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Larson Juhl buys online framing retailer

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by framergirl13, May 4, 2009.

  1. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    How many frames in LJ's lines? How many frames supplied by LJ can you find at Documounts? What is Documounts doing that they weren't doing before this great and serious thread started? You are making a mountain out of a molehill. You are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not me! Enough silly metaphors? :p:p
  2. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner


    With all due respect, maybe Docu doesn't affect you and that's great for you.

    But please don't belittle other framers' situation who could be affected by this issue or are worried when a major supplier starts selling directly to their customers at much lower prices.

    I really doubt they're posting this just for the heck of it.
  3. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Nor am I. A bit of perspective is way overdue in this thread.
  4. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    It is the principle of the matter Pat.

    Two customers walk into your shop, you sell them one frame with shipping and handling for $50 and the second customer, a long time client you sell the exact frame for $100.

    How do you think they will react?
  5. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pat, when Amazon started up people said it wouldn't hurt book stores as no one would buy a book without being able to flip through the pages. Now many great little bookstores have folded.

    Documounts is not hurting you directly, yet. They aren't affecting me. But they are affecting PF. And they are affecting PF's rep.

    I really could call less, right now, just suggesting that if you can get it cheaper at Documounts do so, and tell your rep! The rep needs to know.
  6. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That is not responsive to the points I raised. Principle is wonderful, but only if it is put into perspective.
  7. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Sorry I tried, what is your perspective? Back on I list
  8. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Who's perspective is more valid? Your's or the framer losing business or leaving money on the table because of Documounts? We always say "don't leave money on the table" "up-sell your design" how is it any different buying the same frame from a discount center or the manufacturer?

    I don't like buying knockoffs and will pay the premium to buy the real deal. But when the real deal is being sold elsewhere by the person I buy from at 'knock off' prices then why should I pay a penalty for being loyal?
  9. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob? :p
  10. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Pat go back to and read the thread for yourself instead of having someone else doing it. Then go to


    and compare what they are selling to what you are selling, apples to apples.

    I just compared L 403235 Acadmie Gold 16x20"

    Documounts price, copied right from thier site.
    At 1-3 total wood frames this frame is: $44.08
    At 4-6 total wood frames this frame is: $21.16
    At 7+ wood frames this frame is: $18.51

    The same frame I would retail for $106.66, if I ordered chopped would cost me $30.38, length about $21.51
  11. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think the whole thing is a sad commentary on what LJ believes is the health of the independant framer. LJ is struggling to survive and is willing to sell direct to the consumer because framers are dropping like flies.
  12. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Johnny, My bad. Sorry, read it at the wrong time and took it the wrong way. (I thought my post didn't make sense not LJ practices)

    Sorry Shayla, it was a bad mood post, if you sent me some baked goods it could just turn my mood around.

    Bob (I will try not to post when I am pi$$ed off)
  13. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was unclear. It's also impossible to offend me. :)

    sorry Shayla.
  14. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Pat, if you are saying that principles don't really matter if it doesn't effect many in a big way (perspective), I respectfully disagree.

    If its not a big deal, I wouldn't get too excited about it, but it still gives me a bad taste about the company displaying poor principles.

    This thread exposes a few contentious issues indeed. I think its all about integrety! Due to what I call a great lack of it in our society, we hardly know what it means, (let alone know how to spell it!).

    Greed for almighty dollar tempts many to cross the line (which is already blurred)! Knock offs is a good example. The difficulty (blurring) today, at least for me is, what truly is a knock-off, who has the rights, and who made the original design. Unfortunately, its too expensive to publicly document & register original design else more would do it - me thinks.

    As for wholesalers selling to the non-wholesaler, I suppose nothing is technically unethical, however in business it is a generally accepted principal that you don't combine the two. At least that is the way it was 10 yrs ago. Things are changing, and not only in framing. Its becoming acceptable, and I'd bet it isn't going to revert to the ways of the past!

    The only way to change this is if retailers would collectively - absolutely refuse to purchase from anyone who crosses the line (a documented policy regarding business ethics). This is where the PPFA could be beneficial.

    A few indies trying to make statements? Its only shooting oneself in the foot. As indies, we can't fight the mob! Unfortunately, IMHO, we best find the niche that we can work in, be great at it, and give a smaller segment the value they are looking for!
  15. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Actually, how do we know Documents (and Art.com) aren't hurting us already? I've had a real dropoff in sales over the past four weeks. People just aren't coming in. Now this is a very web-savvy area -- we created the internet, and most of those websites you frequent are headquartered here (eBay, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, etc.). These people find my store via the internet, not the yellow pages or direct mail or any other print media. So in that same internet search, they could be finding sites like Art.com (also HQ'ed here) and Documounts. Maybe the reason they aren't coming in is because they are finding their needs met through Documounts at my wholesale cost.

