We all see them in strip shopping centers. They take up probably 1/3 or more of the shopping center landscape. We have mega hardware stores, mega drugstores, even mega “everything” stores. In most cases, one can get a pretty good deal at these stores. However, I think the mega idea can actually work to a disadvantage when it comes to more individually tailored products and services. Would you go to a mega store for legal or financial help? We saw cases where a large department store years ago, offered real estate, insurance, and other individually tailored services did not last.
People who want personal attention based on their personal needs want to go to a place that is not mandated by the large corporation. Plus, to be blunt, a professional is worth more than these chains are willing to pay. And they know that.
However, we use the same line of thinking with mega arts and crafts stores when it comes to framing important items for us. Please allow me to dispel some myths here
1) They are less expensive than competing framing shops. Maybe yes, maybe know. Though framing shops vary in price based on the markup they wish to use, mega frame shops can be more, sometimes a lot more. I recently have a gentleman call me for a price quote. Though many factors are involved, he wanted to get an idea just on the frame itself. I quoted him based on a nice gold on solid wood antique style frame. He told me M (can’t say the rest) quoted him about 3X more! WOW!
2) Their quality is superior because they can afford to hire the best. Wrong! Just the opposite. Again, variables come into play. First, the moulding and matting is done off premises by a central location. Why? Two reasons a) Cheaper to maintain b) you dont need to pay decent wages to a staff just to fit up (finish) the frame. The pay level is sad at best. It is often I get “skilled” framers, managers, etc. to apply for a job out of the blue. The problem is they cannot do general framing work because they are not put in a position to do so.
3) They know what they are doing because they are affiliated with a mega store. Again, I had seen and heard of cases where personal artwork and valuable historical documents were damaged by framers NOT knowing how to frame pieces. In one case, a woman took a beautifully written poem with the illustration at the top of the page, all in the hand of her grandfather to be framed at M. The problem was that, without the customer’s consent, the staff person CUT the poem in half because the “poem distracted from the illustration. The customer was mortified! Unfortunately, that piece of sentimental history has been compromised.
Don’t get me wrong, mega arts and crafts stores have a certain purpose. This includes the selection of finished retail goods at reasonable prices. But, when it comes to getting something professionally framed, go to a professional.