics because there are other non-FramerSelect frameshops in our area, some who are set up for this market, and are Grumblers or Hitchhikers who could go for the same client. But the client has a need for an item of a certain price range, and in x number of units, and then repeating several times a year. I can say that over a 6month period, the job could gross about 80,000. Of course FramerSelcet only made the initial contact. If the job comes to fruition is up to me, and the merits of my shop, and finishing up the work that FramerSelect started. Now, not every FramerSelect referral will be a stellar as this, and for me they don't need to be. Even one 'small' customer at a time is just as good. Our business is built one customer and one relationship at a time. All these relationships are important. If FramerSelect helps in growing out family of customers over time, it can not be but a good thing.
There are other fringe bennies to FramerSelcet too, but I've been going on like an advert for too long. Come to the booth in Vegas. Visit the web site, or call 1 773 248 6060.

Peace, Love,and Frames,
Marc Lizer


True Grumbler
Of course you now know about the big guys that belong, but there are plenty of us small potatoes, too. I joined FS at the very beginning..because I liked the concept and the folks promoting the idea. I thought I could learn something from them and I have..and will continue to. The monthly newsletter is very informative and the articles written by Jay have proven very useful. The brochure they put out has also been a success and is picked up by many folks visiting our store. So far I cannot attribute any specific leads to FC, but our website has had hits from the fc website, so folks are looking.

Sandie in Maine...


Grumbler in Training
I think Framer's select is a waste of money. . Join the rotary club, join the chamber of commerece. Advertise locally, with yellowbook or something. We have been in business for 30 years- our shop is 10,000 square feet. Framer's select isn't going to help our business. I'd rather put the money into something else.


PFG, Picture Framing God
That's a fairly strong statement coming from a guy who is only 20 years old!

C'mon, Mustang, I'm sure that you have some positive comments to make here on the Grumble ................ about something.

There are those veteran framers who would ask you on what do you base your opinion?

And some of them may want to know how many years you have been a full time framer to have such a background of how business operates and what such an organization would do or not do for your business?

I think that you will find, by searching the archives of the Grumble, that the consensus of opinion on those organizations and advertising venues that you seem to enthusiastically endorse have rather limited payback for the dollars invested, and the "Yellowbook" is one of the prime offenders.

As for me personally, I am just curious as to why you chose "Mustang" for your login? Do you collect them? Are you a Mustang owner? I am into the older "muscle cars" so I am interested in what cars people are driving/collecting.

Oh, and welcome to the Grumble, lad. I hope you find something here that is of interest to you.


P.S. And I agree with you, Framers Select doesn't work at all for frameshops over 7500 sq. ft.. And for teaching facilities where the people are coming to learn this profession and take seriously what the employees say to them about all sorts of things, I believe the limit is only 6580 sq. ft.


PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, Betty, I looked at his profile and saw his birthdate. (Which, BTW, is conveniently missing now!).

He lists himself as a retail employer but I imagine that he is Matthew Grana who may manage the frame shop for his dad.

He didn't get off to a very good start with me anyway. (Or did you notice??)


P.S. Now his website is missing from his profile also. Well, in the spirit of goodwill, I will post it here in hopes that it wasn't mysteriously zapped from the Grumble accidently.

To visit with this young business whiz, simply go to his dad's business website and say "Hi". I am sure that his dad would like to hear how enterprising his son is and what a business head he has on his young shoulders.


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><
:cool: FGII!

Welcome to the G, Michael " Mustang " Grana. Just be who you are and you'll find that we are very easy to get along with.

For a minute there I thought we might be "Slowtalkin" again.

Marc Lizer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Like Tom found, the website is now missing.

Several random thoughts:
On the web-site "bee" should be "be."

I would like to see an outside source back-up or at least verify that Grand Frame Inc, is one of the largest and most successful custom framing facilities in the country. This is a grandiouse and unsabstantiated statement. But hey, forget about integrity, it's watever you can say, and get away with to get a student in the door.

