Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by John Ranes II CPF GCF, Aug 4, 2009.
wow...love the moveable walls! I still haven't dealt with mine due to lack of overall floor space. I would love a space like yours!
Wow, John, no kidding you needed to move! How the heck did you get all that inventory into your current place and still have room to move!
Love this fly-on-the-wall stage by stage stuff - fabulous premises.
So - where's the dart board going?
A week from Friday and we open!
Sherry, Thanks for your nice comments - our door is always open! Where will you be visiting in Wisconsin? If you need recommendations on sites or other framers to visit, just drop me a PM or Email before next August.
I have an Electronic and Bristle board in the basement and currently play on a Darts League on Thursday nights - Cricket this year, so probably don't nee another in the back room, although this is a good idea John.
Anne... this was getting to be an issue! We were pretty creative up until this past year and we were honestly dreading the bi-annual fire inspectors poking their heads in for a check - You're looking at the 1,920 sq/ft storage area in that one photo - we're adding two more storage cabinets and moulding bins this week into this room.
Update - Electronic Signage and Vinyl Window Lettering went up this morning - looks fantastic and I'll post images at the end of the week.
I had built a 64 inch x 68 inch by 8 ft tall triagular island for metal frame kits years ago. I calculated that it would "just" fit into the double (2x36inch) doorway of the front entrance of the new location. I didn't find out until today, that I couldn't get it out of my existing store!
We ended up getting a Sawzall Reciprocating saw and cutting it into two pieces and rebuilding it this afternoon inside the new location! It's actually as good as new.
(I wonder how many others have had to do this type of surgery to salvage a key fixture?)
For our new location, I bought four carpeted display tables from a Linens N Thing chain that was closing. Each table was 4-foot square, covered in low loop carpet, and adjustable.
I looked at these and said "wow! those would make awesome fitting tables! To fit the space though, I needed to make the table closed to 3x3. So I ripped off two sides from the top and bottom pieces, braced it all together, and have the most fantastic table to work with in the back. A big 7-foot soft island to work around!
I think its almost time to run up to Prager Portworks for John now.
You may have already covered this, and I missed it but:
1. Are you doing any special promotion for customers to make sure they know you have moved?
2. Is the old landlord willing to have signage about your new location up for a few months?
"Sherry, Thanks for your nice comments - our door is always open! Where will you be visiting in Wisconsin? If you need recommendations on sites or other framers to visit, just drop me a PM or Email before next August."
I sure appreciate that John!! I'm not sure where in Wisconsin this group of "girls" will be taking me to. They've been trying to get me there for years. The only place I requested to see was Appleton and your store specifically (many of them visited your store a couple of years ago). It's a long story, but this group of women live all around Wisconsin and go way back - one of them moved from there to my town and we were both nurses at the same hospital for years - she spends a month in Wisconsin every August/September, so I'm going to take a week and tag along! I'll give you a 'heads up' as it gets closer.
In the meantime, HAPPY MOVING and HUGE SUCCESS!!
Marketing the move...
Go back to page 9 - Post #84 of this thread where you'll see that I illustrated both sides of a postcard that we mailed to 3,500 folks on our Master Mailing List about 5 weeks ago. It included an incentive to visit our current location as well as the new building, which by the way, is only 1 long block East of our current location.
In addition, we've followed this up with another oversized postcard mailing that was sent out yesterday... (illustrated below)
I doubt if we'll have or need any signage at the old location.
Met with our "old" landlord this evening who came over to our new location for a tour, and to confirm that a new tennant will be moving into our exisiting location. (We have a very good relationship.)
We also met with the new tennant and will be helping her out by vacating our location a month early and will be asking her to help us navigate any lost souls to our new location. I'm thinking about printing up a small flyer for her and her staff to give to folks who "get lost"
I REALLY love this thread !
I am both Excited and Inspired watching the developement progress and almost feel like I'm there helping out (and it would be great to be). You are doing a tremendous job opc:
Thankyou, Goodluck and Congratulations John (& Sarah)!
