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Now he REALLY gets it

Thursday, December 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: LocalShops1 Boy
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Here's a true-life story from LocalShops1 Boy, and how a recent trip to visit his parents in Pensacola helped open his eyes to the magical world of local shops. We'll let him explain ....

This is an example of how local businesses can help you out, if you just know where to look for them. Or, in my case, who to ask. I had several pieces of artwork that I wanted to put in frames, and they had been sitting in a corner in the house waiting for it. So I took a couple of them down to Michael’s for estimates.

Why Michael’s? Well, because it was easy, and I didn’t want to spend all day on it. There’s one right … over there. Or, if I’m somewhere else in town, there’s one right over THERE.

The estimates I was given – and this was for just one picture – made my head spin. For a frame that wasn’t even all that nice, matting the picture, glass and hanging brackets, soared past $200. I was looking at close to $1,000 for three I wanted done. I put my bug-eyes back in my head, croaked out a thanks-but-no-thanks, lied that I would think about it and walked out.

So I called my mother, who has a house full of framed artwork, contacts in just about every framing shop in the Pensacola area.

Her advice: No no no no no don’t go to Michael’s and pay those ridiculous prices. I’ve got just the person up here – 8 hours away. But she promised me it would be worth it. I was planning a trip within a few weeks anyway, so decided I’d load up the pictures and take them with me.

The frame shop she took me to was nothing you’d ever see if you didn’t know it was there. There’s no storefront by a major road, no big lit-up sign. There’s a turn that takes you down to a cluster of shops on a dirt road that really looks like a street in Tombstone. Horses tied up to posts outside and a drunken cowboy being flung through a window wouldn’t have looked out of place.

Inside, the guy knew my mother, who told him that I’d talked to Michael’s first, and he said, "No no no no no don’t go to Michael’s! They’ll rob you blind!” He measured the biggest of my pictures, offered a few framing and matting ideas, added up some numbers and said, "How’s $47 sound?”

"Are you kidding? Wait one minute,” I said, and went out to the car for the other pieces. "Do them all.”

He came up with different framing and matting ideas for all three – one, an artistic rendering of Pensacola Beach’s Fort Pickens, was given a frame with a carved stone sort of look – and tallied it all up. For three pictures, custom frames, mats, glass and all, the final cost was $178.

This shop has also sunk the hook into my sisters. One has brought stuff from Gainesville (six hours away), the other from Auburn, Ala. (four hours away).

Well, this is great. Now every time I need anything framed I’ll have to drive eight hours?

Not really. Lesson learned: Look around, research and ask people. You'll find gems — hopefully, closer to home — and you won't get fleeced.




About LocalShops1

LocalShops1, est. 2008, is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned  businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. 

Expert Voices features guest blogs by those who know best: The local restaurateurs, nutritionists, contractors, fashion stylists and more. They're the ones who help make Tampa Bay a better place, one business at a time.

LocalShops1 membership is open to artists, businesses, shoppers, and nonprofits.