Just Curious?

Me neither.

But if you're looking for someone to cut some mats for ya, John, I'm sure we can work something out. :D
No. Are you talking as a full service from the company or the rep? Other companies do this.
Ron: Can your Mat Maestro handle it? I'd hate to tie up your free time cutting mats for me!

I'm asking the question and I know this will cause some consternation, but LJ has purchased 12 Eclipse Pro's and has put them in DC's to cut mats for JoAnne's Ect.

Some framers in this area have been told that LJ will cut mats for them also but no pricing has been quoted.

We've been cuttin mats for customers for almost 4 years now. Mostly oversize or multiple openings and I just want to make sure we are competitive.

JPete: You snuck in on me. I'm not sure but I believe it's being offered as a full service. Some customers have even been given the "grand tour" here in Minneapolis.

[ 02-03-2004, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: John Richards ]
The Washington D.C. area Larson just got their CMC, and don't have anyone trained to work it yet... so I don't think they are ready to give prices yet. (I've already asked them for a price, but the job I wanted quoted was a bit large.)

They did not give me ANY price. Give them a few weeks to work out the bugs, and come up with a price range.
John and Sue ,after doing some offical research I have learned that this is an experimental deal worked out with the Joann's Craft Shops predominately on the East Coast. Larson has networked Joann's POS to their CMCs and will cut on demand the mats Joann's order. The down side is this is in it's infancy and hasn't offically been started and in some places the staff aren't even trained yet. Their is a lot invested and a lot to work out but if it is succesful LJ plans to offer it to ALL shops that Network to their computers.However their isn't any priceing figured out even for Joann's as yet so the rest of us will have to wait and see what happens.
But My source made it VERY CLEAR that LJ has NO intentions to enter the retail mat market ,but are attempting to offer a service to Frame shops that for what ever reason choose not to accquire a CMC but wish the services.
Thanks Buddy: 12 machines is more than an experiment and yes I know that they haven't had all their training yet. I offered to help train them since 4 are in my territory! But LJ doesn't want to let me in! I think this is really a signed contract done deal with JoAnne's but that's not my concern, cutting mats for my customers is.
Perhaps this is another service that Larson is willing to offer to their client base, much the same as Chop service and Chop and Join.

Some things they do might simply be a way to expand their revenue streams
John the number I was told was 9. While that is a large investment (just in CMCs alone, and not even mentioning training,etc.)if it doesn't suceed all it was was an experiment. If it works I think Bob has hit the nail right on the head.
Maybe you should have offered your services to JoAnne's first,John.But at the risk envoved maybe waiting is a better idea? What do 9-12 CMCs cost?
Buddy: JoAnne's approached us three years ago but at that time they wanted to set up their own production facilities. I guess that went out the door and they approached Larson to cut all their mats, a majority of their chop and joins as well.

Sorry: 40x60 Pro Machines are 24K and extended warranties 3500. It was 12 machines. So, $288,000.00 for machines and another $42,000.00 on extended warranties. I would guess they probably got a price break.

[ 02-05-2004, 09:08 AM: Message edited by: John Richards ]
I sure wouldn't want to farm out mat cutting. There are times when I cut a mat out of an old slip sheet to see how it will look. Sometimes the measurements have to be tweaked a little for aesthetic purposes. It's hard to tell ahead of time. I figure that's just part of the custom in custom framing.

We have a Wizard.

Also, on multi-opening mats, it's just nice to see the proportions and design on the screen before cutting.

[ 02-05-2004, 09:33 AM: Message edited by: Jana ]
John I wasn't casting any dipersions in your directon,and I hope none where taken.
I just was sort of playing Devil's advocate . I can't help but wonder how often even someone like LJ risk over $325,000 on a project even before the ouctcome is assured/ Joanne's must be promiseing a HE*LL of a lot of Mat business or there must be some very strong fail safes in this deal. Either that or LJ is counting heavyly on this being the START of an even bigger venture. (CUTTING CMC mats for all those who WISH they had one but don't even want the expense of Wizards rental)
Wizard currently offers the same service to some extent. I have had some LIMITED experience and DANI has communicated back and fourt with the BRUDE mat I displayed here on the design. We never suceed .YET! But DANI and Wizard were very cooprative and understanding . So despite Jana's concerns I know there are ways around those problems.
The only thing is Wizard and other CMC vendors already have Cutters and completely trained staffs, even some doing research. So How is this venture with all it's expense and trainning ,seen as a profitable exercise/
By the way doesn't Eclipse have it's own MAT cutting branch? I wonder how they feel about the competition with their own machines? Maybe they are involved as well? (I vaguely remember hearing Eclipse quit porduction of a certain model of their cutter( the one that does the collagee logos) since it was able to cut what they where useing to make their mat sale with and they didn't want anymore competition,but then this is just rumorand poor memory on my part)Seems like LJ is risking a lot and I'll bet not for just one account.
Hey Buddy-I really suspect that LJ is simply looking for another service to provide to all their clients. And, before they take it prime time, they are probably using Joanne's as a way to test the program.