John, it is looking fantastic! You should apply to the Decor contest next year. There is some sort of category for shop design. I know, like you need another award!
I am SO impressed! Jeff is too.
Thanks for regularly posting your progress in such an organized manner during such a busy time - much appreciated.
Progress Report - Week 8
We're less than a week from the Grand Opening - 5 days of fine tuning remaining! We've still got the dry mount press and the CMC to bring over, but otherwise we spent Saturday afternoon with 8 friends moving tons of large and heavy items over to the new store - A big thank you to these folks for volunteering their free time.
On Friday night at 7pm, we closed our doors for the last time to customers (a bit of a emotional feeling as this building had been our home since September 1978).
Candy Wiater (shown above), our manager and employee of 18 years is shown arranging displays of gifts in the new building, while Sarah Ranes is hanging artwork (below).
Sarah insisted on covering the windows with brown Kraft paper to add to the suspense for the Grand Opening on this coming Friday!
Our signage arrived early Monday morning - here the Appleton Sign Company folks are installing our lighted channel lettered sign (2 raceways with 24 inch high lettering). We selected white lettering with black cap and edging.
Another Appleton Sign employee is installing our white vinyl window lettering just outside the workshop windows.
The verbiage Framing - Gifts - Gallery - Home Decor.... repeats along all 10 window panels. We explored lots of different colors, layouts and design for this, but settled for a simple, white script. We felt that it stood out and was legible (KISS).
On Saturday, we moved over all 17 Space Saver columns of wood corner samples and got these mounted. Stretch film was wrapped around each turnstyle to keep them intact until placed back into position. Above, Scott Wiater is shown creatively unwrapping three turnstyles simultaneously!
In the background, you can see a fourth unit that is still empty and will hold 5 additional turnstyles. You can also see the three turnstyles that hold our Nielsen metal corner samples.
Above, Jerry Heinz of J&J Electronics is connecting network wiring for our POS computers. We'll have three computers and monitors at the design counter sharing one receipt printer and cash drawer.
On Monday 9/28/09 the communications links are setup, so hopefully we'll have functional Phones, IT and a Security system.
Talk to everyone soon...
Thanks John for the updates! Truly an inspiration to a lot of us during a tough economic time. It's refreshing to see your success! :thumbsup:
From my own fairly recent move, I don't know how you have the time to keep us updated but am glad you found it.
The place looks great and wish you a ton of luck on probably the busiest week you will ever have.
(I do think it would have looked better with the Bob's Big Boy statue but the lettering will have to do.)
You and your "team" certainly had FANTASTIC 'vision' when in the early stages of this plan. You are using this space to its full advantage! Superbly done!!
Now, I just have to ask:
HOW MANY GRUMBLER'S HAVE APPLIED FOR A JOB????
What a wonderful place to work!!
Like the idea of using the cling wrap to keep the frame samples in place. Did he manage to pull all 3 pieces off without knocking off any samples?
where did you get the space savers? the wall looks awesome! are they quad or triangle?
Triangle. Evald Moulding in Watertown, WI sells them. I have one 5 spinner unit in my shop. Don't have room for more than that but wish I did. I could definitely use more display space.
OUTSTANDING! Nice job John!
Wish they sold these in the UK! - We haven't enough space for all our samples. Of course we are probably in the minority in the UK as we have just moved to offering 95% of our stock - over 1000 profiles as CHOP, most framers work by length over here.
Wow - to think that everyone in every picture is smiling. With all of the work they put in, I'm amazed they are still standing, let alone smiling.
Let us know what your first new order is!
You won't believe this, but Sarah took in an order yesterday, Monday even though we are closed.
We're closed at the old location, and we're setting up displays and moving things into the front and back doors of the new location. Sure enough a lady walks in the front door of the new location and INSISTS that Sarah take her order, despite her explaining that we are moving and have not set up to accept any business at this time.
