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your competition

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by joe, Apr 26, 2000.

  1. joe

    joe CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Here is a question I would like to ask the storefront framers( I frame at home). How much competition do you have... say in a square mile area around your shop? I've wondered about too many framers in a small area; such as a small town business district.
    Also, how do you relate toyour competition? Do you cooperate or throw bricks at each other? This is one reason I haven't opened a shop; too much comptition in a small area. Therefore is this a problem---too many framers competing in a small geographical area?

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  2. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are better off looking for an area where you can have less competition starting out. But it depends on your competition. Check them out. Ask around about what they sell and their quality. If you hear good things it will be an uphill battle. You might check to see if one of them is considering getting out of the business, perhaps you can acquire an ongoing concern, which will give you a leg up.

    Try to be objective about what you hear. Depending on your enthusiasm you may overlook the bad signs. Then consider location, location and location.

    Good luck.

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    Timberwoman
    AL
    I cut the mat, I pet the cat.
     
  3. Scarfinger

    Scarfinger Guest

    14 years ago I opened in this location. 6 months later another framer opened in the same block. My business went up. A few months later a framer opened a block away. My business went up. A few more months later another framer arrived in the block on the other side. My business went up. The last framer was the first to close. My business went down a little. Then the 2nd to last framer closed. My business dropped a bit again. A few years later another opened across the street. My business went up. All these years later I have framers on the block on each side of me. This is good. Competition is great when the customers can compare easily and you are the best. We are the best at what we do and the framer down the street is good for another type of customer. The balance is good and although she and I don't talk, I'm sure she likes her position and is happy to leave me in mine.
     
  4. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Scarfinger has the comment of the day in my books "the framer down the street is good for another type of customer", well said!

    Competition is all around us, from my point of view a shoe store can be competition as they seek dollars from my potential customers pocket. We are in a luxury market, our products are not necessary for day to day life. Keep your competition in perspective at all times, often it seems to be the framer down the road, however as Scarfinger has noted "opposition" can grow the market.
     
  5. accent

    accent True Grumbler

    We choose to cooperate as much as possible. One of our competitors has been located 2 blocks away . We are friends and help each other when we can.
    On another note we have formed a group with 5 other framers with a total of seven stores. We advertise together as well as participate in various promotions together. This has proven to be one ofthe best moves we have made to date.
    All of our members have contributed different ideas when we meet ever two weeks.
    This is our 3rd year in this association.
    Working together ALWAYS is to everyones benefit.
    Keep on framin. Accent
     
  6. Le

    Le CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    There is a shop a mile north of me. There is a shop a mile south of me. There is a shop a mile east of me, and there is a shop two blocks over and four blocks south. There have been two other shops in the area that closed. My business has changed because of each of these shops, but I am still captain of my ship and it's a big ocean.
     
  7. JPete

    JPete <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    Choice and selection are why people shop a community. In our area people drive 40 miles to shop and the mix of stores, Medical facilities and events bring them here. The more they have to chose from the more people you will have.

    Then it is location, location, is it accesabile, good parking and not had other business fail at that location.

    We have always been on good terms and shared needed products with our competitors.
     
  8. TADPORTER

    TADPORTER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    My nearest comp. is 1 mile away. There are three other shops within two miles. This was a concern at first so I determined how to set myself apart.

    I focus on higher end/quality/design whereas the nearest competitor is a lower end, volume-based chain store. This has helped me because at that point customers can compare and easily see the difference in quality and design. I will draw the higher end customers who are not comfortable with bringing their important/valuable items to a chain.

    The other shops that are near that are doing high end stuff tend to be more traditional where I am more contemporary and innovative. We each have our own group that we focus on. I am in a high growth/high income area and as of right now there is room for all of us as long as we dont step on each other. I frequently send customers to them who are seeking their group of artists and they do the same for me.

    I find competition to be more helpful than damaging. However, that could always change.