    As for the limited selection of mouldings online, LJ knows quite well what it's top 100-selling mouldings are. It's going to put those top sellers online, not the 4-inch wide Concerto modernist wedge that only sells 5 or 6 times a year.
  16. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Do you know that I haven't? I stand by my point that too much is being made of this. There is no way that I am pulling LJ samples from my wall. They have a quality product, sold to me at competitive prices and delivered with excellent service.
  17. PicturedFramer

    PicturedFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Bob Doyle
    I gave that same story to the lj sales rep and he took notes. Seemed like he was probably going to bring it up at the next sales meeting. Another of his "stores" going to Documounts. No commissions.

    I was in the printing industry for many years and saw what happened to the small indy and franchise owners as the paper supplier and machinery supplier slowly got huge and slowly pushed us aside. How?
    The machinery companies started competing with us and opened up their own businesses and went after our large customers (Xerox) and gobbled them up fast and our business went down. Then the paper companies started competing with us and started local small paper "stores" selling retail and our business went down. When I started with the franchise there were 14 stores locally and we met monthly for advertising strategy and co-oped our money. When I finally left the printing biz there was only one franchise left, it came quickly to an end.

    My point is. When they start competing with you it's over,slowly. They gobble up everything in their path, especially the corporate business or large buyers. Why do they do it? Because they can. It's the almighty corporate dollar. Do they care? Heck no! I see the same happening to the small indy framer now. Not that I have "corporate" customers or large businesses to worry about but if I did, I'd be worried.

    Maybe the internet has leveled the playing field and now one knows the size of your business unless they come in. Maybe we still can compete in this arena, this time with the internet as our sword.
  18. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    When they have the potiential to sell the same product to your customers via thier website, you can't compete....:bdh:
  19. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    LJ is like Michales to me. they raise their prices so high so they can pretend to give you a good discount. so 30% off to them could be like 15 to 20% off anywhere else. I don't buy into them...
  20. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You can if you buy from their competitors.
  21. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    Interesting point Puppy, I have been in the industry for 26 years and never put that together.

    What pi$$ me off is that they tell us they are trying to help the indy framer. They expect us to sell their product for high dollar when they don't feel that they can sell there own product for what they expect us to sell it for.
  22. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    just telling the truth. thats all. michales 60% off sale was enough to make me see things that way when im 2 miles from one. i knew it couldn't be possible. and its not... i just need to double my prices and then give the same discount. i just can't bring myself to do it.... YET!!!
  23. cvm

    cvm PFG, Picture Framing God

    That's great, FrameMakers. This thread should end right here. If you're concerned, the above quote should be the Bottom Line Question to anyone representing LJ.
  24. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Good point Chris, that bears repeating. Dave should get quoted in every response from here on.
  25. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Except that from their perspective they still aren't selling to the end consumers.

    Not that I agree with any of it.

    You reap what you sow though bro yaknow?

    People on here defended Southern Moulding selling on eBay. People defended United posting costs in public view and unprotected checkouts. People defended the rights of companies to bypass you and sell to whomever they choose at whatever price. People ridiculed those who thought it could possibly impact their own businesses. People defend manufacturers and distributors selling to the employees of existing businesses in the employees home. History has clearly demonstrated that if you're a manufacturer or distributor who acts in a harmful way to independent framers they will still buy from you just fine, you will not suffer. If you're a distributor and you see all this it probably gets pretty darn tempting.

    It's been a house of cards for a while.

    Make money while you can. When decisions such as leases are upon you see if you'll continue to make money or not. If yes, yay. Make as much as you can. If not.... hey there is a whole world of opportunity out there do something else. Not gunna be much room for all of us at the table, yaknow.

    And, I'd say, probably stop posting on here under your business name saying how much cheaper they are than you and even giving specific item numbers, links, and exact costs. Sheesh.
  26. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    34,362 views. Thats more than 1,000 views in one (1) day.....
  27. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    that means it must be a BIG deal!!! but that is pretty impressive
  28. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Inquiring minds want to know.
  29. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    But, how many of those are by Danny Boy, then saying "xx,xxx views"?

