Decor Winners

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Jun 16, 2000
First, Congrats to the winners that took the time to enter

Second, Where's the Beef?

We have some unbelievable winners with some truly staggering numbers without any insight into how they do it. I'm not talking confidential company screts here, but c'mon Decor, throw us a bone.

We have a phenomenal operator in Hawaii; does over a million in one store, 815K in another. Does it with one-two sales employees, one store is all on site framing and in 700 sq ft (up from 300 sq ft).

And all we get is a few paragraphs?

We have an operator that squeezes $57,000 net profit out of $208K with a ahusband/wife team and all we get is a few lousy paragraphs?

Where's the beef?

Yet, we get 5 1/2 pages on internet sales (5 of them fullpages), 3 1/2 pages on colors of mat boards, 3 full pages of spin from exhibitors at Atlanta

C'mon, John. Our Hawaiian friend should be an entire section all by himself; maybe an entire issue. How about a little depth and something we might learn.

Our Georgia friend getting that kind of bottom line out of $200K? And, you think there aren't a bunch of framers out there that would like to learn something from this guy?

You know these people have to turn in verified information. I don't think we are breaking any confidentiality issues if we scratch slightly below the surface. I mean, they offered up some data to win the contest. Don't you think there are some people that would love to learn something from these great operators?

5 1/2 pages of internet do's and don'ts and barely a half page on a guy that squeezes $57K out of $200k. There has to be something we all can learn from this guy

Where's the beef?
Bob, I'm glad you take things to the next level/step. I read the articles and thought, "that didn't tell me anything."

But, I never thought to post or ask about it. I guess I have been trained to expect and accept fluff from "mostly not useful" stuff in magazines.

I figure a nugget here a nugget there is all I'm going to get anyway. Hope you can actually get some meat off this bone! I'd love to know how they did it!!!

P.S. Congrats to the winners! Sorry I didn't say that first!
Yeah, I finally got my October issue and I agree. That's the kind of information that I LOOK for in a framing magazine!! Decor had it at one time. They published articles that delved into the "how to" end of framing and left the glitz to the other mags. but it seems that times are changing for everyone now.

I remember more than one post here on the G that pleaded for more information on the "how to" end of framing but it seems like all the magazines are into photo shoots and who is making how much and what color trends may be expected next spring. That is all well and good but give me some basic framing information once in awhile concerning the projects that are so well illustrated in Decor.

(BTW, John, I caught your new "image" in this issue! Were you recruited for special duty in Iraq or is this your minimal look??)

Ha! Just had to throw in that zinger on ya!

is 57 divide by 2 good?

i guess, maybe that is not the point
I too was disapointed in the lack of beef. The articles didn't tell why they won the awards just that they did.

One of the catagories was planned growth. Yet they never talked about the "plan".

is 57 divide by 2 good?
Not really but 28% net protfit is.
Come on, guys, give us a break. We only have so much room in DECOR to cover things, so we gave some of the pertinent information on each winner. Some don't want every detail of their financials published in a trade magazine, and I can't say that I blame them. So, we do what we can with the room we have and the information we can work with.

As to the technical articles, we've also been acutely aware of the need for more. That's why we're so excited about having acquired Framing Monthly (formerly Framing Business News), so that we have another vehicle that we can use specifically to address the need for technical and how-to information. Framing Monthly is undergoing a big repositioning to become that publication, and to tie in more directly with education offered at shows and other venues. So, while DECOR won't step away from technical articles, you'll see more and more of them in Framing Monthly.

BTW, you will see more on the winners in future issues of DECOR, so that we can go into a little more depth on each one.


P.S. My minimal look is already gone. The hair--what there is of it--is already growing back.

Just a little side note here....

Would you really won't to brag to your customers that your store/stores was voted most profitable over/under 300K? Would I like to win an award like that? Boy Howdy! That would be the one I would want. It just wouldn't be as useful in marketing as best design/best store interior/ yada yada.

