How many moulding suppliers....


Feb 26, 2006
Union Springs, New York
How many moulding suppliers did you guys start out with? I'm starting my research into the nuts and bolts of opening up a shop! Who was your first supplier?

A second (silly) question.... what is a "chop"? Is it a piece cut to a specific length with mitred ends? Are you supposed to be able to join as is, or cut your own mitres?

Thanks, Kari
I started out with 5 and built them up to 12. Now I use 4 and will soon be 3 then possibly 2.

Clear as mud?

And yes, a 'chop' is pre-cut frame rails ready to assemble.

A few companies offer what they call 'straight cut' which is pre-cut to length rails without the mitered ends.
Much like Jerry I used to carry about 10 but have reduced that to 4. My reason being so that my orders will be consolidated and therefore a bit larger in order to get better discounts and keep costs lower. In addition I am considered a better customer with these fewer vendors and thereby have a bit more clout and they will make some accommodations to me as needed.
Kari, First I would take HUGE advantage of PPFA right now...

Besides joining (for Life if they are offering it yet), start at one end of the bookstore and buy everything about framing.... don't laugh, it's the best $843 investment you can make in yourself.

Next, Atlanta, Vegas, Vegas. . . and I think there was a New York thrown in there somewhere.

I have never worked at a shop that didn't have at least 4 moulding suppliers and one Closed Corner supplier.

The big guys are good, but there are plenty of small chop services or manufactures that make wonderful stuff, and don't seem to be out of it when you most want it.

Also the small guys remember that you are a small guy too, and reward your patronage faster.

There are small shops and Big Boxes in almost every aspect of business.

Kari -
I will second what Baer said about joining the PPFA - - -
As a matter of fact, there is an introductory membership of only $50 - see the following link for additional info:
Click on: "Join PPFA" and it will bring up the application form, fill it out and send it in. There are several members in your region, and by attending local chapter meetings, you will increase your knowledge & skills. Don't be afraid to ask for help - - - Framers are "nice" people.
We started with about 12 companys, and I'd NEVER do that again! Too many little bills!

I prefered to have about three companys. Better service, smaller choice selection, and easier when you pay the bills!
I think you are reading from experience here. It feels nice to have all of these companies that want your business, but it hurts you. You have all these bills, and no leverage with the compaines. If you have two big guys and a third for specialty items that should work. Be sure to pick companies that deliver and have a full line for your primaray vendors. You want them to have wood, golds, silvers, blacks, traditional and modern. Also they should have some of the funky finishes. The third vendor could be something unique, that you might not use every day, but might be a hole in the other vendors lines-or an upgrade.

The less vendors, the better. It's soooo tempting to have lots though. We learned this the hard way. And having at least two that deliver is very important.