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Suppliers who compete with you

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Peter Ackerman, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Peter Ackerman

    Peter Ackerman CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Please accept my disclaimer first: United Mfrs has not ever and will not under my management open any frame shop, franchise or otherwise compete with our customers.

    Now a hypothetical question: Say you have a long term relationship with a supplier of moulding, glass, and supplies, whatever. You find out that this supplier has plans to open multiple frame shops in many states that will compete directly with you.

    Do you continue to purchase material from this supplier? What are your feelings about a supplier who does something along this line?
    American Picture Frame Academy 1-888-840-9605

    The American Picture Framing Academy Learn Picture Framing Now
  2. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Whoa...that knocks Ron out of contention for the Can-o-Worms award.

    Peter, I think this subject has been hauled over the coals pretty well by now. Only real difference is that you made it hypothetical. Everyone else gave the company a name.

    Ya'll that want to enter the fray, feel free. I'm over it.
  3. El Framo

    El Framo Guest

    Do you know something we don't?

    By the way, had some out of stocks from you guys a few weeks ago, and got a callback when they came in and they were shipped freight free. We've always had to keep track of out of stocks on our end, so this helps out greatly. Thanks.
  4. Peter Ackerman

    Peter Ackerman CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I am not speaking of Larson or Joann's.
  5. Handy

    Handy MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    we had a somewhat similair situation.

    We were bidding on a hotel order and found out after we bid that one of our suppliers was bidding on it as well.

    It was very difficult for all of us. I think it somewhat hurt our relationship. I can see both sides of this coin, but it was very frustrating for us.

    I think that the answer to your question depends on where you are located and how easy/difficult it might be to switch to another company. In a case like it it would seem as though the company doesn't value "any" of their customers.
  6. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  7. Peter Ackerman

    Peter Ackerman CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I do so love games. Yes it does. Don't you just love a mystery?
  8. Mecianne

    Mecianne SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Only in movies & books, not business.
  9. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Just as I dropped Larson-Juhl for attempting to take over the market by buying up as many frame suppliers as they could, I would drop the supplier in a heart beat. The caveat would be, of course, if they were the only one from whom I could get supplies. In that case, I would have no choice but to bite my tongue and continue with them.
    If they suddenly opened a store in my town I'm not sure what recourse I would have except to torch their place. (hypothetically, of course!!)
    It is also a good reason why I live up here at the end of the earth where no large companies as such would bother.
  10. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    It has happened to me. TI Industries has 2 retail locations in Lexington NC.

    Do I buy their products?

    Me thinks not!

    If they were the only moulding manufacturer in the world, I would find another business to be in.
  11. El Framo

    El Framo Guest

    I'm with Jerry and the others on this one. I cannot in good conscience support a distributor who is not supporting me. I know there are those that wear both hats, just don't expect my business.
  12. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Knee-jerk reaction would be to say f-em. A lot would depend on the proximity and, more importantly, their prices to the public. If they were charging full retail without discounts I'd be more likely to retain them if I was doing well with them. If they discounted I'd be more likely to fire a RPG through their window.
  13. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    So.......what is the punchline? The sooner you tell us the sooner we can make the gut wrenching decision if we keep them or not.....
  14. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There are too many suppliers near me to keep anyone that tries to work both sides of the street.

    If you want to be a suplier be one, If you want to be a frame shop be one, don't expect an order from me one day and then make me work twice as hard the next to keep my client base.

    That is why Larson will never cross my doorstep.
  15. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    OK, everybody got a chance to graciously flex his muscles in front of an imaginary supplier who allegedly is competing with us. But why don't we stop this relentless martial drill in front of the mirror and learn who the enemy really is? You don't want your shadows run for safety in face of furious you. They might never return.
    Peter, and now what? What’s next?
  16. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Peter, it's nice of you to find out how we would handle such a problem, but I think there is a huge difference between your perpective and from ours in such a situation

    This sounds like you are talking about our vendor's vendor. Right?

    If YOU were to drop this vendor of yours, it would have a direct impact on us, your customers, because you would have to take them out of your catalog. Right?

    We, who rely on you so much would demand an explination that justifies such a deletion, thus putting the burden on you to broadcast the reason for you decision to many thousands of framers all across the country, right?

