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Where to get Mats

yfreeman

Grumbler
ArtToFrames.com

Here is some inside information about www.arttoframes.com

Arttoframes.com is not the first website we opened up. We tried a few others as experiments learned from our mistakes and opened up www.arttoframes.com
Not that many people have the time or money to experiment with websites. The website is far from perfect but we are working on it daily.

To run a website like www.arttoframes.com you need a staff dedicated to the website. Customer Service, Technical Support problems, in house designers giving ideas etc.

Opening a website these days is not like it used to be. Consumers demand a certain perfection, it's very easy to get flamed for little mistakes. In the web 2.0 era it's important to keep ahead with new technologies.

I believe we have a certain competitive edge over the competition with our technology. We do everything in-house, this is expensive and certainly not recommended.

For more information about our framing visualization software you can visit www.flashframing.com .

Thats it for now.

Joseph Freeman
_________________
www.arttoframes.com
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Dave-As you probably know, I help with Market Research at PPFA

There is a powerful study done recently indicating frame shopping "preferences" by age and income. For years, any and all (way too few) studies were sponsor driven and wanted to know why people that did shop with us, did so. That data was then presented in a form that roughly affirmed that sponsor's marketing plan-not to consumers, but to we framers

A few year's back, some loud mouthed framer got involved and decided that we needed more unvarnished data centering on why consumers DIDN'T shop with us. The data, in my mind is pretty convincing

(Okay, here is the pitch)

You may review most of this data on the soon to be launched website forum at www.ppfa.com. If someone is truly interested, go on, post a question and I'll give you my take and we will share whatever is out there. We should be up and running very, very soon

Since this is proprietary, I must ask that we limit it's use to PPFA members. Now, anybody that wants to join or is a member can take what they wish. But, membership does have it's privileges

But, Dave, (and, here's the tease) you are closer than you think
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...Plan on framing for a good 20 more years or longer. Is my customer base going to die off within the next 20 years and not be replaced by enough younger folks who need my services?
Dave, Like you, I have formed my opinions about our market based on a few facts, plus a lot of speculation. First it was the teens and 20-somethings that ran to the internet to shop. The 30 and 40-somethings are joining them. That includes most of our traditional target demographic. They are running to the internet instead of the locally-owned store on the corner, and their kids are growing up doing that. So much for the future.

I believe the age range of internet-savvy people is expanding at a fast pace. More and more baby-boomers will follow the current trend. For example, my 86-year old mother-in-law didn't want a computer until two years ago. Now she's on it daily and communicates by email more than snail mail.

The adoption of internet shopping across all age groups spells doom for a lot of small retail industries, and it is happening right now. Yes, our customer base is dwindling by age, but worse, our pipeline of future customers is drying up by the internet adoption factor. That same trend favors large chain retailers; another nail in the small-shop framer's coffin.

I believe the future does not look rosy for those framers who continue trying to appeal to the same demographic types we attracted a decade-or-two ago. I don't think we will ever reverse the trend and get those customers back. That ship has sailed.

On that theory, my business is restructured to attract customers in certain framing categories -- specifically, protective framing of heirlooms, hobby collections, and other items of significant personal value. I could be wrong, but I do not see responsible adults shipping their family treasures across the sea, or even across the country, to be framed. I believe that framing category will always be served by local framing practitioners, especially the ones who establish a high level of credibility and framing expertise.

There are lots of possible strategies that could succeed for any given framer in any given market. Some are diversifying into photographic processing & restoration, scrapbooking, gift items, cards & stationery -- you name it. Good for them. I hope their expansion plans work.

Meanwhile, I am going the opposite direction, narrowing the focus of my business.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
The reason the big boxes and internet operations are getting into framing is obvious to me; it's because framing is too expensive the way most of the players in our industry deliver it. The way we do business begs for competition and we're getting it.

My sense is thatt a good portion of framers are constantly looking into how they can charge more, raise their prices, raise the average ticket price which is opposite what I think they should be thinking. I've heard over and over "I don't want to be the lowest priced framer in town." Instead the refrain should be "I want to have the lowest prices and if I don't I want to know why." I'd be very worried if someone were selling the same thing that I sell for less, and if I couldn't do something about it, I'd start thinking about another business.

Framers who are going to survive had better be thinking how to make framing less expensive, not more expensive, about how to attract a wider group of customers rather than a smaller. The broader your customer base, believe me, the better able you'll be to ride out an economic downturn. When I read price comparisons posted on the Grumble, I'm amazed. How, I ask myself, can that job cost so much?

We've had one business plan from the beginning 30 years ago and that was to do as much business as possible and to look for ways to lower the pirce of our products as much as possible, and, thus, increase our customer base. We don't worry about M's or ArtToFrame or anyone else because we know we can compete with them on price, quality, service. There's a Michael's here and my guess is we do twice the business they do. We're better than they are, we're faster than they are and we're a lot less expensive. We do no promotions, we don't have point of sale software, we don't have customer lists, we don't advertise. What we do do is give our customers a heck of a deal. And, believe me, that's what they want. We could keep customer lists, advertise, all that, and probably have even more business but that's really beside the point if our product is too expensive. It just won't work. It may work for a while but not for the long run.

I don't doubt we've "left a lot of money on the table." But, you know what, we made a lot of money, too, and, frankly, I'd rather leave money on the table than try to squeese the last dime out of a customer. I don't mind "leaving money on the table" if a customer walks out of my store thinking "golly, that cost a lot less than I expected." We've never attempted to "upsell" our customers. In fact we've told our employees not to. The first thing we show a customer is best deal that'll look good, not the most expensive treatment. I can sense when I walk into a store and the salespeople are paid to sell me the most expensive treatment and then retreat when I demur. And so can a lot of other people, especially other people who can afford picture framing.

Picture framing, generally, is too expensive; I know it is because I can sell it for less without much effort. Any time a product for which some demand exists is priced too high, there will be a strong incentive for competitors; hence the big retailors and e-sellers moving into our little corner of the market; they sense the blood in the water.

