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What can the PPFA do?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Paul Cascio said on another thread, “I still feel as strongly today that co-op advertising is one of the things the independent framing industry needs to help us compete more effectively against the AOS chain stores. However, unless a major supplier, manufacturer, the PPFA, and/or the trade press steps forward to play a central role, it probably won't happen.......I truly hope that our industry somehow learns to work together more effectively to further its success in the future.”

What do you think the PPFA can and should be doing to help members?

What can the the PPFA be doing that they are not doing to make our industry stronger?

Any thoughts and ideas???

I don’t want to be the Grumble police, but please don’t use this thread to bash the PPFA. Start your own thread ;-)
Constructive ideas only - please and thank you.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
PPFA might be doing this already, but I'm not sure to what extent. Also I'm lucky that I have never needed this help. Catastrophe assistance might be helpful to those who have been hit by a storm or fire or other terrible force. Perhaps PPFA might have connections to important people working for our suppliers who might be able to donate used equipment or help in some other way.

On a more personal level, I will never forget the kindness of Bill and Kathleen Carley, our Delaware Valley PPFA chapter president back in the late '80's who helped me join frames when my brother-in-law had a pretty serious emergency surgery. This happened along time ago, and since then I learned how to join frames, but without the Carley's kindness I wouldn't have gotten through that tough time.

I think that it is important that PPFA members know that there is somebody there who might be able to help out in an emergency. We shouldn't think that we are in it alone.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Good point Susan.

There's no doubt in my mind that if I needed help with a serious problem, that many members of my chapter would step up. I do feel that I get my moneys worth from my PPFA membership but always want more!

Just thinking last night, with all the great business minds that we have on this forum, perhaps someone would have an idea that an organization like the PPFA would have the means to implement.

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

This question has been asked almost perenially, the answer is that my advertizing needs don't match yours. Bob Carter has two stores, does that make him a "Multi" or a BB? So a national is hard just from that point.

Now look at the demographics... PaulSF maybe appealing to a 20/30something crowd more than out 50/60something crowd or your 30-50somethings.... so does the national ads go 'on-line' in Ezines, Dwell magazine or Martha? And what about the indies who are targeting more of the business person... they may want ads in the WSJ or Inc mag.

And lets not get me started on TV.... and in certain markets that stands for Transvestites. :D

But I think a better question is a clear half page of all the amazing tools that this PPFA has put together in the few short years that they have been at the helm.
Starting from ground zero, and knowing NOTHING about what we do, they have educated themselves and applied the marketing and business structures to the tools that are proven in other similar retailing professions. They have built a strong structural organization out of one that was corrupt, crumbling, and all but dead. There isn't a single person in that office that my hat isn't off to. And that is more praise then my dog gives me.

Bob Carter, if you are listening.... here is my idea for a next class for you: "The Tools that PPFA provides or creates access to for your success". And I would like down front, on the right thankyouverymuch. :D


In Corner
I was a member for ONE year (several years ago) and found absolutely NO benefits in being a member. (Any secrets today that i don't know of?)


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Ask not what the PPFA can do for you. Ask what you can do for the PPFA.


Rob Markoff

PFG, Picture Framing God
I'll second Baer's suggestion for a class touting how to use the benfits that are already in place. There are many including a digital ad maker, postcard builder, and a prepackaged slide show.

I tried to have a class last year re: postcard builder, which in my opinion is one of the best tools we have. The OWNER of the company taught the class, but alas, it was not what I hoped for, more of an overview of the company and not a, "Here's how to maximize the benefit of this great tool."

I have led the tours of the trade show for several years. It is still my dream that we would walk up to a booth showing digital photo frames and they would have several picture framer's "brag books" running to show a great use of the technology, but I have been unable to convince any of the vendors that this idea has value.

Ditto some of the advertising vehicles at the show. I am taking framers to show them some cool "non framing related" things that they can take from the show to benefit their business and I want some of them to show banners or other ad vehicles (lenticular printing that allows for three images to be seen on a single plane) with ads from FRAMERS or even framing vendors (Larson Juhl or Roma or NB ad) so the concept is easier to comprehend, but it is a hard bridge to cross.

