Hobby Lobby

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 14, 2004
Kingsport TN
Fellow Grumblers,

My little "High End" Frame Shop has been open 4 years now. We feel pretty established but I guess you never feel secure.
My question is,
There is a Hobby Lobby opening up pretty near us,
What kind of impact should I expect to feel?
Are they the kind of store that takes over and puts everybody else out or is framing just a side line for them?

We already have a Ben Franklin in town, I'm sure they will feel the biggest hit,I was just wondering if any of you have one that opened up after you, and if you did what was the effect?

Also, Someone told me that the Craig Ponzio Line was only for High end framers, not discounters, Does any one know if that's true or not?

Just trying to prepare,

Kingsport, TN :confused:
Jennifer, I think LJ is more concerned about your location rather than whether or not you are considered "High End." (That could certainly be open to interpretation.) If you're not a storefront, they won't sell to you anyway.

There may indeed be some criteria about which end you support (did I say that right?) but I'm not sure I've heard too much about that.

It's good to meet you. Actually I carry Craig Ponzio, what I meant to ask is, Is a large Discount Store like Hobby Lobby able to carry it or do they just sell LarsonJuhls bread a butter line. Someone once told me that they are't allowed since they offer such large discounts. that the Ponzio collection is reserved for the "High End" framing stores. I just hope it's true.

also, I love that they won't sell to people without store fronts. I really wish other moulding suppliers would follow suit. It's really hard to beat the pieces of garage framers with no over head. But I'm sure there are people out there who don't feel the same way.
To be honest I would love to frame out of my home,I'm just not zoned for it and they are very restrictive in my nieghborhood.

Hobby Lobby is well-managed and serious about framing. It's not a "loss-leader" even if there is such a thing.

I also overheard a HL framer explaining to a customer how to save money by taping her poster to corrugated and putting it in a metal frame kit.

They may not do things the way you do them, but they will run large, frequent ads.

It's interesting that in our market (and apparently in yours) Hobby Lobby was not intimidated by Ben Franklin but there are those who think that the reason we don't have a Michaels in our market is because they don't want to lock horns with HL.

There is some debate about whether L-J will sell the Craig Ponzio line to the big boxes. Personally, I haven't seen any sign of it in our HL.

I'm actually in there sometimes to get fabrics and art supplies. I'll take a closer look at the framing department next time.

Oh, and you should know that there are some very fine home-based framers on The Grumble, including MerpsMom. ;)
Hobby Lobby owns their own moulding manufacturing facility. You will not see LJ's moulding in Hobby Lobby. However, they are big and buy all their foam, mats and glass direct so expect some competition. They "Do Not" advertise their framing as aggressive as Michaels and JoAnne's and they are closed on Sunday's. If you are open on Sunday, you already have one advantage.
I hope I didn't affend any home based framers, to be honest I'm jealous and would love to be able to do it. It is the best of both worlds without the overhead. But I still hate competing with them, Just can't beat them on price.

Again I'm sorry, I'm just jealous!
Aw....not to worry, Jennifer. We're pretty laid-back around here, and there are some of us who are other-based: just not sure how many.

However, there is one little point to be made of this. I am absolutely higher than a lot of storefront shops. If you build your clientele carefully, give them kingly service, gain their confidence, and talk a lot, you deserve to be rewarded by being called "high end." But then, I think most of us who love this board and participate do all of the above.

Welcome to the G, and hope to see more of you.

P.S. I have that "talk a lot" thing to a fair-thee-well. Ron, Framerguy, Kit, and others will attest to it.
Michaels and HobbyLobby opened within about a year of each other in Rochester. I saw an immediate decrease in the amount of Precious Moments cross stitch I was asked to frame.

(What ever happened to the jumping-up-and-down-celebrating graemlins?)

and the latch hook kits, the big furry kind. Ooh, yeah those will dwindle dramatically, too!

Don't cry, the Kinkades will still come in for viewing pleasure!
Jennifer, I was glad to see your subsequent post regarding home based (garage) framers. To me that term has a negative tone and didn't sit very well, but you cleared it up, thank you and welcome.

I'm home based because I still have a full time job. One that I dislike very much. However after 30 years I still have to wait 4 more to reach an age that I'd be comfortable in retiring. Currently, I'm in the process of relocating to Omaha. But I will return in 4 years and I will indeed go into this full time and hopefully open a small store front.

All that being said, with my volumes, only doing this two nites a week and Saturday, I don't see me as much of a threat to anyone. Thanks to this forum however, I feel my prices are right in line with everyone elses in my area storefront or not.