    "Facts are stupid things." --Ronald Reagan
     
  9. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    LOL! (thanks AL)

    Our industry is just the funniest at times, we all work together so well and so often customers would almost pull their hair out to know how friendly we are with other framers. As several of the framers in my area work on projects that are unusual or out of the bounds of our machinery etc.

    Quick fact, Hamilton pop. approx.165000
    # of framers 42
     
  10. woody

    woody CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    In my area (about 10,000 homes according to coupon reps who try to sell me) I have 3 main competitors. One is a discount chain, one a highend gallery, and the other a lower priced shop. There are various home framers, too. Though I call them competitors, I rarely ever hear my customers talk about them so don't have much of a feel about how competitive they really are to me. However, it's all academic now anyway. I plan to close down my store at the end of May. In an earlier discussion we talked about an "industry-wide melt down". I don't know if that is true or not but framing in my area had definitely undergone a shift over the past year or year and a half. I hear of various shops on the verge of closing and have seen two distributors close down. The largest full line distributor left recently merged/was bought out by another group out of state. All of which points to a changing marketplace here in Utah. So, it's a job hunt for me and maybe some home framing on the side (goodbye Larsen Juhl). As you can imagine, this past few months have been an emotional period as I struggled with the reality of terminating a 16 year business. I still have work and probably could continue but at what cost to self and reserves. Now that I have made the decision, I actually feel somewhat liberated, as if the ball and chain is about to be removed. Hopefull I can carry that optimism into the "real" world outside self employment.
     
  11. TADPORTER

    TADPORTER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Woody-
    You mentioned there were 3 main competitors, are any of those doing well?
     
  12. woody

    woody CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Hard to tell. The discount chain has 30 or 50 off sales it seems like every other week. The high end shop has just moved to a new upgraded location, thanks in large part I understand, to heavy emphasis on commercial work and much work for the Mormon Church (very expensive moulding for all the new temples they are building worldwide). Have no real information on the other. If traffic on their parking lot is any guide no better than mine.
     
  13. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    My sympathies, Woody. Of course you have thought out every detail of this, but have you asked your customers if they would "follow" you home? Without the usual overhead, you might be able to remain queen of your own life.
     
  14. woody

    woody CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Mel, I am working on that. Biggest problem is that my shop is in the next county to my home, more than 20 miles away. I do intend to do some work at home and will try to swing some customers that way offering pickup and delivery.
     
  15. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Woody, because I'm 12 miles from town--I am literally in the middle of wheat country--I do pickup and always deliver. Seems to go a long way with folks, and I always get paid and never have finished jobs sitting around.
    Not exactly on subject, but as has been said by others: Take what you can use and skip the rest.
     
  16. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Mel, when you deliver do you offer to hang the frame for them?, good service like that is becoming rare around here. Woody all the best for your future do have a go at framing from home, you obviously are addicted.
     
  17. MerpsMom

    MerpsMom <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    Good luck from me, too, Woody. I tried to e-mail you but it came back to me. We GardenLevel framers can probably give you some tips, so if you need us, just let us know!
     
  18. Mel

    Mel MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Lance and JPete: Since TG doesn't provide audio (thank goodness) so I won't hear the hissing, the answer to the offer to hang is this: My husband is a lawyer and my own legal background (litigation paralegal) is enough to discourage me from offering to do something that can too easily go wrong. If my customer were to ask (puts this more in the favor catagory), and if it were a staight-forward installation, I would do it. So far, no one has asked. Teeny difference, but such things can turn on those differences sometimes. Before accepting a check, I make a bit of a production of unwrapping (in brown kraft paper) so they see the back (black kraft paper) first, then turn it over for that dramatic moment. Almost without fail, they say: This is better than Christmas! Maybe this puts off the request to hang.

    My apologies again, Woody, if this side-tracks your subject. Anything any of us can do, I'm sure you know is available to you.
     
  19. Le

    Le CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Woody, Thanks for the help you have so willingly offered along the way. I wish you the best whatever choices you make
     
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