And I could not agree more that the staff we have in place is pro-active and what's more-accessible to anyone who has an idea, suggestion, compliment or complaint.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Had you been to Atlanta and sat in on the PPFA Summit "Vision of the Future" on Sunday Morn, you could have listened to Dennis Conforto and some know it all from Az talk for about an hour on our plans

Over 60 Industry leaders representing virtually the "Who's Who" were there and the crowd was more than enthusiastic. It is beyond the concept stage and next month we will talking to editors of the 25 largest newspaper markets to take this plan to the next step

I am so cautious about discussing the details because, frankly, I am not much interested in defending our work against the inevitable sniping that we are all so adept

There were several Grumblers in attendance that may wish to elaborate, but this program easily has the ability to increase awareness by double. Conservative estimates (by me) could reflect in an additional $1 Billion increase for Independent Framers

Now, understand, that this plan is the genius of Dennis. But, I bought into it completely after a pretty contentious discussion between adults. My part was to do the due diligence and Market Research for your trade association

I am not being coy, but it is a tad comprehensive and might be better suited for discussion on the PPFA.CoM site

Bottom line: Your trade assn has delivered an executable product so comprehensive and dramatic


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Had you been to Atlanta and sat in on the PPFA Summit "Vision of the Future" on Sunday Morn, you could have listened to Dennis Conforto and some know it all from Az talk for about an hour on our plans

Bottom line: Your trade assn has delivered an executable product so comprehensive and dramatic
Sounds promising. When do we find out more?

I would have loved to be in Atlanta, but have a sick daughter who is priority number one right now.


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
These kind of organizations are good for not much. I used to belong to the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) because I started riding bikes, and wanted to belong to the "cool people." That was a good lesson on not to join anything stupid like that. In my 8 years as a picture framer nobody ever once asked me about not having the PPFA sticker on my door.
As far as I am concerned thats the only thing that you really get out of the $50 membership. Everything listed under the PPFA website's Member Services is available right here in this forum for free, plus more.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...I am so cautious about discussing the details because, frankly, I am not much interested in defending our work against the inevitable sniping that we are all so adept...
You are right, Bob. This new project is going to benefit PPFA members, and it will not get much support here on The G. It would be better to launch it on the new PPFA forum, Framers' Corner.


PFG, Picture Framing God
I'm in the process of changing my business insurance to Meadowbrook, throught PPFA. Much better coverage, specific to my business and industry, with agents who know my industry, and for a better premium.

That alone is worth it to me to be a PPFA member, although I'm looking forward to the new "launch" that Bob and Jim are referring to. Should be interrrresting.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Yes, Jim, and you see it didn't take long for a potshot

There really are good people at PPFA/PMA that are working hard to make it better for everyone in the industry; member or not

Jim happens to be one of them

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
When Bob says,"this program easily has the ability to increase awareness by double. Conservative estimates (by me) could reflect in an additional $1 Billion increase for Independent Framers", I too am intrigued by the prospects of this PPFA plan. Can't wait to hear the details.
:cool: Rick

Barb Pelton

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The "Vision for the Future" meeting in Atlanta is summarized in the November For Members Only. You can download a PDF file and read it at ppfa.com if you are a member.

This has HUGE potential, but only because we have the entire PMA groups involved--the custom framing industry alone is too small to pull a campaign like this off.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Barb is quite correct except that the concept doesn't require any participation and certainly many will benefit from doing absolutely nothing

And, I am certain they will gladly pat themselves on the back for being so smart and riding for free

Jerry-I mean no ill-will, but, honestly, it's not important if you re-join. As Barb points out, we framers are simply one spoke in this wheel. We don't need to justify is or talk anybody into benefiting

For those that are PPFa/Pma members, they will see value of membership

For non-members, it's no big deal

Remember, the question was "What can PPFA do". If you don't want to join, why do you care?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I think it has promise I joined over two months ago.
But have not heard anything from them about my membership Yet!~


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Oh bloody ####. Just try and keep from violating the Sherman Antitrust Act on this campaign, k?


Angry Badger
I sat in on the meeting. First comment is that it was way too short to cover all the topics that needed to be covered...barely got the tip of that iceberg.