Jim Miller asserts that the big guys are going to drive the little guys out of business; well, I can tell you, they're not going to drive me under or even affect my business. There is a way to compete with them but it's not business as usual. The little shop and wholesale supplier is probably on the way out. There is nothing more inefficient than selling a job and then ordering just the materials needed to complete it. That works to an extent in the carpet industry and maybe a few more but they're an anomalies.

I'm well aware that a few people have run very expensive framing businesses and made a lot of money, but, take it from me, it's a lot easier to make a lot of money running a business that offers great value or I wouldn't have been able to do it. No one would ever accuse me of being a sharp businessman. I probably run the most un business like operation of any of the Grumblers. I don't do spread sheets, business plans(never had one) budgets, sales projections, none of it. I just work to give my customers the best deal I can, not the most expensive one. I don't have an accountant; I don't need one. In fact I probably violate every piece of business rule suggested to very small business owners.


Just my two cents.

Warren
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
It is definitely true in my case that I have very few under 30's customers. Why is that?

Is it because I currently have no web presence and the 20 somethings are attuned to buying through the web or at least finding outlets for goods and services on line?

Is it because generally that strata of customer isn't buying art or interested in custom framing? Maybe they haven't settled down yet into a home or apartment where quality decorating is a priority. Will they ever develop an appreciation for my services?... or are they a new breed raised in a digital electronics world without a desire for fine art and old world craftsmanship?
Is there really a large customer base to reach in that age bracket with what I have to offer? :shrug: Will I need to have offerings that are interesting to the younger generation?
I'm 52. Plan on framing for a good 20 more years or longer. Is my customer base going to die off within the next 20 years and not be replaced by enough younger folks who need my services?
I don't think so, but I have been known to be wrong at times. ;)
:icon11:
Dave,
You have brought up one of my great concerns with my aging customer base. I have been doing this for 26 yrs. and over the years I've framed first for the grandmother, then the daughter, and now the granddaughter. Increasingly, I see my older customers in the obit section of the paper, and I'm wondering too if the younger generation will embrace framing like their parents and grandparents did. I'm not so sure that they will.

I plan on doing this for another 10 yrs or so, and then retire to my property in Costa Rica. I'm hoping I can keep up with the technology advances that are coming, hold onto my customer base, and keep this "little frame shop that could" going strong until then.

To court the younger crowd, I think most of us will have to have a much stronger web presence, which is not cheap to build and maintain.

Bill
Ocean Art
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
To court the younger crowd, I think most of us will have to have a much stronger web presence, which is not cheap to build and maintain.

Bill
Ocean Art
Bill, you have a very good web presence! If you mean a site which takes online framing orders, I know what you mean, but I really don't think we all have to go that route, and I think there will always be a market for high end framing, middle end, and businesses like mine which straddle all ends, including DIY. I do think we all need to evaluate and improve upon our web sites and rankings and try to come up with other ways to change with the times as our clientele changes. As a group we should be able to come up with ideas.

The only thing I have done differently this year is to add 2 web pages (Visualization and Poster Special--under Services) and I have added the Blog as it was a free service and a no-brainer in my mind. The hits on the web site still far outnumber the blog, but the blog rankings are very high.
Just a suggestion for anyone who wants to add to ther web presence or create one in a hurry with no cost invovled. Click on my blog site below and then click on the LocalBizBlogs logo for sign up. I am not affiliated with the blog business. I just think it is a great idea and in keeping with the younger generation's internet habits.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Warren, your business philosophy and practices are in a way, like ours, but on a larger scale. We also offer low-cost DIY and have since 1977 and we also run the business in a non-traditional way, without accountants, reports, plans, and all the rest. Part lucky, part hard work, part just too busy to change.

I've seen your site before and am impressed. I would love to have the space and equipment. We are working in 2400 sq.ft with DIY, ready-made frames, and custom in the same rented space. We have considered moving many times, but our primary business is close to the University, so here we are.

Congratulations on your success! There is more than one way to run a successful business.
 

PaulSF

PFG, Picture Framing God
There seems to be a general impression that people in their 20s and early 30s don't have the money to spend on framing, will only buy things over the web, and/or aren't interested in putting something up on the wall. I think all three impressions are mistaken.

First of all, disposable income. Sure, people in that age group often are at the lower end of the pay scale, but they will spend on things they want. They all have iPods, which start at $250, and they probably spend more on their cellphone service a month than we spend on clothes in a year. There is some money there.

Second, buying everything over the web. I think there is a danger in mistaking using the web for information, and using it for purchases. They ALL use the web as their first resource for information. That's why it's important to have a decent website, and to be listed in various search listings. Even more important is to have positive reviews at sites like Yelp.com and Citysearch. Positive reviews will bring the 20- and 30-somethings in your door, and it won't cost you a penny.

I'm not too worried about people buying framed art over the web. So many pitfalls and limitations. Eventually they will come to your door, if only to replace the glass broken by UPS during shipping. I buy alot of stuff over the web -- clothing, books, music, tickets -- but other than clothing, everything is essentially a commodity product. That book I buy at Amazon.com is the exact same book I could buy at any local bookstore, but at Amazon it's 40% off. I don't need the extra service the bookstore provides, and I certainly don't value it that much.

Finally, I think these consumers do care about putting something up on their wall. Maybe it's a poster for a hot band they saw recently at the Fillmore. Or a poster they really like. They may not spend $350-plus to have that double-matted with fillet and museum glass, but they do want something better than thumbtacks or tape in the corners. So that means drymounting the poster and slapping it up against the clear glass, no spacers. So what? A year ago I would have been all worked up over the customer that didn't want mats, that just wanted it smack up against the glass. Now? I'll be at the store from 10 AM til noon on Friday, and anyone that wants me to frame their poster by slapping it up against the glass will get a free cappucino. Bring me two pieces to frame that way, and I'll buy the beer. And next year, if you want to switch out the poster with a new one, using the same frame and glass, that's fine with me.
 

TheAvidFramer

True Grumbler
as a 20 year old kid....

I am 20.
I own my own framing business.

However, I know that I will not go to a business if they do not have a website.
I always look for a website before I go anywhere to see what I am getting into. I want to know if they have the product I am looking for, if there is a way that I can get a quote or a feel for how much I will be spending. Or just to get the phone number to the place so that I can call and talk to someone.

