Snooping at a BB

Larry Peterson

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Resource Provider
Apr 8, 2003
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Yesterday I went down to the big city (Allentown) for an auction, had some time to kill, and happened by one of the BB's that shall remain nameless (AC M*****). I had never been in one of this guy's store so I stopped in to snoop. I was greeted by a sign at the front that said 50% of complete framing order (frame,glass,fitting, everything).

I wandered back by the framing area and was suprised to see how few frames they offerred (my guess was less than 300) with too many large frames. The corners were cut oddly. The bottoms were cut paralell to the floor, rather than vertical. There were open doors next to the framing counter and I couldn't see anything that looked like a shop, so apprently they do all the work off-site.

When I walked by the framing counter, a customer was working with the design person on a frame. I coldn't hover close enough to hear much but I did hear the price. The art was about an 8x10 drawing, the frame looked like a Nielsen 93 with a single mat and regular glass. After working up the price, the desing person proclammed, " After 50% off your entire order, the price will be $60." I felt like breaking in and saying, "After nothing off, my price is less". I priced it after I got home and my price for the same thing would have been $58.00.

The customer was resistant to the price and started looking at the readymades when I left. I've read all the BB threads here so I wasn't suprised by what I saw.
Too many large frames?

I'm confused. How can you have too many large frames?

Are we talking about the width of the moulding or the size of the sample? Either way, what makes them too big?

I have to go to Michael's for misc supplies for both business and personal use. I always go down the first isle in front of the framing counter and linger. One time I overheard them telling the customer to come to my frame shop. Great! I said 'pst' to the customer and told her 'we can do that'. Some day I want to go in with my sister, or mother, and watch/listen as they get something framed.
FraminGal, I've been more direct. I've taken a piece of art in to three local Boxes and had quotes worked up. I tried to keep everything standard--same frame, double mats, conservation clear. In one of the three the person working the counter selected mats that would have worked. I would have hired her. The print I used was a sepia photo of a boat at anchor. One of the other designs included a blue mat. I asked the clerk why she selected blue and she said it went with the water in the picture! Ummm...she must have been told always to use blue when there is water in the art.

With the 50 percent off these boxes were offering my prices were still +/- a few dollars. I keep their quotes in my shop. Never know when someone might want to ask for 50 percent off.
What I meant by too many large frames...

I should have said wide frames. They had a lot of frames in the 4+" size. There seemed to be too many wider frames. The mix between narrow, medium and wide frames seemed to to highly weighted towards wider frames. I didn't recognize their lines. I carry LJ and Decor and they didn't seem to be either of them. I also saw more earthy (greens, browns, etc) and fewere blacks and golds. When looking at their walls somthing didn't seem right.
Sorry Larry, I didn't mean to be dense.

I always reach for the wide frames first. It takes the same amount of time to sell, build*, and fit a wide frame as a narrow one - and the profit margin is greater.

The BB you visited has probably caught on to this idea too.

I'm surprised by their color selection though. Black frames and silver frames are my big sellers.

But so much depends on location. Lately I've been doing some work in another shop 45 minutes west of Rochester. The first day I was there I sold three frames; all of them were oak.

I whimpered the whole way home.


*Okay, maybe a little longer to build.