    I'm feelin' for you right now. The things that must be going on in your head.
  17. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'm sure Peter has a specific situation in mind, and he obviously believes it could have a significant impact on our industry. But until plans are solid and rumors are proven, he's wise to not fuel speculation.

    Regardless of that, he raises a good question about issues many of us have to address with lots of our suppliers, at least to some degree.

    For example, my local distributor sells cut-to-size mats & glass and joined custom frames, at wholesale prices to photographers, artists, and darn near anybody else who asks. That is, everything needed for "custom framing" except the fitting. So far they have refused requests to finish the framing -- as far as I know.

    New twist: This supplier is now offering (Chinese? Korean?) closed-corner frames to all of us at prices much lower than any of us could build out of similar moulding purchased from any source. This seems to me like eating one's own foot, but they say they must compete with offshore suppliers who sell via the internet, etc.

    Little by little, suppliers with the best of intentions seem to be eroding their own "traditional" custom framing business in favor of new revenue streams. They are, after all, in business to make profit, and we haven't been giving it to them lately.

    The LJ/JoAnn deal is like that. LJ made a conscious decision to -- in the minds of many, right or wrong -- contribute to the demise of small-shop custom framers, who were once their primary customers.

    Was starting up that relationship a mistake for LJ? Apparently not, because they seem to be doing better than they would have if they had "taken the high road" by forsaking that business in order to support us exclusively. It's been said that the JoAnn profits have enabled LJ to continue full service to us, which might have had to be trimmed otherwise.

    But what about the effects of such new deals in the long term? The future of framing is so fog-shrouded that it probably isn't wise to count on business more than a couple of years out.

    It's going to be another interesting year, friends. Stay tuned.
  18. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Does Whynot's post mean anything?

    Our opinion was asked and responses were given. No one is flexing anything.

    Would you drop the suplier or not?

  19. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Make sense? Whyofcoursenot.
  20. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    In a heartbeat. I think...maybe.

    I have a vendor who does custom framing. I'm sure many of us do. The difference is that they aren't looking to expand or go aggressively after my customers. They certainly aren't looking at opening multiple shops.
  21. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    I hate to admit it but I think Cornel's comments made sense to me. We are at this time flexing our muscle to an imageinary competitor ,since we ( at least most of us) don't really know who or if there is a real Supplier/Suppliers who are considering becomeing our retail competitors.

    And until Peter or someone else injects some real names that is all we are doing IMHO.

    I have seen many framers say they would drop a supplier in a heart beat under those conditions and after some time they are doing business as usual.In fact I once repeated that very sentiment from my LJ rep who turned down a deal in an effort to not alienate the small shops only to have another vendor take it and everyone complained and then kept doing business with the deal maker. It was posted in a comment about "No Customer loyalty"

    Does anyone remeber it? Around here most have already forgotten it.And the LJ rep says he wishes he could have a second chance ,he take it in a heart beat. Maybe that is what Peter is pointing to?

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Welcome to the real world!~

    Little story!~ There is a Wholesale/Importer Craft supplier in Ohio!~ Along time ago the started opening up Retail stores under another name!~ Neglecting to tell all their wholesale customers that they were doing it!~ They grew & grew to now about 20+ stores. Meanwhile they wooed caressed small independent craft store to the point of becoming there sole source wholesaler!~ Next thing you knew they would open a new store. Lets think now did they have to do any marketing? Did they have to put any thought into the store merchandise mix? No not really they knew all of that by what their wholesale customers were buying from them and the volume to expect from an area!~ They even had the biggest chain buying from them Micheals(LOL)!~ The part about it that shows strnght is they did not come in and sell at retail they opened retail stores and sold fro 40%_50% off the retail prices. It did not take long to exstingish their competition/customers. They have expanded out of Ohio into PA.
    Buy the way did I mention they also do framing!~ 40%-50% off everyday!~
    Get ready a Craft industry trade magazine even wrote an article about how good this supplier was!~ LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO LMFAO
    Comeing to a city near you!~LOL

