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Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Artifacts Gal, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    After 30+ years, we are planning on closing our store at the end of the year, for several reasons, and are seeking advice from any Grumbler who has been through this experience. When and how did you inform your customers? Sales reps? Any other tips? Thanks.
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  2. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Something you might also do is ask your sales reps or regional suppliers for input. They often have great advice.
    Artifacts Gal and Jim Miller like this.
  3. Starving Artist

    Starving Artist CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I have helped two shops close in the last year.

    If your not going to sell you business --the best advice is to say as little as possible. When your customers know your closing they will either not come or will want a special because you will not be there to help them next year.

    If you tell other businesses you plan -- they will either take advantage of the information to promote their business or just undercut your closing
    As for sales reps and suppliers -- It is a hard question---They will either help you close or they will tell everyone they meet. If you have equipment to sell they may be helpful -- The problem is they are going to tell all the other businesses your closing.

    Look at it this way--"Do you want income up to the day you close ?" With the holiday's around the corner --do you want those sales? Customers love store "going out of business sales", but only if they are getting special prices.

    I think the less you say--the better it will be for you. I know after 30 years you fell like you owe your customers (friends) to tell them something --- but how many business you have purchased from just gone without a word.
    Artifacts Gal and tedh like this.
  4. Al B

    Al B CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I agree with Starving Artist - the best advice is to say as little as possible until the very end or until it becomes very obvious. You will have to stop taking in jobs at some point. However, if you have a sales rep that you have know for the 30 years that you trust and cares about you - go ahead and share the information with them. Shayla is right they know the business and can be a great resource. Display cabinets, inventory, samples, equipment, etc. can be sold this way with little effort. They may know people who are looking for things you have. Be careful - you don't want to lose sales over the holiday season. If you share the information with the wrong individual - the closing will spread like wildfire. The best advice is to make sure you have control of the situation - if you are able to leave without telling anyone - you can place a carefully penned note on your door explaining that you are ready for the next exciting adventure life has in store for you while thanking them for their patronage over the last thirty years.
  5. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks, I will!
  6. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks, that is an interesting perspective.
  7. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks for this confirmation of what we were thinking!
    Al B likes this.
  8. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    When I closed my first shop, I did tell my best customers. The come running to get things framed. Busiest time of the store. Last month I did put out a sign about closing. OMGosh, the vultures. Almost cleaned out.
    Artifacts Gal likes this.
  9. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I would not say anything until the very end. How firm is the end of the year date? I think I would close quietly at the end of January instead. Sell your equipment on here or in the Underpinner group on Facebook. Send me pm if you are not a member and want to be one.

    I would not ask my reps at this point. Maybe a month in advance to see if they know of any shops who might be interested in equipment/stock.

    Good luck. Never easy but hope you close for all the right reasons (like retirement)
  10. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    And make sure you listen to all these people more than to me. :)

    The comment about people coming out of the woodwork for framing brings to mind when a shop I worked at closed in 1996. The husband of one of our customers stopped my boss on the street and asked if she could just let me design three more things for his wife, please, please, please. She told him sorry, but it was too late. It felt good to know how much people liked my work, and they were happy when I popped up one block over a month later. However you choose to close, I hope that it goes smoothly and well. Thirty years is a great run, and I wish you many glad times ahead.
    JWB9999999 and Al B like this.
  11. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    We have been telling our best customers / friends, and they have been bringing in projects to be done before we go. I'm thinking we should wait until after the holiday season to make it more generally known. Lots of loose ends to tie up after 30+ years, needless to say.
    shayla likes this.
  12. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Another perspective:

    After a 30 year run, whatever happens in the last 3-4 months is probably not going to make/break you.

    That said, if you have the option of actually closing say 1/31/17, I probably wouldn't say anything to anyone until after Christmas.

    OTOH, if your lease is up 12/31/16 I still wouldn't make it "public knowledge" until about mid-December, when you've already gotten most/all of the orders you're going to be able to complete before Christmas.

    If you're not selling the "business" the amount you'll get from any equipment/materials/supplies is going to be peanuts compared to what you've gotten over the years, and in fact may well be trumped by profitable sales you could potentially capture by not announcing your closure until you have to.