What seems to be a common failure in comprehension of the new PPFA is its alliance with PMA. Bob calls us a spoke on the wheel...we should be so lucky. PMA is huge in comparison, and has huge resources thanks to the interest of lots of well funded corporations that have vested interest in its well being. We are riding on the coat tails of a very ambitious project that promises to positively impact the independent framers regardless of their participation. Like Barb and Bob said, the information about the program is available to PPFA members and there is perhaps a constructive conversation about the program going on on their web site.

I am a PPFA member, though certainly not a "Who's Who", a mover and shaker, nor even a cheerleader for the PPFA. I went into the meeting a skeptical small shop owner (that hasn't changed), but I did see the great value in the project, and the vision of those involved. The real beauty is that all the naysayers won't have any effect. So go ahead, snipe the PPFA, or crawl back under your rock...it doesn't matter...the train done left the station.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
"But I will need more than just, "hey it could work".

you know of anything guaranteed other than death??????

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ok, Jim/Bob, In what sub-forum on the Framer's Corner is this discussion of the new plan happening/

I have to say I am underwhelmed by the PPFA site. They used very old bulletin board software technology and it's near impossible to find or follow anything without looking at everything.

Anyway, can you point me of the discussion you mentioned? I can't find it.


Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...If it sounds like a viable plan, I'll re-join. But I will need more than just, "hey it could work".
"No, I won't help you build your ark, Noah. But I see a storm is brewing, so if it floats, save me a seat."

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yea Jerry. Quit looking for or asking about any benifits. Don't inquire about any new plans, you will be notified if and when you need to know something. That info packet will include an outline of your opinion. Infact you have already been told that everything is fine so there you have it. Just shut up and mail you check.

As far as this new idea is concerned, the suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts!

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
I don't know Jay, it could all just be smoke and mirrors.

Maybe it is a way to keep framers minds occupied while the PMA converts photo stores to 'print on demand then frame' stores.

Most of the framers will never see it coming.

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Thats a different topic and probably should be in it's own thread, but I too see the writing on the wall and have already started heading them off at the pass.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Yeah, go crawl back under our rocks. Just one of the comments in this thread that shouldn't inspire any more "sniping."

It's a highly annoying thread. I have read here less and less lately, but whever I do I seem to come across a thread in which members are saying that something should be or is being discussed behind the secret wall of the PPFA members only site. Or that there is some great information about something, here's a link... click it to see membership required. Great way for our industry's association to act.

Yaknow what.... if you want to go talk about it there GO DO IT. Why keep saying on this forum "If you want the info it's behind the magic curtain?" Are you under some kind of pressure from your new mother to keep membership figures growing or you'll be cut off at the teat?

Freakin annoying.

For the decades we've been in business the PPFA hasn't been worth joining. Don't know why it should be different this time, except that it seems that you're not running this promotion. That's good, since my suppliers are not likely to start adding charges onto my invoices and the PPFA probably isn't going to try again to get our customers to contact them so they can be sent to the proper frameshops. But since previous attempts seemed to help the PPFA more than anyone else and you guys seem to be very excited about it I'm still very nervous.

I do hope with the PMA leading the charge you guys have a great promotion. It's unclear who would benefit because some of you say it benefits all and some say it benefits members so others won't support it. That second part is the part that has me nervous.

So, I'm not really surprised that I'm not the only one "sniping." The posts are really, really annoying and elitist. I guess I'll just wait to see what unfolds. Although, if I read between the lines here, I think it may have been hinted that I could go and sign up for the PPFA and then know what's going on. That might have been mentioned.

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
We framers have jumped into wide format printing. And photo restoration. And many other areas

Does anybody want to tell us we do not have the right to expand our businesses in whatever way we wish?

Should we be able to tell indie photo retailers they can not enter framing?

At least, if in our assn, we have reasonable expectations that they will at least be aware of proper methods

Johnny-No reason to be annoyed.

The thread was about what can PPFA do to help. If not a member, why do you care? A lot of PPFA members have put a lot of time and effort into this, PMA has put lot of money into. Why shouldn't it be designed for those members? What is so annoying about it?