    Welcome to the real world!~ It pays to ask your supplier who they sell to and if they do bid or contract work that might really be your competion!They may not be doing it to you but do they do it where they are located and if so remember you may be helping the start of more or no less than hurting the independent framers where they are located!~ If you don't ask the answer is always no!~

    Peter Do'nt Know why you threw this out but one thing That So Many Businesses lack today can be summed up in one word :


    Main Entry: in·teg·ri·ty
    Pronunciation: in-'te-gr&-tE
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
    Date: 14th century
    1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
    2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
    3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
    synonym see HONESTY

    By the way this has all been written by a fiction writter at heart!~ The names have been ommitted to protect me!~
  23. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Grumbler in Training


    Please forgive my ignorance but this thread is obtuse enough without your proclaiming LMFAO or LMAOF and not letting on in the slightest as to what you're on about.

    What do they stand for?

  24. Rogatory

    Rogatory SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

  25. Sammy

    Sammy True Grumbler

    Hmmm something is happening out there and it is from one company, this topic has been coming up a few time since x-mas, and it started by a new grumbler asking about our opion of opening a large group of stores, and then the post that Betty mentioned came up on The Grumble. I would say it is all from the same person/company. I would never buy from a supplier or even buy from the supplier who's supplier is competing with the retailers.They are only using the retaler to gain strength to continue compete with use, and when the time is right they will take over all the market shares, and the only person use retailer can blame will be ourselves because we allowed them to get so strong.
  26. CharlesL

    CharlesL PFG, Picture Framing God

    I know I'm as dumb as a stump, but I read all the stuff on Parrie's web site. He comes across as more of a teacher/counselor/consultant than a "Yes ma'am! We'll have this ready by the middle of next week" - pitcher framer on his site.

    If a supplier DID start opening shops in all 50 states, I'd do my best to inform the other framers of his unfair advantage. And, at the same time, explain how they, the customers are getting ripped of even though the price is lower. Then I'd probably go drown him...
  27. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had a look at Parrie's site also…..I’m still trying to figure out what his international dimension is…….then again I suppose it sounds good……..international in the mind of most reputable business people I know means that you operate a business on a number of continents ……..I cannot find any evidence other than his claim on his web site that he operates anywhere other than the US…….I would not consider given a few classes around the world would qualify anyone to claim they are an international business….

    I find it astonishing that anyone would question Peter’s motivations as a business person and manager of a business, he is perfectly right to use any reasonable methods to explore the possibilities of a new business venture that may impact on his business…………..and if that includes trowen out a line to see what it catches more power to his elbow…..

    I have just dumped the main suppliers (now replaced by a much more honorable supplier) for my new business…..they clamed they only sold through their agents/distributors and then went and opened there own web shop…….they tried to spin it that the web shop was not in conflict with there existing sales channel…….I think they had the idea that there existing customers were a bit stupid and would not notice……..
  28. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I hope I'm wrong. I probably am.

    But I look at all the small family dairy farms in Wisconsin (and other states) and think, "Oops, there goes another one."

    In my lifetime, I expect to see ALL the farms consolidated into one big corporate farm. Ironically, it'll probably be called Microfarm. They'll be able to charge whatever they want for milk, which will have names like Milk XP v2.0897.

    I'm sure this has nothing at all to do with frame shops, though.
  29. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey, what if I turn the table on you and say that everyone has to do what he has to do in order to survive and, God willing, prosper from expanding his business. Opportunities may show up in any possible direction, including going retail or wholesale, west or east, vertically or horizontally.
    Ultimately, being a wholesaler is not such a big deal and, depending on what type of business you are in, running a wholesale operation may prove to be less expensive and demanding than retail.
    If so, I can see some smart framers getting involved with small manufacturers overseas and become their distributors. Remember that guy from Philippines who almost pulled you by your sleeves? Say that one of you took up on the challenge of becoming Mr. Exotic Hardwood Molding and Ready-made Frames & Blah-Blah Custom Framer which, if you asked me, is only smart on his part.
    Now what? Is Larson Juhle or Roma going to stop doing business with that guy because of his inference with their wholesale turf? Who's chaining you to a rather modest and volatile existence as a framer and a framer only? Sorry, but you react as if you struck a deal of noncompetition with your suppliers, you don't go into wholesale and they don't go retail, and that's simply not true.
    Well, now I've done it. I see worms crawling off the can. ;)
  30. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I agree with you, Cornel. In our free (or still almost free) market, business owners are free to pursue profit dollars in any direction they choose.