$64 - two metal frames, 7x9 probably assembled in the 1960's, both need a new 1 inch wide mat and one needs glass. "But you don't understand, I need these for a wedding on Friday" spouts this lady. :shrug:
P.S. The front door is now kept locked per orders of the BOSS, Sarah until we open on Friday morning!
John, When I moved i was at the old shop, design counter was gone and so was most of the store other than some of the sample wall.
A woman comes in and holds up her poster and says "where can I put this down?" I told her we will be closed for 2 weeks and where the new shop will be. "But can't you do this first?" was her reply. She also wanted it done cheap and told me she had it for months and is giving it for a gift.
The only time I turned down a customer and of course she went into cranky mode, she never has come into the new place.
Of course their smiling Russ! It's hard not to smile when your around John and Sarah!
Progress Report - Week 9
We did it -- We got enough of the project completed and enough of the old store moved over to open our doors on Friday morning, 2 October as planned. We had about 40 some folks present for the Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 in the morning, and the traffic kept steady until about 120-140 folks attended our Reception that evening from 4-7pm! It was overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time - (pictures of the evening to follow later).
Although we didn't get everything completed, we elected to not ask our volunteers to move the 550 lb mat storage racks, so they will be handled by professional movers on Monday.
Here's the front of the building as we completed the signage this past week - We elected to skip the "Big Boy" figure in the end and went for traditional signage.
Closeup of the building front and the Channel letters - we elected to minimize the "stickers" on the new shop front window and have applied our PPFA annual membership decal along with one for Barrier Security.
A week ago we had the illuminated side parking sign repainted black to match the graphics applied. This sign faces the parking within our neighboring strip mall.
Walking from the front entrance takes you up the tiled walkway to the design area - three design tables attached to each other with lower sections which house our PC's and mat corner samples.
Here you can see where we added the fourth section of Space Savers by Evald Moulding, bringing the total to 22 column turnstyles, which will display approximately 2,200 frame samples. Three additional Space Savers can be seen at the end which display our Nielsen metal corners.
Here you can see the three design tables. We currently have one cash drawer shared by all three POS computers along with one credit card terminal. I can see that we may have to bite the bullet and have a third cash drawer added during Christmas. (We already have another within our main checkout island)
Shown above is our newly designed main checkout island - already we can see the benefits of having this from our customer's reaction during just two days of business. From this angle, you are viewing two tall display cubes at the corner to increase display area.
This bird's eye view of the checkout island shows how it incorporates jewelry display area, a gift wrap area and how it fits into the floor plan of our framing areas and gift displays.
A gift wrapping area was created to the rear side of this central checkout island.
Here you can see how the glass windows of the island showcase one of our gift lines: Trollbeads from Denmark.
Looks great John. I think passing on the Big Boy is a mistake but I can accept your decision. You know you are a serious retailer with the Christmas decorations/merchandise out already.
Progress Report - Week 9 Continued
Baby gifts are displayed in this corner - one of the first displays to be assembled. You'll note a sock monkey in the picture along with Artaissance images on canvas on the left wall.
This first walkway to the right as you come through the entrance displays German nutcrackers (Ulbricht Naturals] as well as Xela infusers and other home decor merchandise.
Another area displays Cucina soaps and lotions - in the background you can see our photoframe island display along with readymades in the far distance on the slatwall.
The Autumn colors are enhanced by one of our first trees decorated for the Holiday season with Inge-glas fruit & vegetable ornaments.
Thanksgiving often gets "squeezed" out of the celebrations between Halloween and Christmas - but we love to put out Autumn displays like this one with the Pilgrim and Mrs Pilgrim nutcrackers.
Sarah's office nearly decorated - The pictures appear slightly more "orange" than in reality. Apologies for the stack of gifts from customers stacked to the right including a 12pak of Sierra Nevada! :thumbsup:
The Framing workshop room is near completion but not totally setup yet. We got both F-3000's mounted and the Valiani CMC is functional, but faming vises have yet to be installed. You can see the edge of the SEAL press in the foreground right.