You know that if this were allowed to hit the streets to all users they would have problems beyond belief. In a controlled environment like Joanne's (i.e not having every frame shop owner complaining about how this program might work) they can work out the problems and fine tune it. I'm sure they could learn a thing or two from the Fletcher program.

I really don't see this as sinister or competeing. I wonder if there was a similar reaction when they bought a bunch of v-nailers?

Who knows how this will play out? Obviously it didn't work out for Fletcher. But since Larson is selling the board, it isn't a quantum leap to see this as a added service.
Buddy: No offense. Just who ever gave you the information was off by $75,000.00! Eclipse sold their mat cutting division about two years ago so they could concentrate on building machines.

Bob: I agree that this is a great way to add business. That's why I like to do it for my customers. We have a rough idea that JoAnne's in this area has about 300 frame jobs per store per week. There are seven stores. That's about 2100 mats per week. If they are doubles thats 4200 mats per week. Now JoAnne's used to buy direct from the matboard manufacturers and would use local distributors for fill in if need be. They often discount the framing package at 50%. So Larson gets the mats, the cutting ect. ect. But they had to price it so when JoAnne's is on ad they make money.

Because of that, I just wanted to know how much they wanted to charge to cut mats and hopefully a turn around time so I can stay competitive.

Thanks for the input.
John I thought I should clarifie a few things you thought I said and where i got my information before they got really misunderstood.
When you said;"Buddy: No offense. Just who ever gave you the information was off by $75,000.00! Eclipse sold their mat cutting division about two years ago so they could concentrate on building machines."
The dollar figures I used where my own compulations and the only different figures my source gave was that they said LJ had accquired 9 CMcs not 12. My math was based on an approximation of your statement ($288,000.00 for machines and another $42,000.00 on extended warranties.) 288+42+ 330 so I rounded it off since we didn't agree on the number of machines.However i must admit that this doesn't take into consideration the coat of training their employees nor the setting up of the ordering proceedure and what ever else goes into a hughe venture of this kind. I have a hard time with the acconts of my little shop.(actually Marir does most of that LOL)
As to the error about WHEN Eclipse sold their mat cutting division ,I am sorry for the error but my sorce had no input in that Mistake. As I said I have a Wizard and other than admireing some of the mats cut useing an Eclipse I don't keep abreast of their activeities. I was very interested in the machine that cut those University logos and was ( maybe erroniously ) told that the machine being used was no longer being sold and it was the one Eclipse used to cut their mats.
If I where adviseing LJ I start with a machine that I could rent(Wizard?) then if it worked out I consider Purchaseing them.To my thinking the renatl agreement leaves all the upkeep and upgrades to the Vendor. And their isn't any $325,000 or 4400,000 to quible over.
But most importantly MY SOURCE made it abudantly clear they weren't trying to compete with anyone RETAIL OR OTHERWISE. So any comments I made to that extent where purely conjecture and speculation.
However Bob's comment was uncandidly almost a mirror image of my source.("Perhaps this is another service that Larson is willing to offer to their client base, much the same as Chop service and Chop and Join.")
Buddy: You are correct in that they are not trying to compete with the framer by cutting mats. They are however competing with framers when they help JoAnne's support their 50% off framing advertisements. They are also competing with other and much smaller distributors.

The Eclipse machine you remember is the MatWriter. It used a router for the head. I'm not sure if they make it any longer because the complexity of the machine made it impossible to be sold by a distributor. I do know they service the MatWriters that are out there.

I did get my information from two sources from different companies so I'm certain it's fairly accurate. Training is indeed an issue but I believe that an Eclipse owner could support that you can be up and cutting your basic mat in about 10 minutes. The logistical problems will of course be glitchy at first but I'm sure they will all get worked out. I also think they will be minor in that if you have an internet connection or e-mail and Eclipse or Wizard owner could cut anyone's design via an attached file. Now getting the finished product to where it's supposed to go and on time is another matter.
Here's another example of innovative thinking by major companies in our industry. Both JoAnne's and LJ will win...if it works.

Personally, I'm wondering how they can accomplish the task and still save cost. You can bet LJ isn't planning to lose money on the work. Shipping has to be a big cost issue, including packaging & replacements of damaged mats. It seems that adding more layers of management, labor, profit, and handling should cost more.

Whatever happens with this new partnering, you can bet it isn't good news for any small-shop framer who expects to survive by beating the big guys' prices.