    Framing suppliers and retailers are not married to one another. We are simply doing business. Should a supplier be offended when we buy his products from multiple sources? Certainly not. The supplier earns those orders by finding a competitive advantage.

    The idea that a supplier should not compete with its customers may be taken to ridiculous extremes. For example, if a framing retailer expected his supplier to decline orders from nearby frame shops with which he competes, that would be ridiculous, would it not?

    In any case, actions have consequences. If a business changes in a way that offends customers, then offended customers buy less. But if the changes attract more profitable business from another class of customers, then the business grows.

    We buy from suppliers we like, and we avoid suppliers we dislike, for whatever reasons we consider important.

    That's really all there is to it, and it is good for all.
  31. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Dermot, "International" can mean as little as having a retail outlet in San Diego, CA and a backroom workshop in Tijuna, Mexico...30 miles away.

    Or in your case, doing business in Irland, Mann, and Scotland.... makes you a Multi-National....

    As to the senerio that Cornell brings up, I remember when Peter LaMarsh was a framer who went on vacation to Hong Kong and it changed him and the industry forever.
    Up until then, most of the nicer mouldings were rectiliniar versions of Rococco, and Regency and a bit of Beau Arts all made in Italy, with a little from Spain and France.

    The "LOW" end, was coming up out of Mexico in the back of a couple of `1962 Sedan de Villes with no back seat and passanger seat....

    And then now that I think about it: Jay Goltz or Marc Blustone was catching some kind of **** last year for doing a little China moulding wholesaling....
  32. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I was referring to reputable business who trade internationally……..not some ego trip that some business owner may be on……..

    My business already does some business in Scotland, UK and believe it or not the USA……I have no idea where Mann is perhaps you could enlighten me……….would I consider that I’m an multi-national business not on your life……I have more respect for myself and more importantly for the international business community…….

    I have over 30 years experience of buying and selling internationally and I think at this stage in my career I can understand the difference between a true international business and an opportunity that may present a little business which is outside my businesses natural area of operation……..

    Then again some business people have such a limited understanding of international trade that when they voice an opinion on this area of business they generally spout a load of bull s*it……and their ego can take them on to a business plain that makes them look stupid to those who know better……I glad I don’t have to relay on you for any business advice…..
  33. Peter Ackerman

    Peter Ackerman CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    perhaps Baer is speaking of Isle of Man
  34. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God


    Carry on.
  35. Peter Ackerman

    Peter Ackerman CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Although I am very sure of my sources at this time I am unwilling to give up the information. I will let you know who owns this new venture as soon as I have verified it.
    In the meantime go to http://www.framingus.com

    Of course if the owners would care to step forward before I have chance I am sure it would be appreciated
  36. kenmccann

    kenmccann True Grumbler

    Located inside your neighborhood Wallmart store. Dont worry about this if you can custom design a 16 x 20 frame with choice of mouldings, mat and glass for $55. Ken
  37. stshof

    stshof SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Madison, AL?!!! Oh, my!!! Nevada and Indiana, too!! This isn't going to be a little operation, is it? :( This is scary - please say something encouraging!!! [​IMG]
  38. Mecianne

    Mecianne SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    [​IMG] I am pi$$ed. [​IMG] We are getting a huge Walmart---not just a regular Supercenter, but one of the largest yet. The mayor made the announcement at the last Chamber luncheon & received no expected applause or cheers. Our city is growing by leaps & bounds as far a subdivisions & people moving here goes, but our small business community struggles so. Who the he11 made this commerce move, 'cause I'd sure like to knock them upside the head. How many dollar stores & discount stores do you need in an area? We already have a Wal-mart a few miles from here in our neighboring city.