These are all the flowers and plants received from friends, customers and businesses in honor the Grand Opening - thanks to all - it was a great evening.
For those that have done this before, you know that it still isn't totally over but continues with bits and pieces over the next few weeks. I'm glad that the majority is behind us as we can now get down to work.
I hope that we all have a wonderful fourth quarter and hope that you all enjoyed this story.
John & Sarah
Thank you. Words can't convey what you have done. The pictures help tell your story.
The next time I'm in Appleton, I will definitely :beer:stop by.
WOW.... Love the new digs...
Congratulations on the successful move. The new location looks spectacular. It represents a courageous and optimistic vision for the future of your business, despite the current economic conditions.
May you and Sarah and your staff have all the success you so richly deserve.
Thanks for the documentation of the process of moving and putting together the new space. It will be of immense help to others here who may go through a similar experience in the future. It's been fun watching the place come together.
P.S. Maybe you can add the BigBoy later.
P.P.S. Do you have any close-ups of those pillows shown in the soaps-and-lotions photo? They look nice.
Never apologize for Sierra Nevada. You can apologize for running out of Sierra Nevada, however.
The store looks great!
Thank you so much for sharing--
I'm especially envious of your gift wrap station....
WOW! How sharp is that. Love the office. Oh how I would love to have an office! Congrats!
What is your TOTAL square footage now - and how much of that is warehouse?
What WAS your former total square footage?
These numbers might be buried in this wonderful thread.....it would take days to find them
Gotta go get another box of kleenex (or another bib) - WAY TOO much drooling going on! It's just beautiful - AND WOOD? CABINETRY in your workshop! It all looks SO rich! Fabulous!
Very, very nice John!
I think most of the information you seek Sherry, is on page 1.
The place looks great John. Thank you again for sharing the story over these few months.
Thanks for that!! That's so typical of me - I never start to read a newspaper/magazine on page one either....never have! Why, you ask? Heck if I know!
Terrific new store, I hope you have great success with it. Thanks for posting as you went along.
I still think you need a Big Bronze Pig!
This is truly beautiful..and very well orchestrated.
I moved the beginning of September...into a smaller but much better and more visible location.
If anyone appreciates the time and planning you put into your shop, its me. Mine was on a much smaller scale and only moved down two retail spaces....but believe me, I felt your pain. And joy.
Even with the space I have, because its so precious...before I even rented...I measured and took down dimensions of everything I owned. I planned it out for weeks on a drawing program to make sure I could make it fit AND look nice. (Otherwise it would've been a no-go.) Right now, I can't imagine doing what you did on that scale without losing a little brain matter. But I'm in, everything looks JUST right and I'm incredibly happy with it.
I was lucky that I had zero down days. I moved my backroom equipment first and my retail section last. Every day held a sale. The one day I hung a closed sign I got three orders....with everyone saying "I know you're not open yet but....". We really loved it.
Again, its so wonderful to see everything being built and grown. I was sentimental towards my old place too..but now my only regret is not moving sooner.
(Now start killing those plants!)
The color of Sarah's office looks like the color I painted my bedroom when I was in high school. Always liked that shade.
Just great John. We send our hearty congratulations!
Here's a larger image of the display you requested...
These pillows and the matching table runners just above are from Sara Trading Company They sell table linens, beddings, pillows, crochet and lace doilies and Christmas accesories. We have seen them at the Atlanta and Chicago gift markets. They also exhibit in New York, Dallas, Kansas City and will be in High Point, NC from the 17-22 October.
The old location still has our sign (lighted of course), some matboard and glass still to be moved over. One supply cabinet remains along with just so many odds and ends. Although "vaccated" it still has items laying about. We've made a couple of trips each day for the past week and it never seems to end. I guess you simply accumulate a lot of XXXX in that time - Yes, much has been tossed as well!