I don't necessarily buy online. I actually try and avoid it when possible. I just like to check it out before I go to the store. Your website says a LOT about the company, and I base my opinions off of the website.

My opinion, when someone doesnt have a site is "They don't even have a website, they must not be doing well or they do not have their **** together."


Just my 2 cents from a 20 year old.
Also keep in mind that 20 year olds may not have ton of money to throw into roma frames, however in most cases they have parents that do. All it takes is a "mommy please...or daddy please..."
A lot of the things I have framed for newlyweds and recent graduates have been done in just that manner. They need things to put up in their new house or office.

I would not overlook the buying power of 20 year olds.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...

I would not overlook the buying power of 20 year olds.
Jessica ...I believe that folks in their 20's have more buying power either directly or indirectly than any generation that preceded them. What I question is how many of this age group have developed an appreciation for custom framing that they are willing to spend their discretionary income for such services.

Since I'm 52 years young and you're 20 years old you may have a better perspective and be able to answer another theory. I think that people like to shop where they feel a kinship chronologically with the store owner, manager, staff and general environment of the premises.

For the most part I would off that older folks don't care about the "hipness" of a place but it is very important to the younger customer.

How would you define your customer base? How would you break down the over 40 under 40 age bracket of your customers? How about gender?
 

TheAvidFramer

True Grumbler
For the most part I would off that older folks don't care about the "hipness" of a place but it is very important to the younger customer.

How would you define your customer base? How would you break down the over 40 under 40 age bracket of your customers? How about gender?
Hey Dave,
I would not say that I gear my business towards 'hipness' but I would say that all customers, younger and older appreciate the new technology that is available in framing, and I guess I would qualify that as hipness.

As far as my views on a website, its really not about hipness. I would venture to guess that 40 year olds also look phone numbers up online, and that if there is a link to a website they will most certainly look at it before deciding that they want to go to that store, or that they would choose the listing with a website over one that did not have a website.

My customer base mainly consists of 30-60 year old customers, just as I am sure most people's customer base is made up of the similar, however I do have a lot clients that are 20 who have their parents pay for a lot of framing. And better yet, when I do have a young customer who comes in wanting something cheap I make it happen for them, and then they tell friends or their parents or they themselves come back once they get that promotion and spend a ton of money on framing.

I am not saying spend all of the advertising dollar on young consumers, but certainly keep them in mind. Go to your local college, advertise in their paper. You will get a ton of diplomas come the end of the semester. What about contacting their art department?
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...My sense is thatt a good portion of framers are constantly looking into how they can charge more, raise their prices, raise the average ticket price which is opposite what I think they should be thinking. I've heard over and over "I don't want to be the lowest priced framer in town."...
That strategy might have been popular a few years go, but not today. The framers who thought raising prices would work are almost gone. These days, the surviving small independent framers are finding new ways to compete -- but on some basis other than price, because price is not the main issue.

...Framers who are going to survive had better be thinking how to make framing less expensive, not more expensive...
That is sensible, so long as the tactic is not simply to reduce profit. The trick is to reduce prices while growing net profit dollars. Buying large quantities of inventory earns better discounts, but if your workshop is less than 1,000 square feet, and your cash flow's tide is out, you have to be very creative about buying inventory. Doubling or tripling sales is not usually a short-term option.

...attract a wider group of customers rather than a smaller. The broader your customer base, believe me, the better able you'll be to ride out an economic downturn...
That's a winner in any market, but The Devil is in the details. The word "attract" seems simple enough in concept. But in practice, attracting a wider group of customers is so difficult that almost half of the small-shop framers who existed in 1999 have failed before succeeding with that.

Price certainly is an issue, but when framers beat the mass marketers' prices, their efforts have limited benefit. Lower prices usually fail to attract enough new business to make any price-cutting strategy work.

The 800-pound gorillas in the room are marketing and advertising. Since professional marketing and advertising experts have found 21st century consumers, they simply are no longer interested in supporting local businesses. They have turned away from small independent operators in many retail segments. Neighborhood jewelry stores, dry cleaners, drug stores, auto service/fuel stations, grocery stores have all but disappeared from the American landscape. Frame shops are suffering the same fate. A quick review of retail trends in the past two decades proves that beyond doubt -- except in isolated markets, apparently including yours, Warren.

It would be easy to say "Of course consumers turn away from small independent operators, because their prices are too high." That used to be true, but not so much anymore. The large chain operations that dominate most USA markets do not offer lower prices than their smaller competitors. Indeed, I can beat M, JA, and HL almost any day. Price is NOT the issue in reality. But that reality does not matter. Consumers are impressed by the professional marketing and million-dollar advertising budgets of the mass marketers.

...Jim Miller asserts that the big guys are going to drive the little guys out of business...
Jim Miller didn't make that up, Warren. It is a fact of life in our business. According to generally-accepted survey data, in 1999 there were about 18,000 to 20,000 small framing companies in the USA. Today there are 10,000 to 12,000. Surveys and industry experts pretty much agree that 6,000 to 8,000 small independent framing businesses will remain in about five years. After hitting bottom, modest growth may occur.

...The little shop and wholesale supplier is probably on the way out...
We agree on that, but we disagree on the reasoning that leads to that conclusion. You say price is the main issue. I say marketing is the main issue. The small independent framers that remain in business in 2012 will have competitive prices, but they will also have found ways to circumvent the juggernaut that is mass marketing.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Warren ...I don't disagree with much of anything you said in your post as it relates to your business model and appreciate your forthrightness. Your approach is working for you and that's great.

...raise the average ticket price which is opposite what I think they should be thinking.... I'd be very worried if someone were selling the same thing that I sell for less, and if I couldn't do something about it, I'd start thinking about another business.
I think that when we talk about raising the average ticket price we are not necessarily talking about charging more for same services. Moving customers into using better materials and appreciating both better design along with the differences between proper preservation framing and "slapping it up against the glass" will naturally bring up the ticket price and profitability of a framer.

By no means am I insinuating that you don't offer framing of high quality and I'm sure that you are serving all strata of customer. I also understand that what you are saying is that in order to be successful you need to do everything you can to offer what the customer wants at the best pricing that you can provide it for and still maintain profitability.