I agree with Bob. I would like to have had at least a 10 page article on how to do volume framing in a 700 square foot space. Honestly when I read some of these things I think to myself 'yeah right! I think someone is pulling my leg'. With a little more back ground, maybe I would be convinced.
Hi Jerry-I must admit, I hadn't thought along the lines that "someone was pulling my leg". I truly have heard of our Hawaiian friend and he is the real deal from all accounts.

But, John, I ain't buying the space deal for one minute. You give up how many pages to mat colors that could have been done anytime, and how many pages to internet sales and how many pages to Baer's mat article? I know you have told us many times how desperate you are for great articles and that the articles per ad ratios are all about exactly that, ratios.

Well, you just got a gold mine of articles dumped in your lap. I'm thinking you just got 100 great stories.

But, here is the real beef.

I thought your answer sounded familiar and since we haven't visited for a while, I did a search and found that this was visited last year, with similar questions and similar answers.

Amazingly Dave brought up last year's winner in the under $300K and questioned the numbers. This gentleman won again this year with even more impressive numbers; this year he volunteered real dollars. C'mon, John, inquirying minds want to know a little about these winners.

I'm not picking on the winners nor the contest. But throw us a bone, please.

You have some great story lines here. I understand that not everybody wishes to divulge confidential, propriatary information. But, many of us share willingly of our time and our knowledge to help the trade.

Perhaps,as a condition of winning (and promoting the winning of the award), sharing a little ought to be a requirement?

I'll bet if you ask every single under $300K shop out there if they would like to figure a way to bottom line (net profit, according to the article) 28%, the answer would be unanimous.

Don't you think you would have a grateful readership?
I wanted to apply but I figured they would laugh at my application. I was going to apply for the "Retail Excellence in Growth under $300,000." My plan was very specific: "Try not to lose your @ss."

Heck I'm covered up. I made a plan and exceded it with flying colors. Look for me in the winners circle next year though.
I received a nice letter from a moulding supplier in Texas congratulating me on my shop being listed as a winner. They said that it was a great honor. That is the first I've heard about it. I haven't even seen a Decor to confirm it.

I think the way the winners are picked is by supplier nomination, but I am not sure.

If I did win, I do feel honored, I guess. I think I should have at least received an "Atta Boy" certificate or something to acknowledge this great honor from Decor, but that is all I have heard or seen, a letter from a moulding supplier.

I wish I could remember the name of the moulding supplier, I'm at home now & the letter is at work. They where very nice and I will find and post their name on this thread.

Wow, good for you John. You have certainly earned your place amoung them.....especially knowing you came up the hard way, it inspires the heck out of me.
I considered it a great honor for my shop to be listed; and it has inspired me to try to win one of the top spots in the coming years. I'm already using the award in my marketing and the local newspaper is doing another story. They did one three weeks ago when the shop celebrated 30 years in business but another is on the way because of the national prominence of this award. That's exposure that money can't buy.
Sherry, congratulations! STILL have not rec'd my copy of Decor so I'm having to rely on these posts to find out what's going on. Congrats to all the winners, but always thrilled when a NC shop wins!
When I read last year about the Art Shop in Greensboro turning 1.4 Million it made me stop and think. They don't diversify, they only sell oils, and they only do high end framing. It just really blows a whole in some of the theories we are hearing in our industry.

I would like to see more shops in the South in the top 100.

Congrats to all the winners.
I haven't recieved my copy yet either, but congradulations!

As a very small one person shop, With one part-timer(sometimes), I would love to hear more about the winners and what they are doing that makes them winners.

I need all the help I can get. I love to read in Picture Framing Magizine about the business's they feature. They haven't done that in a while and I would love to see more of that.

I just loved the thread where alot of you posted photos of your stores fronts. It's just nice to see other people successful and thriving in the same business I'm trying to thrive in. It really helps me to know that if I just keep working, I can achieve my dreams of making this little shop all it can be.

Again congradulations to all the winners, can't wait to see the photos.

Jennifer :D
Originally posted by J Phipps TN:
Again congradulations to all the winners, can't wait to see the photos.

