Kirstie, I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. Growing up in Cincinnati, there was a discount furniture outlet called Cash's Big Bargain Barn, run by this big redneck named Cash. I'm sure Rick remembers this. Cash would have these TV commercials where he'd advertise "Cash's Big Bargain Barn in South Lebanon, Ohio...where you save cash with Cash!"Hey Paul, grab that name and register it! Paul's Big Bargain Frame Shop.
BTW, if you remember Warren's posts from the past year or so, he has given advice on just how the small shop can add length moulding and be more profitable. Yes, it takes time, but one can start with a small number of well chosen mouldings and build. I don't know how your back room is structured. When we built the shop we were fortunate to have space to build the same moulding structure and mat cabinet we are using today. We were also able to build a mezzanine after a few years and move the office, custom fitting and art storage upstairs. Rough carpentry is an understatement. We use old poster tubes to store length moulding shorts. I'll have to send a picture sometime. We don't hire carpenters for the small jobs. My staff seem to love to build and renovate, so I let them have at it.
Warren actually makes it way too complicated. I only need two mouldings to stock -- a 1/2-inch black square cap, and a 1/4-inch black square cap. Anytime a customer comes in with a deer-in-the-headlights look, saying "I'm thinking a black frame" or "I don't want anything fancy" or "I just want something simple," all I have to do is pull out that 1/4-inch black frame and collect their $65. I don't have to sell them conservation glass, I don't even have to show them a white papermat. Just give them what they ask for -- a plain black frame, skinny as can be -- collect their money, and let them go without ever suggesting other possibilities. This week, I would have made $400 off those sales, easy as pie. Only problem is, I would have left $1600 on the table.
That model works fine when you have volume, but I don't have volume. And it makes my work a commodity, which means the only potential advantage I have over any other framer who specializes in skinny black frames with white mats is cost. There's always someone cheaper. It's lunacy to think that I can compete head-to-head on cost/price with the big boxes and internet companies, from my 1300-square foot single-location undercapitalized business, even if I stock 20 different 1/4-inch black square cap mouldings. If you think otherwise, you are kidding yourself and maybe a few others here.
Don't take my word for it -- the business pages are filled with examples of failed companies from every single industry, that tried to compete on price with Wal-Mart. Why would anyone think framing is different?