What Jim seems to share with us is that it can be difficult if near impossible in today's buying environment to overcome the buying public's perception of independent custom framers being expensive even if they are quite competitive for like services. Therefore in order to thrive it is necessary to set yourself apart from the gorillas in the industry.

You also expressed amazement at the price on this forum people were charging for simple job comparisons. In my market place I am competitive on these types of jobs ...maybe not the least expensive, but competitive. I'm where I need to be which is portrayed that the fact that I still garner a good share of these simpler jobs that could have gone to the BB's. Being a one man shop I am willing to do this work in a quality manner but am not equipped for mass production nor do I want to be. I believe that the reason people still come to me for this work is the variety of choices I offer and that they trust me more than the mass merchants.


This thread which started with a consumer's question has turned into a very thought provoking and philosophical discussion. Excellent posts abound.
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
[QUOTE
Jim Miller didn't make that up, Warren. It is a fact of life in our business. According to generally-accepted survey data, in 1999 there were about 18,000 to 20,000 small framing companies in the USA. Today there are 10,000 to 12,000. Surveys and industry experts pretty much agree that 6,000 to 8,000 small independent framing businesses will remain in about five years. After hitting bottom, modest growth may occur.

We agree on that, but we disagree on the reasoning that leads to that conclusion. You say price is the main issue. I say marketing is the main issue. The small independent framers that remain in business in 2012 will have competitive prices, but they will also have found ways to circumvent the juggernaut that is mass marketing.[/QUOTE]


I have heard the figures about the amazing shrinking numbers of frame shops in the last 10 years. I know there are a whole lot LESS frame shops around this area then there used to be, which I'm not complaining about. ;)

I just want to make sure that I'm one of the 6,000 to 8,000 that are left after the shake out. I'm not doom and gloom, I'm actually upbeat about the future, since I firmly believe the ones left (including me) will be the ones who kept up with the times, invested in new technology, equipment, hired the right employees, and ran the business as a business, and not a hobby.
Bill
Ocean Art

PS This thread is typical of a lot of The Grumble threads, as it meanders all over the place, going from topic to topic, which I like. I'm on another message board called Tidalfish, and if you get the thread off topic, someone will start yelling about JACKED THREAD !! and making a lot of bad noise. It's refreshing that grownups can talk about a variety of issues, and not get there panties in a bunch.
 

yfreeman

Grumbler
Some Modern issues about framing

Hoping not to be off topic, or perhaps should post in a different thead.

But... our society is moving to an ever increasing efficiency. What I mean is that technology and corporations are all geared to making our lives more efficient. Note that I said Efficient, not Productive.

With the internet people can buy anything online. The only time they have to leave their house is to go to the doctor!

Food/Groceries is ordered in.
Bills are Paid online.
Work From Home
Clothes are ordered online.

The one time a month that people got to WalMart to stock up, they happen to see a frame that is decent enough, so they think "hey, it's good enough and I just saved a whole day going to the local frame shop." and sometimes is two days, because I don't have to drop it off or pick up the job.

This is the average 20/30 yr old. - If it's not FUN I want get it done at my convenience.

Here are some problems with framing that I see.

- Initial shock. A lot of people are scared of framing because is is something they've never done.
- Too many choices.
- Need validation for their choices. Of someone is going to drop $500 on a frame they want to be sure that the Frame/Mat/Glass combination is right.
- Drop off and Pickup - if the framer doesn't offer delivery


The goal of the Adapting Frame Shop should be a balance between efficiency and service. Efficiency for the average user, and service for the Customer that likes to Frame.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
In response to Jessica's post. As I write this my 20 year old daughter is packing her last items before leaving for college in Boston this afternoon. You are right, she spends the most in this family on personal items, room decor, clothing, some paid for on her own--and she has moeny from work--and some by us. I find her advice very interesting when it comes to attracting the college crowd.

You know whats "in" righ tnow? Large wooden letters which she will buy from a chain store, The Christmas Tree Shop, when she returns to Boston. The girls paint them and spell out thier names with them, or initials, and hang them on their dorm room walls with two sided tape. She says you can see them in lots of TV shows aimed at her age. I told her that next summer we are going to the SF gift show together so that she can advise me.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I'll bet that Warren thinks us a diametrically oppossed, but weare almost identical in many philosophies. I am sure he is biting his tongue as he reads this, though

He is a great, but singular, operator

And, i don't buy for a minute his "I don't do this....." lack of discipline.

He has no plan? Take my "Buying right to Sell Right" class, add steroids and you have Warren

He prides himself on his go it alone mentality and great for him

He does double the local M's, but doesn't pay attention to stuff like that

If someone is lower, he goes down to beat them, but doesn't pay attention to stuff like that

He is so much smarter and craftier than he allows; just talk to anyone that has visited his impressive operation. Even if not POS'ed, it speaks even greater about his ability

Just not sure why he feels so compelled to always stick his thumb in our collective eye

I think many smaller market framers could learn a lot from him

But for the overwhelming majority my advice would be "Don't try this at home"
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I think too many of us are making assumptions on the generational buying habits of the differing generation. Way too much "I think" suppositions than can be very very dangerous

The truth is most of us won't do much to change much, so the affect will probably be negligible

I think it might bea good time to proffer that old quote an old retailer says on occassions just like this:

"Without data, we're just a bunch of jerks with opinions"
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Marketing is not just about your web site, your advertising, but also about how your shop looks. I believe that as the shake out keeps happening, the shops which look dark and dreary and disorganized will be gone. Most of the owners of these shops are not here on the Grumble, but look at your shop and think, "Is this a place I would like to go into?" "Does it look forbidding, scary, snooty, standoffish, too expensive, shabby, poorly lit?" Or, if your market is Rodeo Drive, do you have suede couches and refreshments and upscale looking decor? Whatever your market, you store has to attract that segment. The bbs know this and thier advertising reflects this.

Look at the remaining book stores. They are cool places with speakers and events and publicity and friendly staff, and are nice places to hang out. Barnes and Noble knew this and captured a lot of that market. but the independent book shop can do it even better, the good ones that are left.