Now, on the "local leader" front, I would guess that they are prominent in rotary club, chamber of commerece, local advertisers, yellowbook or something. But I would like to know how he/they have been recognized as leader in the industry , but hey, foget about backing up statements, it's about watever you can say, and get away with to get a warm body in the door.

At the same time, I'd love to see actual Patent numbers, but hey, foget about facts, it's about watever you can say, and get away with to get a body in the door.

Now, I may be totally off base here, and I'm sure that someone who know this information will straighten me out. I heartily welcome a chastisement, and will gleefullly submit to a typed lashing.

But Matt, I do understand youthfull euthenasia, been there, done that. But sometimes it does work a bit better to not come on too strong.
However "Our shop is 10,000 square feet." is really a left field one for me.

What does your size matter? Unless of course you are trying to compensate for other short cummings?

Now on to actual random FramerSelect thought:
Matt, your post may be totaly right, but I'd like to hear more about your deep thoughts on the subject, after I hear a bit more about you, your shop, or your operation. I'm not saying I am any better than you, or my opinion is better than yours. I am saying that I'd like to have an honest picture painted of who is making the statement.

For instance, I do not know who Lessafinger is, or the location of his shop. However, from his posts, I have an honest picture of what kind of shop he has, and how he runs his business. I could say the same of Curly. And Less has posted his own opinions, but he has established a certain amount of credibility and honesty. So I can understand where he is coming from. And I will respond accordingly.

SO the moral of the story is: a say what you want, however you want, but what you say, and how you say it, will, in general, dictate the content and tone of the responses you get, if any.

If that was too wordy, then:
If you talk **** , then you know what to expect in return.

But when you have **** exiting out of two orifices then it just confirms to folks that you have a surplus of an orifice when compared to others in the population.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Now, on to other things. I emailed FS last week asking for more info about joining. Got an email back saying that they would be in touch soon. Don't know what their defination of soon is, but it is different than mine, as I have not heard any more from them. Guess I'll have to call them if I want my more info.

Susan :eek:


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'm not sold on this FramerSelect thing either, but I will still listen and give it a chance. Just not with my money - not yet.

Grana - don't let these two big lugs bother you. Just be honest with yourself. They are really just two big fun-loving pussycats.

But, you know what they say - If you can't stand the heat... :eek:

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I respectfully submit that, for some framers, FramerSelect may indeed be a waste of money - along with the PPFA and FACTS.

What I don't understand is why all these things bring such vehement opposition from those who are perfectly free not to participate in them.

Is it my imagination or are there a lot of new Grumblers who walk in and fire both barrels before pausing to say hello? What's everybody so upset about???

Marc Lizer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Perhaps the Jr. Grana'a disdain stems from this:

Artists Frame Service, and location of FramerSelect
4234 N Arlington Heights Rd
Arlington Heights, IL
60004-1372 US

And the location of Grand Frame and Gallery, and well as the location of the Grand Frame Picture Framing Academy
213 S Arlington Heights Rd
Arlington Heights, IL
60005-1928 US

A distance of 4.92 miles.

So the thing to infer from Matt's eloquent statement is that of course FramerSelect would either not take his as he is too close, or they will take him, but not direct the referals to him.

And you know what? . . . .

Thats a **** good question. I wonder what FramerSelect would do.

Now Matt, if you just cam out and said what you really want to say, then things just work better.

The other subtle inference is that Matt's is implying that his place blow the doors off AFS and is really the big shot/big shop in town. And that AFS is smoke, mirrors and a sham and Grand Frame is the real deal.

Well you know what Matt? . . .

That's even fine to come out and say too.

But having never been to either shop I can't be the judge of that. Maybe AFS is all marketing and no substance. Maybe not. Maybe Grand Frame and Grand Acad is, or maybe not.

Sounds like a little local feud here. Or is the fued one sided?

I would venture to say that as AFS has grown with other locations that it impacted and eventually made for the contraction of your three other locations.

That would **** me off too. But the way et on top is not with underhanded jabs and disingenuious of yourself or others.

It is to outsell and out market with honest bravado.

Be yourself.

Tell your story.

Tell it true.

Win yourself and others.

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Originally posted by Marc:
And that AFS is smoke, mirrors and a sham and Grand Frame is the real deal.

