SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 9, 2001
Skaneateles,NY USA
is this what everyone is talking about in collaboration with Larson?? Interesting, but I don't like how they state their price and the "anywhere else" price :(

Does anyone know if this is just an online venture or is it in their store too?? The store nearest me is very small, and I've seen no signs of expansion.

Free enterprise

Just curious

Hi Elaine, I just got an email announcement of this venture, too. Do the frames look like Larson frames? I couldn't tell.

Wow, Vettriano is a category unto himself.

We have a small JoAnn in here, but I figure it's only time before an ETC. steamrolls into town. The closest one is north of Columbus, about 50 miles from here.
from the picture it is hard to tell whose frames they are - so many are knockoffs of Larson; thought I recognized a couple, but who knows!
<FONT SIZE="4">I have heard that Larson-Juhl's owner Warren Buffett also owns
Jo-ann Store's.

After a little investigation here is what I have found. and are registered to
the same company. I am not sure if <A HREF=""></A> and are connected.
But both sites look very similar.</FONT></P>

<A HREF="">
I didn't know The Grumble came out in a large-print edition.

Very nice for some of our older Grumblers.
I am not sure if and are connected.
But both sites look very similar.
Yes they are.
There are links between the 2 sites.

It used to be that the quality of an independent framer was considerably higher than that of the big boxes, but with the "partnership" of Larson & Jo~Anns this is no longer the case.

I feel that Larson has stabbed the independent framer in the back with this unholy union.
I think I'd better respond to this before Bob Carter gets here.

Let's say Jo Ann Fabrics has L-J's full line of mouldings. Let's further suppose that L-J is cutting and joining all of Jo Ann's frames. (They cut and join quite a few of mine.)

Will that automatically make the quality of Jo Ann's framing much better than every other big box? If so, then framing is much simpler than I thought and we have other problems to worry about.

Personally, I know exactly one L-J employee who is a better designer and framer than I am, and I don't expect to see Greg Perkins working at Jo Ann's.

What, exactly, are we all afraid of?
Ah the monthly LJ Conspiracy thread
My Sunday paper now has a full ad section for both JoAnn and Michael (new couple!!??!).. offering the infamous 50% off... blah blah blah..

It ruffles my feathers to a point... but most people go to framers based more on location - in their neighborhood!!

BUT - how can we advertise and state the falsehood of their discounts??? That is what I am trying to do - to capture my local audience and encourage them to support local independent retailers (before we no longer exist because of the big boxes) - to tell them that the product being used may be the same, they may be doing the same "function" of framing, but the designer and the cost will differ depending on where they go...WITHOUT MENTIONING the names of this couple!!

Any ideas on that line of thinking for adverstising!?

I was doing a little mental exercise the other day. I was trying to figure out the single biggest thing that bugged me about each of my major suppliers.

One of them frequently gives me 3/16"-1/4" allowance on frames instead of the customary 1/8". Another pulls the wrong mats - maybe transposing a couple of digits in the number.

When I got to L-J, I couldn't think of ANYTHING. It used to make me furious that they started selling directly to some of my customers. They stopped doing that. For a while, there were frequent out-of-stocks. Now they are usually able to ship from another location. We've had some truly awful reps, but the recent ones have been among the best in the business.

I just can't bring myself to hate them because they're big.
I just went on the website... and played around with designing a picture on line - it is SO limiting... but some people are not bothered by that...

At the same time, I can use it to my advantage to design and see the piece and they even offer you the option of showing the wall color behind...

I have sold retail packaging and the company I represented had a lackluster black and white catalog. The competition has beautiful full color catalogs... I would show the visuals from the competition and sell FROM their catalog for my company!!

Originally posted by Rozmataz:

BUT - how can we advertise and state the falsehood of their discounts??? Roz
That is a good point Roz. I have had a good many of my customers try some of these big box framers and come back. Most say it is because of design or selection or quality but I bet in every case it is price. Just because the sign says 50% off does not make it a good deal.

There needs to be some way we can communicate their bogus discounts.

I'm always open to suggestions.
Will that automatically make the quality of Jo Ann's framing much better than every other big box? If so, then framing is much simpler than I thought and we have other problems to worry about.
I believe the anwser is YES.

Larson does join all of their frames, cuts all of there mats and even cuts their glass. Design has nothing to do with the quality of the job. It does have averything to do with quality of the presentation.

I guess thats why Jo Ann's now offers a 10% additional discount (we'll beat anyone's written quote)if you let some other framer design your job for them.

I to like LJ, but I feel that this allaince is will be bad for LJ in the long run.
If LJ chops their frames like they have been chopping mine lately, we will have no worry!

I was just curious if this was the alliance that everyone had been talking about. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. I believe coupons are "perception" marketing. Most often discounting is perceived as less valuable or cheaper, therefore, you get what you pay for - even if it is higher priced than what we might charge. If the product lacks in quality, then the customer feels ripped off and they go somewhere else - hopefully to us.

It is interesting to see LJ ads on highend TV - Fine Living channel and then see them in the lower end of the market through Joanns - Now thats a situation to ponder ! Driving high end customers to local frameshops and driving business to Joanns through coupons...

for what it is worth, my 2 cents

Perception Marketing? Isn't that what all advertising is about? Trying to create a favorable Impression?