I think that the businesses that survive will be the ones who have found or are finding thier niche. Jim Miller has created a niche, Val has a small town niche, and hey, she has Val, Warren has two niches with his stores, Bob has a lower priced niche in AZ, and I have the campus, DIY niche in Berkeley. We, and others like us, will survive because we are constantly researching, changing, adapting, learning, and sharing. The businesses with thier heads in the sand will be gone in no time.

And I think its awesome that Jessica, a 20 year old, has her own frame shop and participates on this forum. Wow! Well done!
 

TessaE

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I always look for a website before I go anywhere to see what I am getting into. I want to know if they have the product I am looking for, if there is a way that I can get a quote or a feel for how much I will be spending. Or just to get the phone number to the place so that I can call and talk to someone.
QUOTE]

I am the same way. I am 29, and run the family frame shop by myself.
I will do research, read the reviews, and then go to buy locally.

We had this same discussion at our PPFA chapter meeting last weekend. I was the only gen Y representative there, glad I am not the only one here.:thumbsup:
 

TheAvidFramer

True Grumbler
You know whats "in" righ tnow? Large wooden letters which she will buy from a chain store, The Christmas Tree Shop, when she returns to Boston. The girls paint them and spell out thier names with them, or initials, and hang them on their dorm room walls with two sided tape.
I actually just framed a name in those wooden letters for a little girls room. they were a bday present were her friends wrote happy bday on the back of each of the letters. the mom didnt just want to hang them on the wall so we mounted them to matboard and put a frame on it. came out looking really sweet.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Hey, Bob

I don't want to "sick a finger" in anybody's eye. I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness to a group of pilgrims going in the wrong direction. I don't think the way to survive is more and more expensive techniques and relying on chop services and distributors for just in time supplies and materials.

I was going to post on the problems of small, less that 4 man shops, but I think I'll hold off on that for a while and keep my fingers in my pocket. I'll give my conclusion here though: There is no way a less than 4 man shop can work in a retail/fabrication setting and succeed. Or, if there there is a way, it's an awful hard job and a low paying one at that.

And, Bob, there is no go-it-alone mentality. Our business couldn't run without the people who work here, people who've been here 26, 17, 15, 12, 5, and 7 years. We couldn't succeed without our suppliers and the way they work with us.

I'm not crafty, either, but i did have a pretty crafty mentor when Toni and I started our business, Leck Helms, a famous man around Wingate/Monroe, NC. He knew exactly what we had to do in order to make a go of it: make sure every deal is good for us and our customer, work hard and understand that starting our business wasn't like going to work for the Post Office, plan on working 7 days most weeks, do as much business as we can (turn nothing away, the answer to a customer's question is always "yes", stuff like that.

Here's a novel thought: inventory is a customer service, an important one. Without inventory, you can't really promise a service. Without inventory, your reputation for quality and reliable service is dangerously dependant on your suppliers whose policies are more than likely designed for their self interests rather than yours. An adequare number of well trained and loyal employees also is also an aspect of good customer service, especially if you plan on not working 7 days a week. Long time customers like to see the same people when they walk into a store, year after year.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jeez it's good to have you back Warren.

You're 100% on the money..... for a shop with 6+ people or as you point out.. 4 man. 90% of the shops out there are mom and maybe pop.... or mom and a helper. And are under 1,400sq ft. And maybe we will be going the way of the buggy whip.... and I just don't buy that there are only 4,000 of us left. Now when I only see 7-10 of the 450 frame shops in the Pacific NorthWest showing up at WCAF... which is closer than the Other coast.

But I hear what you're saying... every large shop I ever worked in, had stock, worked fast and worked budget.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
... and I just don't buy that there are only 4,000 of us left...
I wouldn't buy that number either, Baer. Every survey amounts to little more than an educated guess, but that number is a lot lower than the guesses I've seen & heard.

Who's saying there are only 4,000 of us left?
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Warren-You know I like you, don't you?

And, here is where we agree

Those that buy poorly are at a harmful disadvantage; they better be extraordinarily gifted. We all ought to know ho wrare that is

Turnaround is a HUGE advantage> How often do we hear those that offer two week turnaround and swear their customers are happy with that

Staff is critical: you win the longevity with a 26 yr employee. My longest is 24 with two at 22, 1 at 15 and several at +10. Lately, though, we have had a difficult time filling PT

I also agree that you might be a voice in the wilderness and that's why I suggested that you are "go alone" kind of guy. Let's be honest, not many people subscribe to your model. That wasn't meant as a criticism. Go it alone means you don't follow failed models. Me neither, even though our choices are night and day different

But, we disagree on a few things

I want to make as much money as I can and that includes charging more for things where I am truly superior. May I share an example?

We frame a ton of jerseys; last count over 300 this year so far. Do for all the major teams, chrities and reg customers. Most are around $300-350, a few less, some more. Had a Tillman jersey last week for about $800

Some athlete making $14 gazillion a year isn't going to get (or need) the same package as joe lunchbucket. So, we will have "different" pricing strategies for "different" segments

Another difference? I want them to "think" my prices are great (they are), but it isn't imperative that I am the lowest and don't work hard to become it

Perhaps i am just a little more mercenary, but I love nice cars, nice houses, nice vacations and am more than willing to let my customers pay for my preferences

All in all, if I was in a middle size market, I would use your model

With a few minor tweaks, of course

Did I see that you signed up for my "Buying" class in Atlanta next week?
 

Verdaccio

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
There is no way a less than 4 man shop can work in a retail/fabrication setting and succeed. Or, if there there is a way, it's an awful hard job and a low paying one at that.
Oh that's just terrific. I'll just close my doors right now shall I? :faintthud:
 

Val

PFG, Picture Framing God
Not me! I'm sticking it out! It might be a hard job for this little framer, but I love it, I'm paying my bills, the biz is growing, and I am not afraid!!
 

Verdaccio

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Not me! I'm sticking it out! It might be a hard job for this little framer, but I love it, I'm paying my bills, the biz is growing, and I am not afraid!!
:) Yea Val, I know. I'm sticking too. Just venting a little frustration at hearing these wild pronouncements of doom when I am so new into it all.

A number of years ago, a very well known and highly regarded author told my wife that given her current situation, she was basically sunk in the book publishing world. That was 23 published novels ago...