Maybe AFS is all marketing and no substance. Maybe not. Maybe Grand Frame and Grand Acad is, or maybe not.
Marc, I've been to Artist Frame Services. I've had the nickel tour. It's the real deal.

But you knew that already. ;)


<span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

You seem to be frustrated framer looking for a place to vent some anger. The Grumble is a good place to do that. Who knows, maybe the poor state of the economy is getting to you. Come out and stand up for yourself. Say exactly what you are stewing about and other Grumblers will give your their take on it. Whatever you are concerned about, you'll learn that some are way far ahead of you, and that some are way behind you. You'll get a new perspective on your point of view.


Gosh, what did you do to ever make anybody mad? I can't imagine any Grumbler being angry with you.

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
While I respect Matthew's opinion, I think it was a bit out of place considering his proximity to FS and personal interests.

FramerSelect may not be for everyone, but for us it is important at this time. It goes along with the corporate image we're aiming for, and produces some fantastic marketing literature. I havent had any leads turn into inquiries yet in 4 months, but it will happen. The marketing material value has more than outweighed the membership dues.

While a larger established shop with 20 years of experience may be content to sit back and benefit from the repeat customers, new shops such as ours have to stay on top of marketing opportunities and aggressively get the word out there; so we can build(earn) a customer base.

This is an area with heavy (59+) competition and some are rather large, plus a dozen or so big boxes. The closest shop is 32,000 sf and does a lot of cable tv advertising. Many shops in this area don't appear to be very aggressive in the marketing dept, and many still use paper mats, regular glass, and cardboard(yes - cut up boxes) backs with heavily discounted pricing. FS is helping us to educate the local consumers on the benefits of preservation framing and quality materials, through advertising, brochures, and mailings.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I wondered if anyone else had noticed this guy's proxinity to AFS. I'm heading down there Sunday for my nephew's christening and if I get time I'll check in to it. It's very close to were I grew up. The Arlington Heights in his profile got my attention right away. Arlington Heights road is near were I used to live. If I remember correctly, south Arlington Heights Rd. is in an older, more run down part of town than the north end of the road. Having seen what Jay does and being familiar with the areas he has his stores in, I would say that everything is first class. His main store is in one of the most upscale areas of Chicago. You don't survive there if you don't know what you are doing business wise. :eek:

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I would suggest the bigger and more successful one becomes, the more enemies and detractors one gains. The good news is the same holds true for friends and allies.

Perhaps that is exactly the case here?


My goodness the responses that one gets when they don't agree positively with the status quo. Background checks, shock; considered as sniping or socially mal-adjusted. These are political tactics which attack the motives of the messenger. Then of course the unsolicited testimonials that come roaring in from out of the blue.
Look, not everyone feels that FS is for them. (.) In some cases it hasn't worked at all. These experiences are as real as anything else posted here, and if anyone were interested in a program that requires a monthly payment they would be served well to seek out positive and negative experiences. Not every negative response is posted to undermine or attack.
Before developing a website I visited several frame shop sites in my region. I chose those that looked the most professional and called the shops to ask them about their feelings as to the success or not as they defined it.
I took this information and evaluated it based on my own criteria. The last thing I needed to hear was cheerleading and platitudes. I appreciated the frankness and honesty, be it positve or negative.
After all we and our employees do depend on our business for a living, and it has a direct impact on our standard of living.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Can I get a word in edgewise here, without being shot?
I got a nice phone call from FS this morning in response to my last post saying that I hadn't gotten a phone call. Somebody must love them, as they are apparently swamped right now with people wanting info. :eek:


Marc Lizer

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
First of all. No sleuthing or background checks. Grana has his address on his site.

However the flash of location only came from the advertising and merketing that Grand Frame is doing. Namely THIS

Second, Bob is the voice of reson and moderation. Thanks. However let's put this in the context of Angus. Angus posted an unsubstantiatd rumor.

If Angus is a vendor or a dishonest rep then I would have posted accordingly on that thread. However Angus is a framer looking for substantiation, or information, as well as grumbleing. After all, he posted under "the grumble," and not under business issues.