  30. framerbob

    framerbob CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    My thought too. I jsut looked over their site, of the 30 or so mouldings none are LJ mouldings that I've ever seen. Some of them may look similar, but its not apples to apples.

    two other points: The customer has had the ability to buy cheap frames online for years, this is not new. Secondly LJ has sold to people other than frame shops for years (including photographers, decorators, designers, and even the dreaded home based framer-believe me I know this first hand)
  31. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Danny has 15 more posts than you Dave. Due to length, I had to chop off all of those that only made one post.
    [and mine is now 26]
    Another thing of note is that this has had a dramatic impact in the North West..... LJ's "Documont" offices are inside of NWFraming's offices, they make all of the deliveries to the 42 shops in LJ trucks, and NWF's walls are about 80%+ LJ as they have eliminated everything "Framer's Inventory", starting with all the matboard and hardware.
    And just to cut even more deeply.... they terminated their rep for the WA&OR territory. Supposedly they will be bringing in a "top gun" from Los Angeles.....

    Bob Doyle 27 Baer Charlton 25 Jerry Ervin 24 Pat Murphey 20 danny boy 19 FrameMakers 16 Jeff Rodier 16 shayla 16 johnny 15 DTWDSM 15 JbNormandog 15 Doug Gemmell 14 arstis 14 JAYENESS/SPOKANE 12 RParrish 12 cjmst3k 11 surferbill 11 cvm 8 Kirstie 8 Rob Smith 8 Paul N 7 Rick Granick 7 Cadre 7 Joe B 7 Jay H 7 PaulSF 6 MJ The Romaboy 6 PicturedFramer 6 Paul Cascio 6 Mike Labbe @ GTP 5 BmoreJay 5 John Ranes II, CPF, GCF 5 Framing: 5 Creative Chicks 4 David N Waldmann 4 Julia 4 GUMBY, GCF Vieau2 3 Rick Bergeron - CPF 3 Puppiesonacid 3 climbingclouds 3 FramerDave 3 Emibub 3 HB 3 Cliff Wilson 3
  32. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    The thing is, I like Larson Juhl. They have a major portion of my wall. They have been good to work with when a problem arises. I want to keep building my business and see Larson Juhl as an important part of that vision. No, I'm not a partner, to small of a shop for that kind of volume. Yes, I have other offerings from other distributors.
    We had Juhl Pacific many many years before, It only made since to continue when they became Larson Juhl.
    The thing is I like to represent things the customer cannot get down the street. There are two other frame shops in town. My services are great and my customers like my designing skills. The internet is a source of great knowledge and oppertunities. It can also lead to our downfall.
    Do I watch this thread and check back on opportunity? Am I wringing my hands and throwing in the towel? No. I will make changes and plan for a better tomorrow. Just like you. I will continue to offer exceptional service and look for my nitch. I was just thinking Larson Juhl could help me accomplish this. I am disappointed they have chose this path.
  33. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I obviously have commented too many times on this matter. Oh ####, now I have 16....
  34. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'll take your word for it Brother Baer. Oddly enough, I don't recall posting in this one at all........lol.
  35. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Crikey, Uncle Baer - I hope they set you free sometime soon - you have wayyyyy too much time on your hands!
  36. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    I like Larson Juhl, too. That's partly why I take this matter
    so seriously.

    This company got to be the size it is for a reason.
    I know that they've gobbled up their share of smaller
    businesses along the way, but they got big for other
    reasons, too. Namely, good products at fair prices,
    with great customer service and all-around image
    of integrity. Forgive me, my home based friends, but
    their refusal to sell to anyone but storefronts also won
    the loyalty of many customers.

    In recent years, though, they've given more and more
    cause to wonder just who they are becoming. First with
    the big box thing and now this. It's not just about buying
    Documounts. I'll take the rotten tomatoes if I turn out to
    be wrong on this one, but I'd bet that their attempt to
    body slam the largest regional framing supplier in the
    Northwest isn't a one time thing. I'm so thankful that
    this other company had the courage to keep from caving
    to a major blow, and am more committed than ever in my
    loyalty to them. What would the suppliers in your region do
    if LJ bought a company that allowed them to yank that
    supplier out of so many places at once? Are they strong
    enough to be able to stay in business, or would they cave
    in? Do we really want to only have one main supplier for
    all our framing needs? Especially one that, at the same time,
    is selling directly to the public at or below our cost? To me,
    this Documounts acquisition isn't so much about the
    moderate selection they're offering now, but is more like
    a bellwether pointing the way to what could be plans on a
    larger scale.

    If they truly didn't plan to sell retail to the public, then
    they wouldn't have done this. It's true that Studio,
    Nurre Caxton and Nielsen all sell their frames on other
    sites, and often for cheap, but they don't own those
    other companies. And they're not trying to bring down
    entire supply chains in a single blow. I just can't see that
    the people at LJ would be so naive as to do this without
    having carefully considered it first.

    But I sure hope they were. At least that would allow for
    some kind of sea change, wherein they now make solid
    moves toward restoring the faith of independent frames.
    And even if it was part of some plan to monopolize the
    industry, I hope they rethink this position.