There is no brass ring. Success has many layers. Do what you love with passion and grace and accept what the universe unfolds for you.

Warren: Thanks for the finger in the wind. I don't have your experience yet, but I definitely see which way the wind is blowing too. :) But there are so many variables to this business that I wonder if anyone can make such a pronouncement and be accurate for anything but their own unique situation.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Well, I do feel the wind is blowing in a different direction. I had my hair appointment this afternoon. While sitting there with the dye on my head, I looked across the shop and saw that they had a photographic display on a newly painted wall. The fames were a 3" black. I thought, "Good, the local framer across the street has changed the display, and it looks quite nice." Well, I had my glasses off. When I put them on and walked over the the wall, I saw the inevitable: the frames were Aaron Bros, the wide black with the small lip on the outside edge, no mats, just a wide white border around the photo. The artist obviously made a trip the the bb to buy frames and pop them in with no thought to preservation, only price.

While on to the actual haircut, I remembered the days when the bbs were not in the neighborhood, and artists would come to me for cheap metal and wood frames. They still do, but they buy my ready mades.

And then I thought about recent customers who had spent $600-$700 on framing jobs in my shop. They were thrilled, but I wondered if the next time they need framing they might remember my beautiful design, but decide that for the photo fo Aunt Jane, they don't want to spend a fortune, so will just run on down to the bb and save a hundred bucks. We all may do beautiful framing work, but my guess is that we are hemorrhaging on the lower end.

In my shop, besides working on the web site, and e-newlletter, I am trying to find ways to bring the bargain shopper back before it is too late.

BTW, Bob, 300 jerseys? Holy cow, now that's business!

Does anyone know where to purchase a cheap 2.5-3" black moulding or preferably RM frame with a lip on the back? I'm tired of seeing these come into my shop. I want to sell them myself.
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Val, you're fine.... you're not a 4 man shop..... just a 1 woman... you should do better. :D

Kirstie, how much of that 257L-500x did you want to order?
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
OK Baer, no idea what moulding you are referring to, but I'll look it up tomorrow,:smiley:
 

danny boy

PFG, Picture Framing God
My thoughts...

This little frame shop has been here for 20 years. A good foundation of not only hard work, but vision was used from the start. The former owner built it, ran it and carved a piece of history right here in this community, but she begain to tire. With all of the limitations and hardships it has withstood the test of time.

In just a year as the new proprietor I have worked to build upon what is in place. Same location (I wonder???) and name, even refreshing the old sign. Granted some of the policies have changed, evolved is a better word. The business side of framing is on one hand while the designer craftsman the other. Many new services and techniques are now avalible; fillets, conservation framing, larger selection of moulding and mats etc. A cmc, pos and visualization program have been put into place and are used. Lots of new paint (and trash removal), new hours and a smile greet each prospect who enters here. The increase in revenue has been stagering...

For now I am only One, but I am determined.
I will grow my business and start to employ new framers.
I have a; 1, 2, 3 ,5, and 8 year plan.
I will continue to monitor and control my cog's.
I will reach out and grasp other framing markets.
I will learn all that I can, study out the decision and charge forward.
I will not be numbered among the growing list of frame shops that have closed the doors.
I will succeed.

Is'nt life great.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
May I suggest all is not gloom and doom; there wil always be picture framers. I may offer that many wil survive; some thrive, just as it has always been

We've been around awhile and even when we firststarted out, there were casulaties,too. I can name several off th top of my head. On ething in common was that they all were convinced that they were exceptional practioners of th etrade and that a stupid buying public simply didn't realize that. I can't tell you that anyone ever said "Perhaps I am just good at this". It was always someone or something to blame

But, I will offer this much: The people coming into the trade today seem so much better equipped to compete than those I see that started out more than 10yrs ago. The newer attendees, regardless of age, seem to be genuinely interested in what makes the business work than I ever remember

I must agree with Warren in that if we think we can charge what we want; use the products we want and simply not listen to the consumer, your chances will be significantly diminshed

In today's retail environment, we do not know better than the consumer
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
May I suggest all is not gloom and doom; there will always be picture framers....many will survive; some thrive, just as it has always been.
Someone recently observed that the Big Squeeze is on the middle-sized, non-specialty frame shops, and it makes sense. They generally have significant overheads and must make the numbers in order to survive, and they have few, if any, competitive advantages over everyone else in their markets.

Framers that dominate their markets -- whether thay are large framing businesses, or just 'big fish in little ponds' -- will continue to grow and prosper. Northwest Framing in Seattle and Portland, and Artist's Frame Service in Chicago are a couple of examples I know in this category. Indications here are that Warren Tucker's business is one of these, too.

Very small, niche-related shops will continue to do well, because they serve their markets in ways that larger framers do not. Their competitive advantage may be limited to certain product/service areas, but they have found safe territory. Larger, stronger competitors are not likely to snatch away their niches, because that is probably business they don't care to cultivate, for whatever reasons.

Of course, smart business operations still apply in all cases, no matter the size. Inventory, payroll, COGS, and all the rest of that "Bob on Biznis" stuff.

...The people coming into the trade today seem so much better equipped to compete than those I see that started out more than 10yrs ago. The newer attendees, regardless of age, seem to be genuinely interested in what makes the business work than I ever remember.
Absolutely. A couple of decades ago frame shops were started by framing employees who wanted to spread their wings, or by folks from other careers who just wanted to make a go of owning a business. In the 70s and 80s, it was easy to make an OK living with a frame shop -- or most other types of small retail stores -- even for relatively uninformed business operators. Those days are gone. The newcomers in small retail now have to know how to run a business, and they seem to know it. That is the first requirement. The technical know-how of framing is actually secondary to the business aspects of running a successful frame shop these days. That explains why Carter, Bluestone, Goltz, Markoff, and other business educators are busy with full classes these days.

...In today's retail environment, we do not know better than the consumer
Hasn't that always been true?

These are important thoughts, Bob, and we mustn't lose sight of them. Thanks for the reminders.
 

Amy McCray

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Just out of curiosity, I came back to look at this thread, wondering how in the world "Where to get Mats" could generate 9 pages of response.