Now I can understand someone entering into the business issues, evaluating a thread, and/or bussines issue and posting just a clear and well thought out opinion with some firm grounding. For instancde, each sentence, on it's own is a good and legimate thought only with supporting thoughts behind each sentence.

Now I'm not saying he can't be short of brief. But his brief statement is not negative statement of experince, but rather conjecture.

For instacne, JRB, has made statements. Statements based on his experinece with FramerSelect.

Short, brief and rhather plucky. But from his personal 30 years of experience of framing, and based on his personal experinece with FramerSelect.

Going by Toto's criteria, Matt's post is not from his experince with FramerSelect, and it is not form his 30 years of experience in making business decisons in what works for his business. If you want to hear people who have bad experiences, or no results , it is easy to get that info. Heck, make a post here and ask for it. Or call FramerSelect, if they have any sort of integrity then I would think they would give out names of formern members as easily as current ones if you asked.

Now, Toto, as for your other statements: "Not every negative response is posted to undermine or attack." "This is whatone gets when they don't agree positively with the status quo?"

Yes, founded negative comments often go unchallenged. Look at what get said here and on the grumble most of the time. But a negative an devisive commnet with a personal agenda is not playing nice with others.

As for bucking the status quo. That also is what gets done quite alot. Infact I often doit myself. But again, there is a diference between a a founded opositional comment, stance, statement, belief. Base on a lack of personal experience/interaction with the topic. Compound this with lack of other business (the 30 years is his company, his own age is a 10 year deficit on hte age of the business) and you have the statements made, as they stand by Matt.

And Toto, I further agree, "cheerleading and platitudes." are not needed, but most of all that is "apreciated the frankness and honesty, be it positve or negative."

Positive or negative, it needs to be honest and frank.

Emibub: I actually type the *'s. Insert clean, sacred or profane word of choice.

Ron said: "But you knew that already."

Actually I don't. I have never been there. Think about it. Anthing I know about a shop or operation I have not been to is the result of advertising, marketing or publicity. Be it told to me from the source, from a friend, from a magazine or whatever.

What do you know about me? Only what I have told you, and only what others have told you about me.

From that you have a picture of me, my shop, and anything else I have and said, mentioned or other people felt was the picture they'd like to give. But unless you have looked behind the curtain, that's all you have to go on.

For Matt: I have only what his written grumble history (a post about his school, and this post). I have what he says about his business and school on his school web site. (There is no Grand-Frame website.)

Let's look at fttom and Toto: fttom has said who she is (not by name), what she asking and in general what her "bent" is.
Toto hasn't ventured any name, but has still, thru posts ventured what kind of business, and what kind of business practices they are engaged in.

What do I konw about Jay, AFS or F/S? Really only what has been sold to me, only that which I will buy into.

So we are all selling a bill of goods about ourselves. It is just with mustang's post to use the police slang , it was JDLR.

Toto, not a "political attack," but as a person who has been in this grumble community for a while, I will go on the defensvie when something JDLR. Be it bearcat99, Cornel, Texan, Boots, Benreadin. Some things are just questions (Angus's post), and other thing are a bit misleading and maybe maybe malicious, or just early cultual misunderstandings (Cornel: The early years), to the freaky and twisted . Maybe I am jaded, and quick to judge, but again, something JDLR with his post.

But then again the options are to:
Bait and wait.
Or nip in the bud.

Again, Toto, not political, a judgement call of a nip in the bud.

Now Matt is more than welcome to set me straight. There is the huge possibility that I may have made a bad judgement call and mid judged him. And if so, I'll own that. But as of yet, any suspicions are still high, but confirmation or denial would put any discussion to rest.

But there is a huge difference between a negative experience and negative without the experience


Thanks for restating my thoughts and explaining them to me. Now I can see that I was wrong. Everything is fine.
"ahhhhh Juicey Fruit". :rolleyes:


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Hey, Guys. I have no secrets, or hidden agendas. I'm just an 'ol framer who likes to kibitz. What to ya'll want to know about me?