To your point, indeed it is sentimental, when you allow yourself to get nolstalgic over material things that you built or planned but moving onward and upward is always postive too. When I slide out the face of our sign as the new tennants move in at the end of October, I'm sure I'll be a little sentimental.
Sarah and I had fun designing that checkout island, and I too am very pleased how the finished design worked out especially that back gift wrap area.
Russ, Please do stop in if you are anywhere nearby...and this invitation is open to all Grumblers as well. Our doors are always open.
Today completes our first week in the new location and we're just starting to get acquainted with this buidling as "home"...it's going to take awile. Customer traffic and sales have been excellent, and the bold move has also generated some great press.
We had to cut apart the mat racks and customer pickup bins into "manageable" 550 lb sections - 4 men and 2 trucks did the moving, 3 hours at $200/hr and worth every penny. Some metal mending plates and the units were reassembled in the new location and are just like new. I'll post some pictures later to show these last large items in location in the framing workshop area.
You don't seem to have a gallery area and little of framed art for sale. I notice a print bin with a few items in it. You don't have art supplies or displays of interest to artists. I often find frame shops with a theme of things they frame - needle art, posters, canvas prints, photography, originals, and so on whereas you don't seem to. Is your shop positioned in any way? What is the main framing interest of your clientel?
I see you have the same blue and gold on Kraft wrapping paper that we have. Where are you getting the best deal these days? I need to add another pattern for the holidays. Thanks.
How is your Keep Calm poster selling? We are selling them in all colors and are buying direct from the UK. One seller is a lot less than the other. PM me for details if needed.
You guys sell those Keep Calm Posters?
I just got a second one in to frame and they said they got them in the UK.
No offense, but I didn't get it. So, they sell?
BTW John, I'm jealous, and that's all I'm going to say! :shutup:
Yes we do. http://www.framersworkshop.com/FineArtPrints/keepcalmandcarryon/index.html
One week after Opening the doors...
We're now into our second week after opening the new location, and I am just finishing up moving over the "leftovers" remaining at our old location - :shrug: Two small file cabinets remain for today's run along with some boxes of hardware and tools. I had the nostalgic job of taking a razor blade to all the window decals.
It takes awhile for everything to find a home in the new location, and displays are still roughed together.
It's still taking shape and although not much artwork was hung in the first week, but it's coming together, as we learn the layout of our new home. You'll find that we don't have a defined "gallery" area, but mix our framed artwork into our displays of home decor and gifts, which can relate to the environment where the buyers will be hanging it when they get home.
Actually we have more than a single print bin with a few items in it - we have about seven print browsers full of images within the retail area - we blend them in with other products and they are in three different locations on the floor. One of the main reasons for our expansion of space was so that we could keep all of this product out on the floor even during the Christmas season when trees full of ornaments predominate the scene!
These are all Selwyn's print browsers from the UK - Excellent! They are extremely durable and attractive.
No...we don't sell art supplies which has been the niche of two other framers/galleries in the area - rather than have the exact same business model, we focused ours on our custom framing while adding home decor and gifts. We're trying to attrract customers, rather than artists.
Like many custom framers we really frame a gamut of things and do see a large amount of original art, photography, canvas and needleart as well as sports collectibles and jerseys. I would answer your question by responding that the main framing interest of our clientel is great framing...regardless.
We will have to revisit this, and I do like your online presentation of the Keep Calm poster - We sold the first batch that we got from the UK and haven't restocked. With our Anglo roots and this past year's economic environment - we still love the message! Indeed I will PM you.
Thanks for the detailed reply and enjoyed the additional pictures.
Looking at the pictures of the Space Savers which you indicate you covered with fabric - do you have a strip of some sort screwed onto one corner of the triangle column to cover the fabric join? I'm looking at the left side of the 5th picture down on page 13.
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