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Here's "Bob on Bidness" and the State of the Industry

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Bob Carter, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    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!"

    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?
     
  2. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Dont want to F-thread this too much, but I definitely remember Cash Amburgy. (He was similar to Nathan Arizona from Raising Arizona.) It was one of those buy here/pay here places. He also sold appliances and would frequently shout things like, "Hats is off to Norge...". Incidentally, he was also a holy-roller preacher who led group trips to the Holy Land. Once my Dad was coming home from a business trip on a plane that also held Cash and his posse, who Dad said were one of the loudest drunken groups he had ever seen. That trip must have been a joy.
    :icon11: Rick
     
  3. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paul-Perhaps we could make a list of frameshops that have closed. Did they all try and compete with Wal-Mart?

    We shouldn't make this such a simplistic "either/or" argument

    Bottom line: In today's highly competitive marketplace, I think a smarter approach ought to be have enough highend options to accommodate your natural traffic flow, enough "bread and butter" options to cover what is probably the largest part of your business, and enough options to fulfill those "I just want a cheap frame" portion of the business

    Each retailer needs to know how much each segment contributes to his bottom line and not ignore any segment

    I must take exception with the $1600 left on the table comment. We all use that same argument everytime we wish to justify one's point of view. If that only happened once a day (and we seem to suggest it is an everyday event) and you did only that one sale a day, your shop would do well over $500K. I'll bet we can count on one hand the folks on the G that do over $500K a year

    Now, I'll bet that our friend Warren might be one of those and I'll guess that his $2000 sales might be few and far in between. I'll go so far as to say I doubt very seriously if we had a single $2000 sale in the entire month of March.

    Disagree or not, let's use the real world to discuss real problems, okay?
     
  4. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God


    Both. But if you go back to the 80s-early 90s we were really cookin'. Our sales volume has finally overtaken those great years, but in those days the profits were astounding, the number of customers was huge, and the art flew off the walls. Then they all went to the bbs and the internet, and we had to reinvent somewhat. Having done that in the last couple of years, we are finally recovering. If, that, is recessions doesn't knock us down again.

    After you get a great web site and do everything else in your stores to make it work in these times, then I want to hear what you are all doing to adapt, because we will indeed have to.

    Stores like Deck the Walls have big spaces devoted to lots of posters and prints. Done right, this can still be a winner. We never had more than about 8 print bins, and now we have two. One is specialized with limited edition arts and crafts prints. The other is the dregs. Since when did Ansel Adams become the dregs? I've been thinking about buying all new sleeves for that bin and using it to specialize in one type of art. Ethnic or old photos of celebs, or historical photos, Asian art, or something along those lines. We used to have one bin for each specialty in the "good old days" Then we converted the space to moulding walls. I have also dropped from 6 card racks to 2 small ones. My card sales have dropped, but the real estate was too valuable to take up space with card spinners. That's where some of the increasing selection of ready mades went.

    11AM--off to work.
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I don't order from LJ but I thought they have a 4' minimum on chops. With chop prices being double or more, you're going to pay for the whole stick anyway.

    It may not be LJ but there is one that has a minimum. I'm just thinking thats who it is.

    Opps. After I posed this I see where that discussion was about 30 posts ago. Nevermind
     
  6. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Yep!
     
  7. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, I've made a point of adding about 15 value options to my mix, as an alternative to offering 25% or 50% off. Three or four of those value options are purchased by the box. The rest are bonanza wood mouldings that I can buy single-length from LJ, and they are still an amazing bargain.

    When a customer comes in and says "I'm thinking just a black frame," you make the same mistake taking them at face value as you make when you assume that the 22-year old guy in jeans and a t-shirt can't afford to spend more than $100 on custom framing. I'll show them that black frame, but in the process of doing so, I ask them if it's OK if I also show them a couple of other options I think might look good. They rarely say no, and they often never take another look at that black frame. They ask for a black frame because they don't know about the other possibilities, and they are feeling insecure. Black is a safe default.

    You misread my comment about leaving money on the table. Read it again. That $1600 that could have been left on the table wasn't from one sale. That was the week. It wouldn't have happened on Friday, because I didn't have any customers on Friday. Ditto Tuesday. Welcome to the recession. It's real, not a figment of consumers' imagination conjured up by evil TV news anchormen.
     