It's worth repeating again to small-shop framers: Find a niche of business they don't want, and fill it effectively. There's no way to beat them at their own game.
John ;I am not saying my sources are better than yours nor am I saying your assumptions are wrong. I am saying until it all shakes out it is a lot of speculation and we all know that old cliche about assumptions.
However on the note of how to get any CMC to Transport the information to the cutting machine (i.e. "Now getting the finished product to where it's supposed to go and on time is another matter."),I am very PC illiterate. However this much I do know ,there is a system called "NETWORKING" which as I understand it allows different Computers to share input information and act on it as one.If I'm not mistaken it is the same system that is used when your POS terminal is networked to your Cutting Computer and the cutter can cut the minute you install the mats and the POS finalizes the sale. I am also told that Networking can be achived over much longer distances like from your shop to your home. So too ,JoAnne's POS can network to LJ closest CMC and cut what ever is finalized.I may be over simplifying things but then one of the PC wizaeds here on TFG will clear this up.
As to how this impacts the "LITTLE GUYS" : The very first time I saw a Wizard demonstrated I realized that a lot of my competitive edge had been over come.I prideed myself on hand cut decrotive mats ,the CMC allows almost anyone SMALL competitords and BB alike to over come their inability to do what I do. Now if you add to that the Vast operateing capital and a host of Techknowlodgy that hasn't been utilized in small frame shops,the potential for BBs overcoming any lack of skill really begins to disolve.
It is no different than when we go to shows and buy equipment with all the bells and whistles so we can work FASTER and More EFFICENTLY than the next shop.
And YES ,I fully understand that this puts SHOPS like MINE at a serious disadvantage unless I can find something they can't BUY like CREATIVEATY AND INGENUITY,which we pride ourselves on, as I assume you do also.
PS those Numbers were fairly close to your weren't they?

[ 02-06-2004, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]
Hi Buddy-I really don't think this is a big advantage to JoAnn's that can seriously jepordize your operation.

The things that make Michael's and JoAnn's grow (Often at our expense) aren't really as simple as offering the things we do; and they aren't that they often do it cheaper and more conveinently than we do.

We do, however, often elect to do things that simply aren't competitive or convenient because of many self-rationlized reasons. We have the ability to compete on many levels with them, but simply don't have the scale to make the message known very effectively.

It is of our own choosing.

It is safe to say that we don't get out framed by these guys (although they kick our butts daily by the numbers), but we do get out retailed, out merchandised and out smarted.

I am finishing up a long research project on trends in our industry for presentation at the PPFA National Convention next week. The conclusions are prophetic.

As members of PPFA (and if you are not, count this as a reason you should be)we will share this data and much more to follow. There are benefits of membership.

So, when we look for villains, we need not look at the JoAnn's. They aren't doing anything except what seems to resonate with the consumer.

There are things we need to learn from them-perhaps this is one of them
Buddy: You're right the numbers were close. Networking would be the way to go but I should have explained myself a little better. It can be more simple than networking (and less expensive) through the use of e-mail. Good stuff...thanks everyone.

Also, if you read the thread "Let's Help Each Other" I think this is a great idea and again no network needed, just a fax or e-mail and everyone is in the loop.
Bob I am sorry my poor writeing skills have failed to make my point clear. I didn't mean this project jeprodized me or those like me in any way. I was trying to say I'll need to rely more heavily on my Creativeity and Ingenuity to over come what their abily to BUY and Purchase EQUIPMENT to overcome their lack of skill that previously gave me an edge .
I feel that Creativity is something that is inherent and maybe almost impossible to teach. I have been asked often how I come up with the Ideas I use for matting . I almost always say it is a God given gift. I have tried repeatedly to figure out a way to teach it but as yet I am stumped.I would love nothing better than to be able to teach my skills (what little I have) as you do.
However there are and will always be equipment made to compensate for the lack of creativeity. That is until the creative Framer learns to use the same equipment more proficiently or develops his/her skill in excess of what the Machines can produce. (And I know it can be done).
I unfortunately will not be able to attend PPFA/PMAI's Vegas show .I only hope the information you are refering to will still be available to people like myself as soon as the show is over,if not sooner.
I will NEVER capitulate to the BBs simply because they have bigger budgets and more technology. But I must admit that with the right equipment and technology they can make guys like me work harder.
Now if I can just perfect what you are teaching ,maybe I can reverse the tables.
I already have some of the local Wally world's sales force sending Needle work customers to us ,so why not JoAnne's framing customers,even with LJ help.LOL
Hey Buddy-I know where you are coming from. Don't worry about those writing skills; you do just fine.

Since PPFA is paying for the research (me and the gang at PMAI), I really need to make sure that PPFA members get it. Soon, the entire survey will be published. My presentation at Vegas is the No Spin Zone version-completely unvarnished and with all the bark knocked off.

But, I will give a slight tease. Think about the independent camera store operators