I went back to the very begining and found that out of 9 pages and 86 responses, only roughly the first 14 replies had anything to do with the original question. That was only the first page and a half.

Gotta love that scope creep (aka frankenthreading). As Jay would say, Carry On.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Very small, niche-related shops will continue to do well, because they serve their markets in ways that larger framers do not. Their competitive advantage may be limited to certain product/service areas, but they have found safe territory. Larger, stronger competitors are not likely to snatch away their niches, because that is probably business they don't care to cultivate, for whatever reasons.
Framing is a niche. There is almost nothing that separates the best and the worst frame shop. I know we like to pretend that there are huge sweeping differences, and their may be some, but in the eyes of customers we are already a niche.

The fact that we are already a niche is why I agree so much with your last sentence, "Larger, stronger competitors are not likely to snatch away their niches, because that is probably business they don't care to cultivate, for whatever reasons."

They can't take those customers because the decision makers are too far removed from the employees that actually run the individual operation. Photographers come to mind. Every Sears and Wal-Mart (and many other stores) have a shutter-puller taking studio shots. Yet, they haven't totally squeezed out independent photographers. The list of what Sears and Wal-Mart can't and won't do is rather long. So there is always room for the "little guys." Heck the indi and the BB photographers seem to be happily married..

Our relationship with our BB counterparts isn’t quite as symbiotic. It just isn’t as difficult for competition to "even up". What niche do I really have over Super Crafty Mart? I mean what really meaningful thing that customers really just KNOW they must see me? That’s not an easy question to answer....in fact I don't think I have a really good answer. I do know that "acid free" and "archival" isn't found anywhere in the answer. Super Crafty Mart is already pushing the heck of those terms.

Sure many of us will stick around but our mortality rate will far exceed that of our shutter bug friends.
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Very small, niche-related shops will continue to do well, because they serve their markets in ways that larger framers do not. Their competitive advantage may be limited to certain product/service areas, but they have found safe territory. Larger, stronger competitors are not likely to snatch away their niches, because that is probably business they don't care to cultivate, for whatever reasons.
From your keyboard to God's monitor.
:cool: Rick
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Framing is a niche. There is almost nothing that separates the best and the worst frame shop. I know we like to pretend that there are huge sweeping differences, and their may be some, but in the eyes of customers we are already a niche...
Niche is defined as "a distinct segment of a market." So you're right, in the broad sense of the word. Framing is a small segment of the total retail market. Very small. Always has been, always will be.

But by that same definition, there are a lot of niches within the framing industry -- or maybe you'd prefer to call them "specialties". For example, 3-dimensional object framing, superior preservation framing, oversize framing, overnight framing, installations, re-framing, restoration of frames/photos/canvas/paper (whether by expertise in house, or by contracting to experts). All of these are niches/specialties that are not well-served in certain markets. One way to remain profitable and growthful (new word for ya) as a small shop is to pick niches poorly served in your market and promote them.

...What niche do I really have over Super Crafty Mart? I mean what really meaningful thing that customers really just KNOW they must see me? That’s not an easy question to answer....in fact I don't think I have a really good answer....
The idea of specilizing makes a lot of framers' eyeballs bounce, because they don't understand what it means. That may be why they are failing instead of adapting to their market.

In a nutshell, if you can isolate one kind of framing that Super Crafty Mart is not interested in doing, that could be a niche. The more of those niches/specialties you can find and promote, the better.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...out of 9 pages and 86 responses, only roughly the first 14 replies had anything to do with the original question....
OK, Amy. Let's get back on track. Custom cut or pre-cut matting could be a niche. Or, for Jay, a framing specialty. Who among us stands ready to accept and promote that niche? I'll bet the inquisitor will find one.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
In a nutshell, if you can isolate one kind of framing that Super Crafty Mart is not interested in doing, that could be a niche. The more of those niches/specialties you can find and promote, the better.
There just aren't many they don't already suggest that they can do.

"You give the example" (and I say).

"3-dimensional object framing" (who are you kidding. Is there a shop or BB in the nation without a baby gown in a gaudy box? Nope)

"superior preservation framing" (Does Masterpiece Glass ring a bell? Again that is loosing all meaning as every, and I mean EVERYBODY is using similar phrasing.)

"oversize framing" (Is there a huge demand for this and who can't frame a 3'x5'?)

"overnight framing" (To specialize in this is very very very difficult and expensive plus craft mart will have you out the door in 10 minutes with a frame in ya need)

I could go on but my point is that all of those are a small section of a very small trade. It's not that I don't think those are all valid areas to prepare for but there are few shops that have really "set themselves apart" with such unneeded offerings. Plus the lines are so blurred on many of these that even I have to squint to see the difference. Few customer even care to try.

We smaller guys are getting louder and louder with the messages you suggest and we are still losing ground. What’s worse is that the internet is just in the beginning phases of screaming the same messages.
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jay, there is a world of difference between promoting a framing specialty as part of "we do everything" advertising, and actually specializing.

The three SuperCraftyStores within three miles of mine all refer some of their customers to me, because I specialize and they do not. I thank them for that.

Niche framing seems to be working quite well for me. If you have actually tried and failed with it, then I'm sorry it didn't work for you. Markets are different.

So, what's your strategy?
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Hi Jim-I do not mean to speak for Jay; he is most capable of his own

The key is to look for opportunities that work and then, add, to those things that you like.

You do it, Jay does it, I do it.The problem is to rely upon that monolithic mentality that "I am a great framer" expecting that to be enough

So what if that "something extra" is offereing ready made mats?

So what if it's offering a line of readymade preframed art?

So what if it's offering a great priced poster metal package?

So what?

I feel certain that I have lost very few customers because I offered such product lines. Can you imagine a customer really no longer shopping with you because you weren't "exclusive" enough?