  8. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jay, to my knowledge it isn't LJ or any other vendors I've been using. It's worth taking a look at ordering this way. I rarely have more than a foot or two of scrap from an order these days, so it goes into the dumpster.
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Tim, great post but I think the biggest thing Jared is overlooking is the fact that no woman goes to boutique shop to buy fruit of the loom undies. A side by side comparison is just too easy and to few people (even the most rich) would pay 20% + for a product they can get elsewhere - anywhere.

    While I'm showering my vast knowledge I should just go ahead and add to what Bob said. In this competitive market the best answer is to focus on things REQUIRING customer service. Labor is where it’s at because the internet will NEVER compete with good old fashioned customer service. I have begun to identify a few things that demands face to face contact with somebody who speaks English. Much of our industry has become a commodity and not a service. Fighting that is futile but fortunately a good portion of our industry is labor intensive and requires hands on attention like custom framing. However the demand for that has withered so that even the smallest shop will have a tough go selling only frames. Shops in the future will have about 10 more services that just can't be done via the Internet. After those services are in place you may not even be called a “frameshop” at that point. Energy spent identifying these services will pay off 10 fold over trying to reverse a rock solid iron clad customer buying pattern.

    I can't answer the question Bob becuase I'm not 5 yet. I could compaire to dads galleries but I think I know what I'll find. BTW I'm 4 on tuesday.
     
  10. TGFU

    TGFU CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Jay, I really wish I could agree with you, but I am quickly beginning to doubt that. I'm starting to think that the trend is for people to forgo the old fashioned customer service to the conveniences of doing "custom framing" over the internet.

    Bob, I say NO to your question. I am going on 6 years. Years 1 & 2 were much better than 5.
     
  11. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Kirstie,

    The old DTW concept worked great years ago but if they stayed that way they are probably out of business now. Art sales are down, way down so the DTW stores that are surviving are finding better use of that floor space. Gifts and home decor is taking over the sales dollars lost but they just are not as profitable as the art was. I would not suggest that anyone should get into the print business like DTW's were at one time. In the past 18 months I have got rid of 5 print bins that hold approx 75 sleeves each take that times 2 images per sleeve and you have 750 images that I have cut back in my inventory and I can still get rid of more.

    As for your cards, i do not know if you do this or not but do you frame them? We have been framing cards for a couple years now and we onlycarry card lines that we can frame. We use a moulding at .39/ft and frame up the 5x7 cards and sel them at 14.95. People buy them as gifts and many times buy multiples.
     
  12. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jay, I am waiting with baited breath to find out what you are working on. I know other shops have gone into printing services, and after a helfy investment, I see some sense in that IF one is not surrounded by competent services in the same town. Here we have one just a few blocks away, and in Emeryville, 5 minutes by car, we have pictopia.com. Upload your photo and get amazingly good photos, blow ups, custom editing etc, ready for pick up or mailed to you.

    So keep us informed when you can because I for one really want to reinvent, or rather add on to what we have to offer.
     
  13. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh yes, we have framed cards for years, but they don't sell like they used to. The only ones that sell are the arts and crafts line in really nice frames. Scroll down on this page and you'll see that several of the images are framed cards. These sell over the average photo or floral or landscape card image.
     
  14. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Our print wholesalers need to look like this. With an easy to use search engine. Then maybe some of our customers would order through us. The page needs to say order here, with links to frame shops, a la Artaissance. Otherwise it's a losing battle, IMHO.

    I had this page open because I just had a customer call about an Adams print in an edition not offered by Museum Graphics.
     
  15. Steph

    Steph SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just have to say thank you to Jared for your post. It is a breath of much needed fresh air, and just reinforced what I already knew about my approach to my frame shop.

    Know your area, know your consumer, study what your competitors are doing AND not doing. Be willing to change, and make your shop stand out.

    Please post more often Jared!

    Plus....you reminded me of a few things I want to take care! The time is now.
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Kirstie, call or email me some time and I'll share the nickels worth of knowledge I have. If you're ready to reinvent the wheel, then we're on the same page!

    I don't care to share much here for several reasons. For one I don't want to put anything in print because I could be completely wrong. That can be embarrassing later if I start up a fortune telling business.