Truth is, the program will help, potentially, everyone

But, rest assured that there will those that did nothing before, nothing during and then complain about how a bad a plan it was. Pretty much the way life is


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Chris Paschke, Designs Ink

I love Dave's response "Ask not...", which really says it all.

I have been a very active member of PPFA since the mid 1970s when my father and I first joined. I just loved being a member of a professional association which gave me the psychological credibility and marketing tools needed to succeed. Then came my CPF in 1986. It doesn't get any better than that. Since then I have worked on assorted committees, too numerous to mention; helped establish and served as an officer for, the now defunct, Far Northern California Chapter PPFA; have been on the PPFA faculty since the mid 1980s; helped create, update, and teach the ReCertification program since its inception; and have been the appointed chair of the Competition Board since 2004.

It's the peer group, comradery, professionalism thing for me. Being involved, included, and just belonging. Don't ask, don't look for what it can do...it just is...the Best!

Chris Paschke, CPF GCF CMG

couture's gallery

PFG, Picture Framing God
We love being a PPFA member..just can't imagine what we would miss if it did not exist.
If you take advantage of what is offered and talk to the members in a professional atmosphere you certainly learn a lot..and make many friends in the industry...
I see a vast improvement in the PPFA and can see more in the future...lets all support our own industry instead of being so negative..any organization is only a reflection of it's members.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Why doesn't someone just outline the program get it out to the potential members who will like it..or will not.
Let it stand on its own merits, after all it should help recruit more members from here. Instead of making statements about something that most are unaware of or as non members don't have access to.

Sunshine will bring clarity everytime.

PS PPFA did contact me about my membership shoul dbe processed soon. Sorry for the delay!~

David N Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I have to say I am underwhelmed by the PPFA site. They used very old bulletin board software technology and it's near impossible to find or follow anything without looking at everything.

No, make that DOUBLE DITTO!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Bob, I care because future expectations are based on past performance. It's about time for the PPFA to roll out a new program that benefits the PPFA. I've been anticipating one. Now, that may be cynical but because I have to pay to be able to view more it's all I can go on. I don't want to pay because a.) I have a lousy history with the organization. and b.) I'm not confident that if I did pay I would see anything behind the secret curtain and c.) I already don't like the way things are unfolding.

I've tried to join up twice before. The first time I was met with jokes and left feeling like an idiot so instead of writing a check I left thinking "Well, (rhymes with luck) these people." Fast forward 10 years for the second time where I joined and paid a lot for nothing. Now were about 10 or 11 years past that and I really hope the organization has evolved into something great, but I'm really very, very wary.

It would be interesting to see, but I seem to know more about secret CIA prisons than I do the trade organization of my own industry and I just dislike so much all the posts I have read here which entice people to join to see the protected things.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Johnny, never bought cracker jacks? LOL

No really why doesn't some one post it here?
I have a top secrect clearence!~

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
OK Here is some intel I found on the Smartgroup website:


PMA Co-op Marketing Teams are powered by PMA and The SMART Group and organized into regions across North America. PMA and The SMART Group help retailers who are interested in growing the scrapbooking and photo categories and raising awareness of those industries within their respective markets. The goal is to work jointly with the local press to create more exposure for both categories. With regard to media exposure, PMA and The SMART Group advocate using the same business model that car dealerships have used for decades to dominate the disposable income of the consumer.

A PMA Co-op Marketing Team not only teaches retailers how to co-op their ad dollars into a larger pool for greater exposure, it also teaches manufacturers how to create co-op funds for retailers as part of their retailer loyalty programs. Additionally, PMA and The SMART Group teach the business principles behind The SMART Store to show retailers how they can achieve better profit margins and not duplicate the look, feel and products of a store just a few miles away. Again, this is part of the same business principles that car dealerships have known for years.

I guess that the info is out there. We just have to find it.

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
And here is the FAQ

How much does it cost to attend? All PCMT meetings are free to everyone who attends.

Who should attend? Any business owner or executive in the Scrapbooking, Photo or Framing industries should seriously consider attending one of these meetings.

Will I be asked to join anything? You will be asked to consider becoming a member of PMA, which as first time member is only $50 for the first year. You will be asked to consider volunteering to serve on your regional PCMT committee. If you are in the scrapbooking industry, you will be asked to also consider joining the SMART Group. However, there is no requirement to join any association, group or committee.

