Prints Plus


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 7, 2001
I haven't been around much, and I meant to post this when I first heard the news 6 weeks ago but life got insane! A former employee moved out of state last June and got a job at a Prints Plus. She contacted me for another reference letter because Prints Plus was filing for bankruptcy and she was out of a job. According to her, several stores in New England were closing down. The closest one to me is still open, however. Anyone hear anything?
The one in our humongomunguss mall closed it's doors last week. (Lubbock Texas)
One closed this month in a local mall here, also
Word here in Memphis is that PP was purchased by BA Framer.
A young man who is currently employed by a P+ here in Maryland came in inquiring about a job. He said 36 stores on the east coast had already closed, that the atmosphere in his store is highly charged and his paychecks say "Debtor in Collections" on them.
I have them as a customer and they still are buying some supplies. Have had a lot of calls from frame shops who are looking at buying the equipment from Print Plus stores that are closing.

Which Prints Plus(es) is/are going out near us? The one in the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua and/or the one in the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester?
I was in our local one last week and overheard the clerk tell her friends a customer had just dropped $850 and was about to drop another $250 on some other items. Wow, you can fill up alot of wall space in that store for that money... Oh, we will miss their "high quality" framing style, won't we.
So whats the deal with the mall chain art stores failing at an alarming rate. Artworks, Wooden bird, Prints +, and I've heard of several Deck the walls closing (Yes I know deck is a franchise not a chain).

Bob Carter speaks to the benifits of mall locations with the higher traffic counts. So are malls failing? Are people just not hanging things on their walls any more?
Combination return on COG x Volume. If volume drops thin margin operations get hurt the hardest.
Just my $.02
The trend around here nowadays is toward the open-air mall concept. The couple of them built within the past 5 to 10 years have been doing really well, and the city has been abusing eminent-domain powers to plow down older but still quite viable residential property to expand them. Even our local upscale indoor mall has built on a whole new wing with outside exposure, and the Pottery Barn store moved across the way into this section, along with new chain eateries etc. This has to be affecting the much-needed foot traffic for the indoor-located shops, including DTW.
Seems like every time I go to the mall the tenant mix has changed. It sometimes seems like the only people making any money over there are the build-out contractors.
I hope this trend has not adversely affected Bob's mall locations.
Rick, We have an open air mall aswell. Yes it is quite popular, but it still has the problem of weather and it's hard to park close or at all. The rents are just as high as the other malls but does not seem to have the same walk-by value as the inclosed malls.
One of the benifits of an enclosed mall is that your doors are always open during regular hours.
The phisical act of opening a door can be enough to make a potential customer into a window shopper.
Dave: I completely agree with your assessment of this new phenomenon. It's basically a strip center on steroids, except that the only tenants that can afford the rents are national chains, and as you pointed out, you can't park right in front of the door. As far as I can tell, the only real advantage they have is that they make lots of money for the developer and landlord.
Personally, I think enclosed malls have advantages as you pointed out. Let's face it, retail is often a pretty fickle, trendy realm. Once people realize they are getting cold and wet going from store to store, they will return to the enclosed their new hybrid cars.
Makes me think wistfully about the shopping center we usd to frequent when I was a kid. It was built in the mid-50's. It was essentially a large L-shaped courtyard, ringed by rows of shops and a few restaurants, anchored on one end by a department store and on the other by a five-and dime that had a lunch counter. The sidewalk area connecting all these was covered, but the central area between these walks was open, forming the "courtyard" part. The open area actually had several kiddie rides at one end, and hosted seasonal event in the other areas, esp. at Christmas time. The mix of businesses included a small supermarket, a butcher shop, hobby and toy shop, music shop, bank, hardware store, mens and womens clothing shops, a Walgreens, ice cream store, camera shop, etc. etc. Most of these were locally owned. There was a lower level that had a barber shop and offices, including my dentist's office. There was a large parking lot or two as a mall has, but you still had the fresh-air outdoor window-shopping effect while uder cover. What a great place that was. :rolleyes:
The woman who worked here moved to Burlington, VT...that one closed. Before she moved, she trained a few times at the one at the Pheasant Lane Mall, and she was not sure if that store was closing. I don't think she misses it! There was a lot of volume but no interesting challenges.
Hi Guys-I will add what I know. Mall operations are constantly churning-new people come,old people go. I just renewed a lease in a property that we have operated in for 21 yrs. We have seen a gazillion concepts come and go.

I remember when the first GAP moved in, the first Victoria's Secrets. Remember Montgomery Ward's?

How indpendent framers have gone out of business in the last 20 yrs? Man, I can think of a ton in this market and I'm sure most can, also. Remember Montiel's, Ben Franklin's, Old America?

Market's change and the enterprising retailer does his best to adapt. I remember just 10 yrs ago that our Marketing Plan baically was to make sure the doors opened by 10am and that the lights were on. It really was that easy.

The last 5 yrs has been much, much diffeent and it started about 10 yrs ago. But most of us, us included, thought that rainbow would never end.

But, the market changed

10 yrs ago there weren't any Michael's in our market, there weren't any Jo-Anne's, No Craftmarts, a few Aaron Bros. We pretty much snickered at most of them ("who would go to these junk/crap merchants when they get all my expertise, design and customer service?"). Kind of like a lot of us still do now.

Well, today in my market there are aound 12 Michael's (2 within 4 miles radius), a whole bunch of CraftMarts and Joanne's, Aaron Bros have great nice new clean stores in great locations.

We have chosen Mall Locations simply because it is the marketing I know and it has worked handsomely for us. I know many would love to see us fall flat on our faces, I don't know why anyone delights in another's failure. I hope Prints Plus works it out- alot of suppliers and people wil be hurt if they do not. Competition makes us all play a little harder and a little smarter.

I have never recommended mall locations to all those that have sought my assistance in site locations. Most simply do not have the necessaries. But, I have always counseled to get the best location available, regardless of rent. Greater sales opportunities come with greater locations.

Market shifts to open air malls simply indicate another change in marketing attempts. People like change and developers simply like to do what cosumers like (Man, is that a lesson we all ought to learn).

Does that signal a demise of regional malls?

I guess if you thought Michael's wouldn't be much a factor 10 yrs ago.

We need to probably get out of the "tea leaves" reading business.

I did enjoy Diane's comment about "lot's of volume but no interesting challenges". I wonder how many of us would gladly give up a little challenge for a lot of volume.

And those responses will most assuredly define the difference between those that think like framers and those that think like businesspeople. We probably do 90% of our work that would be defined avolume and 10% as challenging.

We could not survive on the challenging alone

Rick-I understand your wistful remembrance, but that stuff is in your rear view mirror. I remember that favorite Hamburger joint where you went in and ordered at a counter and waited 10 minutes and sat in old school-style chairs and ate it there. they counter gal pulled a pencil out of her bee-hive hairdo,after wiping her hands on her apron, and wrote up the order. She took your money then went back anc cooked your burger. Today that would probably violate about 10 health code regs.

They got put out of biz by someone that got put out of biz by Burger Chef that got put out of biz by McDonald's

Life goes on