    Also every idea here gets shot down by people who have barely considered these ideas and will never try them.

    Finally I don't think that there is one answer. I can tell you where I'm going and that might be completely unmarketable in your area. You may come up with ideas that I couldn't give away here. Even still I say that the one thing the internet will never touch is areas that require face to face contact and elbow grease.

    As always the solution won't be easy. If it were easy women and children....umm I mean everybody would be doing it.

    Jim, I think we agree but you've misunderstood me. Let me give you this example. How could the internet ever compete with hanging services? Now in my little 'boro I couldn't knock down a living doing that but maybe that could really make up a good portion of your business there in Meggaville? There are dozens and dozens of things the internet will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever touch. We should concentrate on those things because eventually that's all we'll have left. Just cut to the chase!
     
  17. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That's why we are so busy. You certainly can't do what we do via the internet. I can't even market the way I want to because we simply can't turn out the work any faster. I could easily use at least 2 more full-time employees. And Jay, you know how "non-visable" we are!

    but I guess this doesn't count, because it isn't "framing" that creates the lion's share of our income.
     
  18. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jay has a very valid point about face-to-face service, and I hope there's some salvation in it. Everything has become so homogenized and sterile in today's society, I think people crave that small-town touch and atmosphere. Go to any shopping mall, in any city, and it's the same stores in every single one. You'd be hard-pressed to find an indie retailer with space in a decent mall. Rental costs are a big part of it, but I'm sure there are other contributing factors. Regardless, it makes for a rather boring experience. Why go shopping at XYZ mall in some city I'm visiting, when I can just get the exact same stuff at QRS mall back home?

    Starbucks is another prime example. In many towns, the arrival of a Starbucks can be a big thing. But it can also mean the death knell for independent coffee shops. Well, I used to work in the coffee and tea business, and let me tell you, it ain't necessarily so. The arrival of a Starbucks will force neighboring indies to get their act together in terms of marketing and operations, but those that do so can thrive. Here in my area, we have Starbucks stores within a block of multiple independent coffee shops, in my immediate neighborhood and all across the city. They all do well. I think there is a particular mindset in this area that prefers the independent to sterile chains. It's manifested by the persistence of independent coffee houses right up the block from Big Green, but I hear it from my customers (all 3 of them) too. They like doing business locally. It's important to them. They will drive out of their way and pay a bit more to get that experience of shopping in a store where the owner is waiting on them, where the owner is doing the framing, and where the owner is right there in case of any problems, accountable and responsive. And you can't get that on the internet very easily.

    A mixed trend are these new shopping/residential developments that have been cropping up over the past 5 years or so, intended to reproduce that small town center experience. I think the intent behind them is good, but there's something phony about them. It's like going to Las Vegas to the Venetian, and comparing that to the real Venice. And again, the mix of stores is decidedly unmixed -- Pottery Barn, The Gap, Ann Taylor, The Limited, yada yada yada. They've taken the roof off the shopping mall and added some apartments and condos.
     
  19. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    WOW!
     
  20. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Of course, we are not a frameshop, but we sure do count on them.

    Unfortunately we changed software 8 years ago so I don't have easy data from ten years ago. However, including adjustment for inflation, we have seen an increase of sales to retail frame shops of 87% since 2000 and 44% since 2002 (2003 was an off year - our capacity started limiting our growth, which we took care of in 2004).

    Granted, we have gotten some new customers over that time, but the greatest part of our growth from retail frame shops has been from the existing customer base. Our customers have been doing great - of our regular/weekly order kind of customers I only recall one closing the doors in about the last ten years. No doubt there have been more, but we are not seeing/hearing about them enough to be a concern. In fact, when we got into this business (early 80's) frameshops came and went about as fast as a teenage girl changes her clothes. You could look through the YP and maybe half the places would be out of business already. The consistency of the framing business is what caused us to invest so heavily in it, and have converted our business from 80/20 construction/picture framing to exactly the opposite.

    So, I have to answer emphatically "YES", and I think the future is bright for those who are willing to listen to their customers and give them what they want. I sure hope so, my life is riding on it.
     