Ain't many of those. As Bob said, it's just a brief overview. However, Jennifer, there are quite a few winners from Tennessee. You've just got to read the list to find them.

Before anyone thinks I am denigrating any winner, I am not. Congratulations.

200 people took the time to enter, 100 get an award. Hey, they entered and that's good enough for me.

But, we need to learn from these successful operators. Something they do just might make a difference on something you do. We all need to use these examples as what to do right

Now, just throw us a bone.

I know what Brother Tim has done to excel-he deserves it. His story would make a great profile

For accuracy, I went back and read the Georgia couple's story. And, again Congratulations.

But, I have an inkling that, when I look at those numbers (28% Bottom line Net Profit), I wonder if they reported their business activity as a Sole Propiertorship?

If they did, then the $57K reflects the Maintained Gross Profit which does not include any Salary for the owners.

If that was the case, then take all your personal payroll, matching witholding and owner's perks (medical, 401K, vehicle reimbursement, etc) and ADD that to your Bottom Line Net Profit.

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited to them. But if this is the case, then $57K divided by this husband/wife team to pay for all their personal income, their personal retirement, etc paints a slightly different picture of excellence.

If they paid themselves a generous salary, a meaningful benefits package and still netted $57K, then they deserve the Winner of the Year award.

But, we just don't know
Thanks Bob, appreciate the kind words. And congrats to all who have made the list.

Decor, you are more than welcome to come to Des Moines and profile our store. We just remodeled this year and look better than ever, we will submit photos for next years Top 100.

By the way, do we get a letter or certificate from Decor for being named to the Top 100?????
I don't get it. If 200 people/shops had to enter inorder to win, how did JRB get on the list without entering? Or was that something else?

Just realized that you may have been talking about the other Tim. Sorry Tim and Bob.

Decor, you are still invited
I never entered anything, I am just about positive that West Coast, CMI moulding entered my store.

I did receive a copy of Decor today. It is actually pretty cool to be listed as one of the top 100 custom framing retailers in the U.S.

We have changed all of our advertising mediums to reflect this. It has been a busy day. I looked for that letter and I have not found it yet, it is frustrating because those folks really where nice and I would like to acknowledge them publicly. I will keep looking.

Both Tim's run great operations. I did know that Tim in Des Moines won, but was also glad that Tim in Virginia did, as well.

I stand by my statement that we all can learn from both of these great operators and if Decor will profile them in depth, I am sure we will
I agree it's hard to read the article, and without knowing how the business is set up, to figure out the bottom line. I am a corporation; so part of my earnings are salary and part a draw. But a lot of businesses are set up differently and without knowing this it's hard to figure from the info given in the article. Decor seems to be between a rock and a hard place... giving a sketch of the business operations without offending the winner by telling all. Thanks Janet for your kind words.
OK, I've finally found out the absolute facts on how the winning shops are selected. Every frame shop in North America has to go through an extremely rigorous pre-qualification then qualification series of testing and evaluation by some of the top experts on business and framing in the world.

The shops are judged on business acumen, profitability, layout and design, cleanliness, and the quality of the work and the designs produced. It is a very tough and demanding ordeal to go through for any shop owner. To be even considered for this coveted award is a great honor and it makes it all worth it, especially if your shop is one of those selected.

If your shop didn't past muster, well, there is always next year.

Well today we received in the mail a very beautiful certificate attesting to our being one of the top 100 art and framing retailers. We have already incorporated the honor in our advertising. Now we have the certificate (atta boy) to back it up.

I guess I should not have been such a jerk in my previous responses. It really is a cool thing to have, but more importantly, to be nationally recognized for something after thirty years in this business. It really did make my day to receive it, even if I don't know how I qualified for it.

So, to Decor magazine and TruView Products, I would like to publicly apologize for my previous snotty comments. I also want to thank you for including my shop among the winners.

Congratulations John, that is an awesome accomplishment. You must be doing the moon walk around your shop.

Maybe not.