What is the purpose of the meeting? The purpose of the meeting is to induce local retailers and industry manufacturers to work together to create more awareness for the photo, scrapbooking and custom framing categories, as well as how to copy the best practices of other industries to grow both sales and profits.

What will I learn that would be of real value to my company? You will learn about a goal to create a category section within every newspaper much like the auto, real estate and movie sections. You will learn about a new TV reality series that will focus on everything photo related – from click it, to print it, to scrap it, to frame it, to file or store it. You will learn about retailer to retailer market synergies and how they can be a powerful tool to increase sales. And finally, you will learn how retailer and manufacturer loyalty programs can increase sales and profits for both.

What will these marketing programs cost? Nothing, they are free; however, the programs and strategies we discuss may cause you to reconsider how you currently spend your advertising dollars.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Johnny, maybe you misunderstood. This program has not happened yet. It is still in planning stages. The first step is to educate framers about marketing, so there is a series of conferences coming up. The schedule is available.

There really isn't anything to know, at this point in time. Go to one of the conferences. When there is real progress, I guess PFM and Decor will be publishing announcements about it.

There certainly is no secret about what's going on. In fact, all attendees at DecorExpo-Atlanta were invited to watch a detailed presentation about the concept, and everyone was invited. The room full of people who showed up seemed to be quite impressed with the idea.

Watch your trade magazines for more on this.

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
PCMT Tour Schedule

The following cities are confirmed for the dates shown. Venue information will be posted as it becomes available.

San Francisco, CATues.11-27-07
300 Gateway Blvd., So
San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel 650-876-0200

Seattle, WAWed.11-28-07
400 Andover Park West
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel 425-430-141

Salt Lake City, UTThurs.11-29-07
110 West 600 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Tel 801-359-7800

Toronto, ON (Canada)Tues.12-4-07
655 Dixon Road
Toronto, ON M9W 1J3
Tel 416-244-1711

Detroit, MIWed.12-5-07
31800 Smith Road
Romulus, MI 48174
Tel 734-727-6000

Dallas, TXThurs.12-6-07
4600 West Airport Freeway
Irving TX 75062
Tel 972-513-0800

Phoenix, AZTues.12-11-07
2333 East Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Tel 602-957-1910

LA/Anaheim, CAWed.12-12-07
1855 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Tel (714) 750-1811


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
GEE WHY DON'T THEY JUST WAITE UNTILL IT IS THE WEEK BEFORE XMAS TO HAVE THE MEETINGS. talk about an industry disconnect retailers obviously don't run the organization must be all MBA's.
did not mean to yell but cap button was down don't feel like retyping.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Gumby ...is this part of The Smart Group from the art material industry? Dick and Holly's deal with Joe Teti?

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Ten Things The SMART Group is:
  • We are a Group that Educates businesses with a goal of increased revenues and profits.
  • We are a Group that Includes everyone who wants membership.
  • We are a Group that Teaches correct business principles and allows each business to govern their own business as they see fit.
  • We are a Group that provides new member Benefits on a monthly basis.
  • We are a Group that Promotes the industry to the media at large for greater industry awareness.
  • We are a Group that provides new industry Information to ensure we act on fact not just on feelings.
  • We are a Group that is Not for profit, every dime and more goes back to the members and the industry.
  • We are a Group that Believes that this can be a 30 billion dollar worldwide category.
  • We are a Group that has a Vision that the best is not behind us but is yet to come.
  • We are a Group that is Dedicated to the overall success of the industry.

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
Dennis Conforto
A-Z Media and its associated ShopA-Z.com and A-Z Magazines divisions were founded by Dennis Conforto, Chairman and CEO, in 1999. Prior to founding A-Z Media, Dennis was an owner and senior executive at GERS, a leading vendor of retail management information systems, for nearly 20 years. While at GERS, he also served as president of the Furniture Consultant’s Center for nearly two decades. Before he joined GERS, Dennis was executive vice president at a Top 100 retail home furnishings company. He has been a frequent speaker at major events in the home furnishings industry, focusing in particular on retail sales and profitability.

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