  21. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm coming on on 6 years old. So I can't answer exactly the question. What I can say is I my annual revenue has been flat for 3 years. There are some extenuating circumstances, but flat is flat.

    If I look at what I am estimating for the gross "custom framing revenue" for a 20 -30 mile radius I would DEFINETLY say it's down! That takes out the effect and movement from closings and such.

    There is also not question in My Neck of the Woods that there is a lot more gross dollar volume in "perceieved low-end framing" than in "fancy pants framing." Without some form of low-cost offering, I wouldn't be in business.
     
  22. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    Absolutely YES and slightly Yes.
     
  23. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I must say that I communicate privately with many of the framers that responded to the query. The reponses in private have been slightly different than the public acclaimation. One went so far as to tell me they were having real difficulties paying the bills and for them, it was a first. I should not rely on these responses

    Having based my question on private responses and general attitudes from vendors and publishers I see, I must confess that I must be incorrect

    Obviously,All is extremely well and framers are thriving

    I think I had better take some time off to reassess what it is that we are doing so poorly when all others are not
     
  24. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    Cliff

    A bit off topic but it my be of interest to you…..

    As you may know Jean (my wife) has been going to Boston on a shop till you drop trip with her friends for many years now at least five…………one of her friends lived and worked in Boston for many years…..

    Jean is at Boston College as part of her Masters this week….

    The girls (the gang) went out last Thursday to spend a few days shopping………she has told me that the difference is stark this year on other years……….she said you could feel the downturn this time in the shops…

    Examples:
    Less staff in the shops…
    Some of the shops have downsized…
    Less acceptance of vouchers the shops are trying to talk their way out of them this year with the exception of Natucia (lucky me)
    Some of the shops have said that they are only surviving on the Irish tourists…..
    And lots of other little indicators…

    One of the malls they hit is the Outlet at Renthem (sp), they also were at Burlington ………..they were also in other areas including Frahaham (sp)…..

    Anyway just for what it is worth, I though I would give you the above information……

    The good news is that with the value of the Euro to the $ you will get many more Irish travelling to Boston and with Aer Lingus linking with Jet Blue from this April Boston will become a busier hub for the Irish travelling to other areas of the US….
     
  25. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I don't know what to say Bob...

    I have really changed the way I do things over the years and it has helped my bottom line tremendously.

    Maybe the ones doing good do not have 10k a month rent and 20k a month payroll. Just a thought.

    Maybe the shops that are surviving are doing so due to the demise of those around them leaving less local competition.

    I feel like I'm adding more questions than giving answers, however, there has to be some reason why some survive and others don't. I would bet that each and every success or failure has a completely different reason why it happened that way.
     
  26. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh, I don't think so. We're better off, growing slightly, but here have been many, many hiccups, many mistakes over the past five-ten years. There have been a month or two when we've wondered if we forgot to unlock the door. But overall, we're better off. Growing slightly, just not as much as I would like.

    We're up about 12% over last year. Not great, but going in the right direction. March was dead, dead, dead. Reading doom and gloom on the grumble and getting worried. Not staying awake nights worried, but wondering if this was the future. On Saturday we did 30% of the business that we had done so far in March. So now March looks pretty good. What happened, was it the phase of the moon or what?

    If I could just make ryhme or reason to what's going on, I would have it made.

    I'm happy we're growing, but with my annual gross sales, I probably couldn't pay Bob Carter's rent for a quarter. It's all relative.
     
  27. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob, I have been in that "I don't know if I can pay my bills" state a few times. In January I had the worst month in 5 years! But, February was the best February since I opened.

    That was why I answered with annualized data.

    As Maryann says it's all relative! As Maryann describes, I am small enough that one phenomenal day can pull me almost completely out of a tailspin.

    Yes Dermot, you can "feel" the slowness in the air. BUT, to contradict that, most of the small shops I talk to say they are flat or up. I "think" there is much less "casual" purchasing, but the "directing" purchasing seems to have stayed steady. Does that make sense?
     
  28. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    We are always slow this time of year. This year (the third march I have run this business) we seem to be realy slow with a few can we pay the bills moments. But like Maryann we had a good weekend and its looking better. We are still up 9% over last year and we have not even gotten to our busy time of the year yet. Usually June and July (and of course Christmas).
     
