Other revenue sources


Mar 21, 2005
New York
Well, I finally found my location and will be setting up shop within next 3 months. I was wondering what some of you would say are the top 3-5 other sources of revenue for a picture framing shop? What are some other businesses that are natural additions? I have engraving equipment and will offer this service. There is a Kodak shop near my house (not near my future shop) that does framing, photo imaging and has a small portrait studio. I like their busienss model.

What have some of you found successful?
Your handle seems to imply that you are in to sports memorabilia. If so, consider carrying a line of acrylic display cases for displaying sports items in, such as foot balls, golf balls, bats, ect. Some Grumble members know good acrylic fabrication business and can help.

For me, I roll my own. Acrylic is a fun and versatile material to work with. It does take tools, time and plenty of practice. I wish I had more time to work with it.

This box I built and sold on ebay for $40. I really need to be getting $80-100 out of them to make it worthwhile.

I plan to put up a site with basic instructions on building simple acrylic boxes that fellow grumblers can use leftover scraps from frame jobs to build them with. They can be used for storing hardware or flipped over for really simple display covers. Framers probably have all they need (just need solvent cement and a hypodermic needle applicator).

One of the things I advise other framers is to see what your customers ask for. If you get several requests for plush groundhogs, then your customers think that the kind of store you have should sell plush groundhogs. So buy some and see if they sell. If they want glass slippers, ditto. You can't sell to my customers, and I can't sell to yours. Of course, because you are just opening, you don't KNOW what they are asking for, because you haven't met them yet. I say, get some stuff you like and/or know about. It is easier to sell glass slippers if you understand the fitting process than if you decided to sell farm equipment and didn't know what a harrow is. And it is an excellent source of cheap presents for all your family and friends...
I've been looking into purchasing a wide format printer that prints to canvas. And I know a few photographers who would be interested in prints to canvas. I hope to work out an arrangement to do their framing. There are a few places in the area that offer the service, but I think I can beat their prices. And I'm sure I can provide a quicker turn around time.

I haven't got a retail location yet, but I'm determined to have an operation in place by the first of the year. So far I think I might be able to do okay with shadow boxed sports memorabilia and prints to canvas. But most of my business will probably be wholesale.

I'm sure people like Ellen have the best advice. Those who are already doing retail and have for some time understand what it takes to survive. So it would be most wise to take her advice and see what happens once you open up. Get a feel for what people are asking for. Of course that's not to say that you can't be considering and researching your options.


I'll be keeping an eye out for the instructional site you mentioned. All the shadow boxes I do are made from wood. I'd like to add acrylic boxes to the mix.

Good Luck SportsWall.
Thanks for the responses. What about the basics? What are some items/invenory that most frames shop carry, that have good margins?

Also, any other services?
one cautionary note, the solvents for acrylic can
be toxic and proper ventilation is a must; as is
proper protective gear. There are non-solvent adhesives that are safer to work with and those
should be looked into.

I made a few acrylic boxes.

The first one was a rush, so I learned under pressure and built a serviceable box in a few hours from "scrap" OP-3.

The next one was huge and a dismal failure. It ended up as an exercise corral for a bunch of gerbils.

Apparently I suffered no irreperable brain damage from the solvents and I never attempted a third one.

Sorry to Frankenthread. For me, framing was the successful add-on to an ailing photo retail business.