Susan :D


PFG, Picture Framing God
Ah, Marc, thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Gosh, do you keep a folio of these off-the-wall threads or what? I could NEVER have found all those oldies but goodies!

My post to Mgstang (didn't he have a "u" in his login originally?) was based on his statement about FramerSelect (which I don't belong to nor have any affiliation with) and his birthdate which he had on his profile as something, 1982. I just couldn't understand how a very young man could have the experience to make the negative statements that he made and I wanted to call him on it. Period. And his subsequent actions tell me that he DID "open mouth before engaging brain". He is obviously trying to smooth things over in his own way by taking his birthdate and website off his profile and changing his location to "arlngton, IL" instead of the original "Arlington, IL". Whether or not he also chose to change his login name to "Mgstang97" instead of "Mustang97 remains to be seen as I honestly don't remember how he had it originally.

We have had alot of the younger generation posting on this forum with somewhat of a "know all do all" attitude and I guess that comes with the territory. I can remember when I was young and foolish and thought that I knew everything and tried to impress the world with my vast "knowledge" of whatever. Now I DO know it all and nobody really cares!! :D

So let's put this one to rest and look for more sensible things to discuss like somebody's next road trip or the virtues of interactive pets or Terminator's and Omar's latest call to duty. (Ah,.......... well that one IS a stretch!)

(I even would go for another episode of Ron's dog fart stories.)


The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Just when you thought it was safe to come back to the business forum . . .

For me, the Yellow Pages are a waste of money. Here is how I reached that conclusion:

We ran "significant" ads for about eight years. During the last three of those, we listed a second - otherwise unpublished - business phone number in the ad. We tracked the number and nature of calls we received on that line. The number was a small percentage - about 15% - of the calls we received and the largest number of those were inquiries about our store hours - which were prominantly listed in the Yellow Page ad. I concluded that the free in-column listing would serve as well, and that's what I've done for most of the 17 years since - in both the local books.

I have been told that I need to advertise my presence in the Yellow Pages and encourage people to use them. Say what???

For some framers, in some markets, the Yellow Pages are probably an essential part of the marketing mix - not for me, though.

There. Was that so hard? :rolleyes:


Ron, there could be a forum for marketing schemes that are a waste of money. Our yellow page ad is an in-column ad. We consider it a maintenance ad, necessary evil.
We have been reducing our ad costs over the past 5 years while increasing sales. We have found a good cost benefit ratio. This spring we will be sending a direct mail piece.

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
I haven't been overly impressed with the YP either. We plunk down about 1k/month to be in 3 local books, with a coupon offer. I can count on one hand how many customers have come in with the coupon in the past 7 months, or said they found us there.

Next year this will be re-evaluated.

I wish I had checked with you first


PFG, Picture Framing God
Did I missunderstad something ? Isn't there more to FS then a referal service? Or is it that the only thing that the rest of you feel is worth the membership fee is the referals?
I admit I am not a member but I wish I was and not only for the referals( Though I'd be glad to get them).I'm just not sure if my shop can afford the fee( Very tiny ,tight budget) ,or will realize enough return to make it worth while with or with out the referals . What do ya'll think?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

If you feel you can and WILL use their marketing tools and advice, then I would say it is worth the money, and you can't afford not to at least try it.

For shops like mine who feel we have the ability to design our own marketing postcards, and strategy, the FramerSelect model may be a conflict with our own strategy of creating our own unique identity.

So, for me it is their referral service that is the most attractive. But, unfortunately at this time, from what I have read here on the Grumble, the referral service is their weakest link. My hope is that the referrals alone would pay for their membership dues, making the decision an easy one.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I want to throw in a quick note in on YP ads. That is our main way of advertising here. That's where we get most of our business. We've got a very small in column ad in the local YP only, and it has more than paid for itself, several times over. The local paper is only fit for papering that little house with the 1/2 moon out back. When we've run ads in it, we've not gotten any return on them. We've also used our own computer generated direct mail post cards. That is our whole advertising budget, and I stay pretty busy keeping up with what comes in. I could use a little more business, but then, I would have to have to give up a little more Grumble, and since I've just found you all...

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