  29. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh yes Dermot,

    You meant the Outlet shops at Wrentham (a regional "discount" outlet location) and Framingham ( a western suburb of Boston where a lot of people spend a lot of money. BTW, the frameshops I know in the Framingham area seem to be doing well.
    location, location, location!

    Bob, I was just pondering the dichotomy you referred to. Everyone is emotionally down and the reps and vendors are clearly uneasy. But, when I talk to specific framers individually it's "ok."

    For myself, I think the up and down is more volitile. I seem to go longer stretches with "insufficient" revenue, before I "pullout" and get some good orders. I can't say I have an explanation, but the more I think about it, the more sure I am that the up and down seems more pronounced than it used to be.
     
  30. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Cliff, the experience of your business may be similar to that of much older frame shops. Most of the evolution in our industry has occurred in just the past eight years or so, I believe. My business grew steadily in terms of customers, revenue, and profit for the first 12 years, through 1999; everything was easy in those days. Since then, everything has changed.

    For many framers, flat revenue also means flat profit. Or worse, reduced profit due to desperate strategies that do not work -- price cutting, for example.

    Wonderful things can happen when a struggling business operator can focus on the bottom line of the Income Statement instead of the top line . That is, focus on net profit instead of revenue.
     
  31. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jim, my net has steadily improved, although It probably means I am just keeping pace with inflation.

    I have learned a lot about managing COGs % and expenses! However, I've pretty much bottomed out on squeezing those things. I've GOT to grow that top line!!
     
  32. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    That is the very thing that I did. It was an eye opening experience.

    Actually, I think it was a private conversation with Jim that help turn me around.

    Now if Jim could convince me about poly mouldings...
     
  33. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Cliff, we haven't had much inflation in recent years. If your net profit has been increasing, no matter how you slice it, you're probably on the "plus" side of the equation.

    Market conditions sometimes create what seems to be a "brick wall" for small retailers. No matter what we do, we can't compete with mass marketers that have monthly ad budgets exceeding our annual revenue.
     
  34. Warren Tucker

    Warren Tucker MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We're much better off than we were 10 and 5 years ago. For one thing we're that much older and we learned a lot in those years. Our digital imaging business has matured. We have three grandchildren we didn't have 5 years ago. Carolina has been to one more Final Four in the last 5 years and has won another national championship in the last 10. Life is good. (Yeah, I know, the response is supposed to be limited to the shops, but our lives are tied up in the fate of the shops.) In the last 2 years, our cabinet making shop has taken off (due primarily to a son-in-law with whom I have the pleasure of working and who may one day take over the whole business). There has been a significant rise in property value of the commercial real estate reinforcing our decision to forgo renting a highly visible location in favor of buying property with less traffic but still a good location in the middle of the county. We gambled that framing was a destination activity and that location wasn't as important as convenience. There are currently no frame shops in the local malls. There have been, though.

    We've always been more interested in total revenue than profit. We figured as long as we were making money on each sale and gross income was greater than 25% of sales, the more sales the better off we were. Total revenue is some indication of market share, number of customers. The more sales, the bigger discounts we could command, the larger staff and space we could afford. The more investment we could make in light industrial equipment. Bigger discounts, larger staff and space, the better equipment, the more revenue we could generate, up to a point. That point being what we could do in our current two stores. The greater revenue paid off the mortgages on our commercial property and has left us with a very competent staff to run the businesses as we gradually retire. There are many, many advantages to larger revenue. I can't think of any good reason to want to limit your total sales or not have more customers, other than you just like living on and working for very little money. I don't think there is any fault for not having higher revenue but I can't say the same for not trying for it. Our attention is not on the bottom line of our P&L statement but, rather, getting the best deal we can for our customers, and if a high volume is necessary to do that, and it probably is, then that's what we do. The two concepts really go hand in hand: high volume and good customer prices. The lower the price of the product, the more people who want it. And by concentrating on good deals for your customers, you avoid the cynicism that I think is too common in retail sales. You avoid the practice (need I say the "cynical practice) of offering "perceived" value rather than genuine value.
     
  35. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob,
    The way you worded the question, I thought you just wanted a quick yes or no answer.

    I'm better off than 5 or 10 years ago, but there are several reasons why.