    And now this glorious news. I hate Wal-mart...and for the record...I am not one of those people who says this and then shops there. I do NOT shop at Wal-Mart. :mad:

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Did I do that right?~

    Okay everyone who is upset just pick three mouldings, 10 mat colors and advertise: 16x20 custome frame $55.00 exclusive selection of moulding & mats while supply lasts!~
  40. Gumbogirl

    Gumbogirl Guest

    I don't know what is more surprising and out of place - Dermot sniping like someone pee'd in his Lucky Charms this morning, or the SuperWallyWorld Frames within the store, in less than a week!
  41. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    I don't think the intent of this thread was to "out" Walmart frameshops. We have discussed Walmart adding framing more than once, so, it is no surprise. The part that I think will **** us off is who is going to be owning and managing the shops within Walmart's doors......it will be interesting to see who it is........

    The Walmart angle is kind of funny, their targets will not be us but they will be gunning for Michael's and Aaron Bros. and Joann's. They will come after us once the big boys cave. I don't see the customer Walmart attracts being our customers. I can't imagine people bringing fine art and treasured posessions into that chaotic environment. It truly will have to be very limited choices to keep the prices low. Sure, Walmart has managed to wipe out other industries but framing is a lot more personal than buying paper clips or toilet paper......

    So, now who the flip is going to own the stores and sell the products........
  42. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Theyre building a new super Wallyworld on our street too. Just broke ground.
  43. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Walmart is continuously experimenting with business services. In some places they tried selling used cars. They're so big that 50 frame shops could easily be considered an experiment.

    Walmart is also known for crushing and bankrupting their vendors.

  44. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    They need to fire the person that came up with the name.

    No, on second thought give him a promotion. [​IMG]
  45. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thanks Peter, I was truly getting afraid that I was the only one who knew about the greatest and oldest TT motorcycle races in the world.... :D and well as tailless cats and very horny goats. [​IMG]

    GG: Only the Wallyworld Frames shops are suprising... oh, wait a minute.... they tried it with LJ in Southern Cal back in the early 90s... :eek:

    Hmmmmm oh who could it be now....? We're waiting Peter.

    Let's see..... offering METAL, fine woods, and MAT board..... hmmmmm :confused: [​IMG]
  46. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh Bear……your discussing the Isle of Man……it’s a pity you did not describe this beautifully Island correctly the first time.

    As I said people who have a poor understanding of the international community can be very disrespectful without even realising they are behaving in such a manner……

    Just to clarify it is “Isle of Man”………I have never heard it described by anyone but you as “Mann”……

    [​IMG] :rolleyes:
  47. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Oh no Mecianne!!! Another area where we agree!?!?! I haven't been in a WalMart in over 8 months, (and that time it was to get a poster replacement for a customer.) Beware, I think your arms are starting to grow long enough to reach around a tree and give it a good hug!

    Seriously WlaMart getting into framing is scarey to me as well. The way they treat their suppliers will knock the wind out of any frame distributor that works with them (be careful Peter!) The customer will suffer in the long run, and we will "feel the pain" in the short term as they will definitely undercut any and all that are in their areas!
  48. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Something tells me he is staying clear of that danger.
  49. CharlesL

    CharlesL PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jay, I understand your (sigh) post, I think. If I do, in fact understand it correctly, kudos to Baer for refusing to rise to the 'bait'. I am surprised, though, that he didn't mention the ISDT (trials riding event) that was held there in '65, '71 and '75.
  50. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Perhaps Bear realised he had made a big enough as* of himself and for once he decided not to compound his behaviour …….

    I’m not sure what Jay means by his “sigh”…….but if my instincts are right I shudder…….in this part of the world we do not condone…..the unacceptable…..but then again I do know some people who are happy enough to accept the unacceptable…..I will not condone the unacceptable….such as disrespect to any nation/country or sector of society…..

    Bear has behaved in an unacceptable manner on this thread about another country and on other occasions about sectors of society …….I will openly admit I find him somewhat strange and on occasions dangerous in the way he expresses himself…….perhaps Charles you find dangerous and unacceptable behaviour OK……I do not…….nor will I ever lower myself to accept it…..……

    Charles you know from personal experiences with some of the stuff you tried to pull on me ( I still shudder from the last unacceptable email you sent me) that I will not accept the unacceptable so perhaps you should butt out of this one…….you are not been helping in anyway…….

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