The one thing we all have to do is to exhibit some Intellectual Honesty. We simply can't sit back taking cheap shots when we really don't understand the problem.

We continue to talk about Larson and Michael's (and Kinkade and Martha Stewart and...) without recognizing that these people do something (no, a lot of things) very well.

Instead of trying to find the winning ideas they so successfully use, we focus on the broad stroke silliness about Bogus discounts and Perceptions.

I will bet anyone that I can find many framers in this town that have regular prices higher than Michael's purported "inflated prices".

The fact that Micheal's creates such a "favorable" perception (that being that they draw on average 6 times the business that the average framer does)is all the proof that what is wrong has nothing to do with them. But, maybe a little Intellectual Honesty on our part gets in the way of making decisions.

This LJ arrangement with JoAnn's is simply another tool that a distributor is offering to the trade.

Everybody on this forum can get a frame cut and joined by Larson, and almost every other distributor that I am aware of.

I won't speak in defense of Larson; frankly, they choose the high road and they sure don't need my help. But I hate it when we act like we have some "higher knowledge" than these gifted marketers; that we know something that those idiots simply can't figure out.

If we are in possession of all these "silver bullets" of wisdom, why can't we turn them into silver in the till? Why do we consistently have volumes that so unfortunately small, compared to any of the most egregious of the "violators"

If we are all so **** smart, why aren't we all so rich?
The debate here, and if you go back and read the original thread shouldn't focus on quality. Everyone is right, they can get chop and joins from Larson. The key is Larson is supporting this pricing scenario. We've had a lot of discussion on volume and discounts as well as buying direct. I have also mentioned many times that even with 50% off, many framers are cheaper, do better work and can compete. It has also been mentioned many times that both JoAnne's and Michaels are masters at marketing. Yes, good for Larson because they put in 12 Eclipses and have captured this business. BUT THEY CAPTURED IT SUPPORTING 50% OFF FRAMING!
About 2 months ago the Joann's in Salisbury NC went belly up. It was located in the only mall the town has. That location was right in the middle of my two locations.

What I'm saying is, they don't always do everything right.

Some genius that worked for them thought it would be a great location. Wonder if that person stills works for the corporation?

Also it was in the Charlotte paper about Garden Ridge filling for Chapter 11 re-org.

In my area, here is two companies I don't want to learn from. I don't want to close, or file for bankruptcy.
Jerry-Do you really think that they will never make a mistake? I've closed stores, sold stores, bought out leases that weren't productive-in essence, made a lot of mistakes. But, when we hit a home run....

Just about everybody in business I know will tell you the same thing-we all make mistakes when try and grow-we learn along the way.

I just hate to think we can't see a larger (macro) view of things instead of focusing on the smallest (micro) view.

I understand John's point of view perfectly and if I had a competitor that consistently beat the snot out of me, I would have two choices:

1. Hate them and try and pick at them for every single thing I could (you know , kind of like of political campaigns) or:

2. Respect the for the worthy competitors they are and try and learn from what they do well and work some of that magic into my own operation.

Micro/Macro-it's all about perception-this time it's inward
Thank you John.
That's the trouble with large companies, they employ a lot of people and have huge overheads. They absolutely MUST always find ways to increase revenue. They also MUST show a profit, they usually have shareholders.

It does not surprise me one bit that Larson Juhl is slipping into retail. They are going to also have to start looking for the larger accounts of ours to take over. This exact same thing happened in the office supply business.

The only way we are going to be able to compete, eventually is through better buying and competitive pricing. The days of offering better service are heading into La La Land. People seem to only be interested in price anymore.

Most people will insist that they like to support the little guy, and they like the convenience and service we offer, however, it's the price they really care about. If they can have all that we offer at Michaels prices, we are going to do just great.

Right now, I am still leaning on quality and service, but we are starting to offer select framing at bargain prices.

I honestly don't know what direction we, as an industry, are headed. I do know this though, expect to see more suppliers working their way into retail. It's happening all over the place already. We have one very large distributer in the San Diego area who will sell to anyone who drives to their warehouse, if that ain't retail, I don't know what is.

Just curious??
A nearby new Joann's Super Center had a flyer in today's paper, offering 10% off any competitors quote.......suppose you were to work up a quote on a job and price it below your actual cost, say 10% below....then send your sister over to Joann's with the quote. They do the job at 10% below your 10% below price. You price it regular to your customer, and you've made an extra profit with no work.
Gee, if this would work I wouldn't have to do any work.

That's a brilliant idea. If enough people did that, it would certainly make Joann's rethink that offer. I guess the only drawback would be if the job were done poorly. That would reflect badly on you. It's still an interesting idea though.

I learned my retailing skills from that mega-retailer that created "Satisfaction Guaranteed or your Money Back"

Statistics proved that less than 1% ever had to invoke that guarantee and of that 1%, less than 10% of them did it deceptively.

But, the powerful message (and the perception that is was available) was worth it's weight in gold

If this promise brings in a few new customers a week (and takes them from a competitor), it, too, is worth it's weight in gold

We offer the same thing in our stores and I love it when someone takes us up on it (which is very, very seldom)

Bottom line: Most consumers have neither the time, desire or effort to go back and forth. But, just the perception that your prices are competitive often provides the comfort level that many consumers are looking for