    Up until around 6 years ago I did a mix of about 80 % retail, and 20% commercial sales each year. The problem was the retail was slowly tailing off each year.

    So, I made a concious effort to increase the commercial, since that part of sales was growing a little. This involved getting out and contacting interior designers, leasing a new seperate work shop, and I invested at least $75,000 dollars in new equipment and moulding stock.

    So far, it's paid off as my mix has shifted to around 60% retail and 40% commercial, and the commercial is steadly growing. I hope within the next several years to be 50/50 in retail/commercial sales.

    I'm very bullish on this years growth, but I'm nervous about the long term. One reason being, if I lost a couple of my interior designers business, it would really have a negative impact on my commercial sales.

    So I guess I would say I'm cautiously optimist about future sales growth in the commercial sales area, but less optimist about retail sales growth.
     
  36. WoodWork Lover

    WoodWork Lover Grumbler


    How true is this? Do most agree??
     
  37. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Actually, I just had a first time customer that said they came to me because I was the most convenient shop for them. She didn't question the price, just had her crosstitch framed.

    And, "location wasn't as important as convenience" seems wrong somehow? Isn't convenience directly related to location?
     
  38. WoodWork Lover

    WoodWork Lover Grumbler


    I guess m question is, If you had a choice, of a highly traveled main street, in a more shopped in area, or a secondary street but actually has more parking, which is better assuming:

    Bot sites have same sq footage, first site is $2000, per month, second site is $1200 per month.
     
  39. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That's a no brainer if you would ask me. You need to be at the higher traffic, higher rent location. It's only 800 a month more and much more visability.
     
  40. TADPORTER

    TADPORTER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    NO.
     
  41. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    To answer, I'll ask you a couple of questions ...

    How much do you anticipate for an average gross margin dollar per frame? (Let's use $75 for now)
    Then, take $800 (the difference in rent) divide by $75 and get 11 (rounded up), now ...
    Will you sell 11 more frames per month in the more visible location?

    There's your answer. (My guess is yes, but very small details in the locations could effect the answer, so only you know for sure.)
     
  42. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I've been in 3 radically different types of locations. Cliff's assessment is a bit elementary.
     
  43. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think that anybody that attempts to model after Warren without doing everything he does might not be as successful

    His is a "total pkg" arrangement with the biggest wild card being available is Waren, himself
     
  44. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    You're right Bob. I visited and was in awe of his operation. I assure you he is a bit to humble when explaining how anybody could do it. He has what Warren Buffet calls a "durable competitive advantage". One of the fingerprints Mr Buffet looks for is a business that isn't easily copied. Warren Tucker's operation can't be easily copied even if you know exactly how it works. If it were easily copied, it would have been a million times.
     
  45. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Depends on what you mean by "location". Using the broad dictionary definition, yes, it would have to be. But "Location" (with a capital "L"), to me, when used in commercial Real Estate context, refers to Visibility / Traffic. A property with very low Visibility can actually be much more convenient than one with very high Visibility.
     
  46. WoodWork Lover

    WoodWork Lover Grumbler

    And that is exactly what I was talking about. With the high visibility, there are many parking meters (and parking is hard to come by). I would imagine that being able to park close to a frame shop is important. Plus, saving rent money works for me.

    Is framing really a "destination" business?
     
  47. Steph

    Steph SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    YES! Custom framing certainly isn't an impulse purchase. How many people do you knpw who make a habit to take their unframed print for a walk, see a shop and impulsively decide to get it framed? Location is a tricky thing, high visibility, walk by traffic, etc, can also go hand in hand with serious parking issues in a downtown.

    Personally I opted away from the downtown because of high rent and parking issues. I have plenty of parking and am on a busy road. The tricky part is making sure they see you as they drive by, and remember you when they want something frame. That's where your marketing techniques are vital.
     
  48. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Woodwork,

    To me it sounds as if you have already made your decision on what you want to do and you had before you came here asking for advice. The thing you must remember when asking any questions here is that what really matters is what is going on in your market, we all can tell you what works for us or others but that does not mean it will work for you.

    Yes I think that location matters for framing, people want convience no matter what they are buying and if you are not located in a covienent location they will go elsewhere.
     
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