    Whether they do or not, I'm more committed than
    ever to helping our regional and local suppliers survive.
    I buy frames from LJ, but we're getting our glass, foam
    core and most mats elsewhere. If we want to have a
    variety of options as to who we buy from, we need to
    actively support those businesses. And if Larson Juhl isn't
    making moves to dominate our industry while at the same
    time sabotaging it in the worst ways, then they need to
    make that abundantly clear and soon.

    I'll tell you something I do appreciate about them.
    Even though their disclaimer letters of late have been
    kind of hokey, unsupported by enough real change,
    I appreciate that they haven't come on this thread
    and raised a big ruckus over it. We've written some pretty
    harsh stuff about them, and so far, they haven't cried
    foul. While it's true that they could just be ignoring us,
    or hoping we'll blow enough steam off here to keep
    from using it for real action, I appreciate their silence.
    If they're going to make real changes that show their
    commitment to us, then I want to hear it. Otherwise,
    it just feels like blowing more smoke.

    And they are wise to let us be. Rather than seeing these
    comments as some kind of attack, they should take
    them for the rough gift that they are. Honest feedback
    from some of their most loyal customers. That's worth
    its weight in gold to someone wise enough to heed it.
  37. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    well. warn buffett does own them. he is all about making money. and larson is a corporation. so they have to make money no matter what for stock holders to keep coming back... wonder if they will get a bail out at some point, when or if they need it?

    hopefully as they expand there are enough frame shops left over for them to supply in the near future. or else they will be the only thing left selling and doing everything themselves. seems like a corporate idea to me.
  38. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Say what you will. Even choose to live in denial. But 35,443 views is one of the most watched threads in this forum. The numbers add up. It is of interest to framers.
  39. HB

    HB SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You think they really read this & give a toot what we say on this forum - after all we are just a bunch of Grumblers!
  40. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    You may be joking but I know for fact they read.

    It is interesting that the original poster has only posted here twice. Once in the first post and then post number 3 in this thread is their only two posts.
  41. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    I don't know either way, HB. But they'd
    be wise to read it. I can't say if the people
    in charge of driving company policy are
    reading it, but I'd bet my left sneaker that
    the reps do. If the LJ reps I've had are an
    accurate gauge, they care a great deal
    about us. And I'd bet my right sneaker that
    the ones who began with the LJ of old,
    or at least with those same business values,
    are miserable with having to tow the
    current company line.
  42. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    They are reading it, why do you think there are so many views? Their reps have been given talking points.

    Seriously a bunch of grumbling about Tru View is the reason they have new labels, do you remember how many labels they have gone through in the past few years?
  43. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    True..... and without her posting and flogging the dead horse, it died an untimely death. Unread, unregenerate, irrelevant, and unimportant.

    Since that time, LJ mucky mucks have flown in twice to sit down with the PPFA Cascade Chapter to here their concerns..... after which one of them simply stated "So? So what; it's business and none of yours." The rep at that meeting was recently let go.

    None of the dramatic changes to the website like so many grumblers with that "inside ear" were promised.

    And the statis quo continues.

    Would it make you feel better if she steps back in, and says hi? Say about ever 1,000 views or ever week; which ever comes first?
  44. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I can't make heads or tales out of anything you say. If you would even try to honor just a few of the rules of the language I may get the gist of what you're saying. I gather I have insulted you or "her"? At the very least it seems that you are unsatisified with what I have said? Maybe you just don't find it interesting? Who knows?
  45. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    At the least she had a pretty good knowledge of Documounts before she posted, if not maybe even being a previous employee, since her screen name is the same as the one selling Documounts stuff on etsy since 2006.
  46. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    At this point, I don't even care who started it.
    I'm glad the conversation was begun, and while
    I know that a bold exhange of opinions may or
    may not translate into results, at least it gives us
    a place to talk about what's going on.

    I think it makes more of a difference than people
    might imagine. I know of several shops that have
    taken all their LJ samples down. I've not done that
    yet, but sure do wish they'd give us a reason to
    feel good about keeping them up.
  47. Rob Smith

    Rob Smith Grumbler

    2 different people. know both.
  48. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Shayla, it seemed to me that you had a nice relationship with the last rep to be let go......
  49. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Very much so, Baer. I miss her, and I've written
    about how much I appreciated her.
  50. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just hope they screwed up on the documounts web site with showing prices like they do. other wise.... that's pretty much just wrong on all accounts. esp if even the wholesalers can't compete so much with the price.

    They could block the pricing at least right up front.... otherwise how can anyone not see this as just plain wrong?
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