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M's closing in our town

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
If I had to put a house payment on the line, I'd say photographers eat better than framers.

The ones that I know do. That is a fact.

One of my customers just got married and the photog part was a little over $5000. As best that she could remember, the photographer was with them around 4 hours total. The proofs that she has received look to be totally un-touched, right out of the camera.

And Jay is also correct about there being more photographers in the phone book than framers.
 

janetj1968

PFG, Picture Framing God
Do you think we're assuming a lot?

If a M's store is only 1/4 framing...why do we assume the framing must not b doing well and that's why they're closing? Because they're doing something wrong? Because that's how we'd want it? Maybe it doesn't have to do much with framing at all.

It's more likely an overall sales problem for that particular branch.
 

Jeff Rodier

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
It's more likely an overall sales problem for that particular branch.
Most likely it is a combination of both. I know that the M's near me has been slow in the framing department. They certainly had their holiday spike but I don't think that will carry over to the new year.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The successful photographers that I know of have differentiated themselves from the mass market photographers by having a unique artistic style. One similarity that exists between photographers and framers is that the quality of their work is the best advertising they can do. I recently framed four baby portraits that were outstanding by a local photographer. She called me to thank me for two appointments she had from folks that had seen the framed portraits at my shop and said that she'd send her customers to me for framing.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
The idea of publicizing free delivery is an interesting one. I generally am more than happy to offer to deliver finished work locally and often do but have never publicized the service. If I'm going so far as to deliver the work then I might as well throw in free hanging too. How much more work is it to hang the work while you are there and how better of an opportunity do we have to establish a personal relationship with our customers than to be welcomed into their home?

I often have women customers that as I show them the hanging hardware on the back and the attached hook mention that if they can just get their husband to hang it for them now they will be all set. It isn't rocket science but many folks are timid when it comes to hanging a picture both from a mechanical sense and a design sense.

I know there may be many naysayers about offering this service at no additional charge to customers but in this economic climate it may well be worth the effort. Little if any additional cost is involved other than my time. An hour spent here or there before or after hours is well worth it to me to garner much needed business in this economic climate.

My shop is in a somewhat rural area close to a larger metropolitan area. It is quite possible that the city folk would be willing to come to me if they knew they wouldn't need to make another return trip to get the work. Also, locals may see value in not driving into the BB's and having to make a return trip to pick up the work. Then there is also the hanging ...

I'm going to have to think about this a bit and listen to any other's input.

:kaffeetrinker_2:
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, let's distinguish between photographers and retailers of cameras and photo processing. Those are two very different businesses. Photographers may eat well, but retailers of cameras and photo processing are getting hammered by the internet and changes in how people print photos. I'd much rather be a bricks/mortar picture framer than a bricks/mortar photographic equipment retailer.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
Dave, I would definitely promote delivery and hanging, and I do here. If the customer has me do the framing, I will deliver and install for free with only a couple of exceptions. If it's a large order, as in 20 pieces or more, I might build in a small delivery and hanging fee into the price. Ditto if they live outside the immediate geographic area of my store (for example, Monterey or Tahoe).

Now, if they haven't had me do any framing for them, and they just want me to come by and hang some pictures for them, pictures framed elsewhere, I will charge a fee and that's only fair. Normal people (meaning, people outside San Mateo) understand that.
 

PJ Brunet

Grumbler
I think the custom framing component is about 25% of M's sales, and in the newer stores they are moving the framing closer to the front of the store.
Many Michaels stores have neglected their frames shops to such a degree, when I go there sometimes they don't even have a full-time framer. What I've seen here, they might have a pro that knows how to cut a mat driving from store to store to do this. I have seen one of their frame shops do well, but only because they had a salesperson who had established relationships with people for years.

They would much rather get you into a standard-size Chinese frame because they make more profit that way.
 
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