Mike - St. Louis
Thank you, Ellen, for saying that. I have held my tongue about the big boxes, the home based framers,etc, having been both. There are actually very talented folks that work from both. Now, how long the talented framers work at Mi.. or HL is a different story.
I have also run across ahem, shall we say, "uneducated" framers in some very high end independent shops, the walls sagging under the weight of the most luxurious mouldings samples. It isn't the inside of the shop I want to know about, it is the inside of the frame job that really interests me. Now, I am guessing that the framers that I am talking about either moved on, or were eventually fired. (I hope)
Education, education, and a little enlightenment to some of you retailers gone framers that are putting down some of us that have been fixing and framing mistakes from, gasp, yes, a seemingly high end shop, in our basement.

No offense to you Jennifer, I'm sure you have a fine shop, and I imagine you do a quality job. I guess this is the point where I stress- there are many, many reasons folks are home-based. Not all of which have to do with a lack of knowledge, seriousness about the craft, or a lack of education of the business world. Sometimes it is a temp. situation, sometimes it is a hobby that should have remained a hobby. It is very, very difficult to determine the talent of a framer by their wrapping, so to speak.
For you old-time grumblers ( I did not say YOU were old! )this is a dead horse. I guess I am just thankful the newbies that are starting out today are surrounded by info. about the ill effects of masking tape and cardboard, and know from the beginning there is a better choice. Whether they choose it or not is more b/c they are cheap, or trying to cut COGS, not b/c they are ill-informed.
Now, I feel better. Goodness, Ellen, did you know you were gonna start THAT?
I would KILL to be home-based.

I could spend my days listening to good music, ignoring the phone, eating and posting to The Grumble.

Oh, never mind. That's what I do now.
I have a Hobby Lobby within a block of my shop. I get more referrals from them than any other shop in the area. The last customer referred said that Hobby Lobby was going to take 2 weeks to cut a simple mat that I cut while the customer waited.

I agree with Ron "I would KILL to be home-based."
It would save me about $4500 a month. Not including all the stress related to owing a business. I could watch my hair gray as I read and signed a 36 page 5 year lease. I feel more gray coming in just thinking about it.
So far the closest HL is about 20 miles away. The two closest framers went out of business within a year, BUT they were what I would call marginal framers anyway. They were not cheap in price, but their work was not top quality. In one, the framing was done by a guy who was legally (but not totally) blind, in a dirty barn with a dirt floor.

My point is that the framing offered was no better than HL's and more expensive....I think as long as you have a unique selection, do top quality work, make the customer feel special, are reasonably priced (note I did not say cheaply), you should have no problem.

It is inevitable that we will get a Big Box sooner or later, and that is how I plan on proceeding.

I was mostly (but not entirely) joking.

If being home-based was was truly a financial advantage in the marketplace, why aren't we ALL doing it?

You'd spend that $4500 in extra advertising so people could find you.
OK, Someone said Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays... Well, I am closed on Sundays and Mondays as well.
This has always worked very well for me, I have three kids and need to recoop after the weekend. Plus all of the other shops where closed too. Now with HL moving in, I'm wondering if I should reconsider my hours?
What do you think?
I actually respect Hobby Lobby for being closed on Sundays. I don't know why they do that, but I like to pretend it indicates a respect for family and maybe even church. (I realize this is a reach.)

You should try to distinguish yourself from them, but let's not overdo it.
Ron: Hobby Lobby's "owners/management" is very religious and that is why they are closed on Sundays. In today's marketplace especially with the big box opening going on, being open on Sunday could be an advantage. Many of us Heathens shop on Sunday.
Isn't this the case with Chick-fl-a (or however you spell it)?
Hobby lobby is across the parking lot from us, our sale have not gone don since they opened (7-9 years ago) but they have hurt us since they are still getting business. If I could pick up the business that they get I would have to hire more people and get more space. Just got more space and am in the process of hireing more people....growth is great!
Being A HL Framer I can tell you that yes many independant stores carry a wide variety of frames. We do have our own manufacture of frames, and we use Nielsons as well. We do carry a couple of Larson frames, but not many. We dont think that we are major competion, and under no circumstances wanting to drive out the independants. We just offer them somthing different, as do you in your independant shops. We are closed on Sundays , we are owned by the Greens and they are a strong baptist family. The time on sunday is spent to worship and spend time with our families.
I guess everyone's experiences are different, but have two Michael's within 10 miles of us, along with an AC Moore and two Ben Franklins (along with a local 3-store chain of Michaels' wannabes). They may have, indeed, taken some of our business, but it's not business that we miss (I'll do 1 $400 job over 10 $40 jobs anyday).

Our impact is with people who want more than the BBs can offer ... we're not crank-it-out, mass merchants. As a matter of fact, we get referrals from all those stores for jobs that are too involved (read expensive) or too big (read expensive) for them to handle. And a shop like ours (and yours, presumably) will always offer more of a personal touch than the BBs will ever be able to do.

As far as the Ponzio issue is concerned, you hafta know that the suppliers will sell to whomever they choose if their corporate plans deem it necessary.

Moral: Be concerned, be professional, be accomodating, and you will have no worrys from the MacFramers.

All of this is worth any higher pricing your quality customers may encounter.