We would all be the wiser to look at as many options as people have made successful and see if any of those "something extra" options just might fit for us

I think fo rmost framers, adding successful additions ought to be worth examining. In so many cases, the cost to "experiment" is slight; the risk, small. We ought to encourage just such experimentation

If there is a problem, it might be on accurately assessing the effectiveness of that experiment

We sureshould be looking for more new, interesting options, not retrenching. Rest assured your competition is looking

Now, understand that suggestion applies to most framers. Let's face it; a few, like Jim will be insulated simply because he is, well, Jim. Our caling card boasts no such false claim
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I didn't mean to imply that my business is restricted to any particular type of framing. It is not. Indeed, when we advertise 3-D framing with photos of WhoopDeeDoo shadowboxes, customers also bring us more posters and vacation snapshots. Go figure.
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Listening to the Consumer

What Bob just said made me think of our first two weeks with the poster special in place. This was a big jump for us, a big change. Over the years our sales have grown and tickets are larger. This is evident in our DIY and custom sales. But where have all the lower end sales gone? You know the answer to that one.

So a couple of years ago we introduced a much larger selection of ready made frames. We are afraid these might take away from our regular sales, but no, they seem to have brought in more artists, more people who now head straight for the ready made frame room. We upgrade the frames with UV glass and acid free mats quite often. So far so good.

Then we introduced the Value Line with box moulding purchases from WCAF. Those went over fairly well, but not a landslide of sales.

Now, in response to a stack of quotes given to customer lately, and it seems, an increasing number of "I'll think about it" responses, we have introduced the poster special.

Yesterday was typical, a day when it seemed that most shoppers were looking for a bargain. We sold at least three or four poster frame specials in with the mix of our other sales. Two customers come to mind: On a hunch, and because I can sometimes read who wants an upgraded frame and who doesn't, I told them both at the get-go that I was going to offer them two styles of framing--I would price out one with our poster frame special, and the other with a custom or DIY frame which would best suit the art. In both cases the customer responded with something like "$100 or $300? I'll take the $100 frame." Both were upgraded poster specials with UV glass and acid free mats. No one wanted the paper mats. They were in and out quickly, sale made, we never even talked about mat margins.

So what happened here? Did I lose a big ticket custom sale or gain a customer? I think I gained a customer who will come back for more.

Still trying different approaches to what I see as a different playing field.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
That is a great post by Kirstie. Too be fair, she is a little more savvy than the average

I know from conversations in pivate that those that have added items such as she, that those do not affect the traditional "high end biz"

Anybody else have, even anecdotal, evidence to support or refute her experience?

I'm just suggesting relying upon either segment may yield less results than offering that and more

Yesterday was a pretty average Saturday in which we sold3-4 metal packages, 2 wood upgrades from that metal package, a shadowbox with puppy remains (yeah, really was), a 36x60 oil painting, a jersey, and several run of the mill projects and a couple of while you wait ready mades (and some other stuff, too)

And, some of those did have paper mats (and two poly frames)

I would have hated to loose any one of those sales

Which of those would have of you lost because you "didn't do that"?

We would have loved for every client walking in the door all wanted fabric mats w/ filets and Gold Leaf frames with Museum Glass. We just aren't smart enough marketers to be able to do that and certainly not skilled enough salespeople to "upsell" that Star Wars poster into a $300 order

So, we had to satisfy those customers with what they wanted at prices maybe a "little higher" than they wanted to pay

We also sold two posters at $12.95 and two poster frames at $29.95 to a couple of college kids that needed "something" in their dorm room
 

Baer Charlton

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
In our 13' x 14' front "Showroom"... we have a large rack for the 3x5s up to the 8.5x11s... 11x14 through 16x20 are leaning against the wall.

We have replaced the low end when the supplier started sending up Walmart rejects.. and added hardwoods from Garrett. We still have some 11x14 at $14 but the hardwoods are in the $30s and out sell the cheap. We will stock heavy in late Oct... as we will be stripped naked by Dec 20th.

Am I missing out on a large chunk of change buy not pushing that custom Garret 38-078c for $160 frame vs the $40 frame.. no. In under 30 minutes, I can cut mats from scrap, glass and fit two of those frames, and she's happy and knows that when it counts, she can come back and get a fair deal on stock frames or a custom. More importantly, she's now OUR customer, not "theirs" (even though she was holding that 50% off coupon... untill I showed her how to get it 70% cheaper).

Now if the Christmas Tree Store in Cape Cod would just open up and sell wholesale.... I'd have a great RM program.

One thing we have noticed.... Woods are out selling Gold and Silver in RMs, unless it's smaller than 8x10 and the hair has a strong "blue" tint. :D
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jay, there is a world of difference between promoting a framing specialty as part of "we do everything" advertising, and actually specializing.

The three SuperCraftyStores within three miles of mine all refer some of their customers to me, because I specialize and they do not. I thank them for that.

Niche framing seems to be working quite well for me. If you have actually tried and failed with it, then I'm sorry it didn't work for you. Markets are different.

So, what's your strategy?
If you were to go into 10 shops and ask "what do you do that’s so great", the answers will mock your suggestions almost verbatim. Where does a customer go with that?

I don't really "push" 3D framing. Yet I too I get referrals from out Crafty Mart for services that I haven't ever "advertised". Maybe customers and Crafty Mart just EXPECT that small frame shops do that? If the super crafty mart WON'T do XXXXX then why spend resources telling people that you do? Odds are favorable you're going to get that work anyway and that's not because of some compelling ad campaign.

My strategy? You won't find many opperators that have changed gears so rapidly and drastically to nail down their strategy. It was not an easy question for me to figure out. I try to provide the best framing at the most competitive prices possible! There it is. It's that simple even though it covers a wide gamut of types of framing. If I had to narrow it down any further than that, I think it would have a negative impact.

Lets see a show of hands. Who here DOESN'T do shadow boxes or supery doupery archival type framing? I don't think we are at a point where we need to segregate ourselves. We are already segregated. If you ask me the original question proves that the public already considers us “specialized”. We need to do a better job de-specializing. We need to be more accessible. Kristie’s experience would only drive that point home!
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
We are a resort town, so there are a lot of people that have rental condos and rental houses. They come in with their own poster, or pick one out at my shop and say
"I just need something to put on the wall, what's the cheapest you can frame this for?"
I tell them the poster frame special $59.90-$109.90 depending on size, and 99 % of the time, I've got a sale. If I told them $200.00-$300.00 to frame a poster, they would have a hizzy fit right in the store, and then walk out. We do a ton of poster specials.
Bill
Ocean Art
 
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