    Possibly totally tangent to the conversation - did you consider selling the business? Even if you only ended up getting a minimal amount for the "blue sky" portion, you could still come out ahead:
    • One "customer" for all materials/equipment/supplies.
    • With a good transition plan, your customers can continue to be served.
    • Potential residual income if you stay on for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.
    • Potential "previous owner discount" on anything you need framed in the future... :)
    Whatever route you take, I wish you all the best. As others have said - 30 years is a Great (and Impressive) run.
    JWB9999999 and shayla like this.
  13. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    The date is not set in stone - we own the building we're in and will be selling it. The prospective buyer would let us rent from him if it came to that (but we don't intend for that to happen.) I like the end of January as a target date. I am a member of the Grumble and have listed a few items on the appropriate forum (with much more to come, I'm sure) thanks for the offer of help becoming a member!
  14. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the good wishes! I worked in another shop for 8 years before I opened our shop, so 38 years of framing, it's time for a change!
    shayla likes this.
  15. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    We own the building we're in. Unfortunately our business district, which 30 years ago was a thriving working class retail corridor, has slowly declined to the point of being no longer viable for a frame shop. This is a lot of the reason we're closing. So we're selling the building, not the business. Our equipment is simple, old and well maintained, but not worth much money, I'm afraid. Thanks for the kind wishes!
    shayla, FM Framer and David Waldmann like this.
  16. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I closed a family business which had been going for over 50yrs. It was a book shop artshop and laterly we did framing. I was 3rd generation but my dad wanted to retire and like you it was at the wrong end of a dying town. I took a pragmatic view to set up again just doing commercial framing (we already had some commercial clients). I haven't looked back 12 yrs on.

    It was very hard to see something you had been involved in since you can remember close, harder for my dad too and it caused a rift. Looking back it was 100% the right decision, holding onto something out of sentiment or family loyalty is totally wrong in business.

    My advice would be tell as few people as possible but if you can confide in someone in the trade to help get of machinery and fittings all the better, but if the us is anything like the UK I don't think you will have a problem.

    Having said all that you have just told all of us!!!!

    Have you got alternative plans?

    All the best for the future.
    Artifacts Gal likes this.
  17. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks for sharing your experience and for your good wishes. We are still figuring out what we'll do after the store closes! But it has to be done, that much we're sure of. I am burned out on framing after 38 years.....time for a change.
  18. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    My eternal question is what do picture framers retire into as so many see picture framing as a retirement business. You will find something to do but what ever you do enjoy it.
    Artifacts Gal likes this.
  19. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

  20. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Perhaps spinning it, and spin it hard, directly to your customers.

    Maybe something like this?
    Dear Customers,
    We are choosing to sell our building as this is the best market we've seen in years for real estate. The downside is, this means we will have to close our beloved frame shop. We're writing to you, for those who have enjoyed our unique style of framing, that we are starting a "countdown clock". All orders placed within this time are guaranteed to be finished. We will also be rewarding our special customers, like you, with specials on in-stock frame styles. We appreciate the years you have come to us, and we look forward to seeing you during this "countdown". Feel free to stop in for framing, or even just to say "Hi!" as we plan for the future of our building, and ourselves.
    Artifacts Gal likes this.
  21. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I like that Chris, but I would still wait until after December to announce that. Since there is no actual hurry, I'd wait another few weeks.
  22. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Thanks for this idea and "spin" on the situation. We will be putting this to use soon!
  23. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

  24. drandall

    drandall CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    After 30 years you most probably have quite a nice client list. You may want to wait till the end and sell that list to someone you think deserves it and will serve your former clients well. Maybe that's no concern at all. Let the local market sort itself out.
    Artifacts Gal and Al B like this.
  25. Al B

    Al B CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    You could also get business cards from that business and hand them to customers that inquire about where they could go next.
    Artifacts Gal likes this.
  26. all 10 fingers

    all 10 fingers True Grumbler

    The shop I used to work at recently closed (retirement) and when we found out the owner was referring his clients to us, we brought him a stack of business cards and struck a deal. His clients seem to really appreciate the hand-off and he has access to a frame shop for personal work that he never took the time to do in the 30 years he had his own!
    Artifacts Gal and Al B like this.
  27. Artifacts Gal

    Artifacts Gal CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    We're still deciding what to do about referring our customers to another framer, or not. Many of our old local colleagues have retired. We will certainly recommend using small independent framers, no chain frame shops, but beyond that we're not sure!
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