The Village Framer - A Small Business Review - Small Business Saturday
In Honor of Small Business Saturday
Small business are the lifeline of the American economy. They employ countless people across the US and help make each village, town, or city a unique place.
November 24th is Small Business Saturday.
It's a special day that highlights the world of small business and encourages consumers to buy locally so that their money supports local merchants, local families and the local economy.
One of my favorite small businesses is the Village Framer in downtown Waynesville, NC. It's a fun frame shop that has been in business for over 30 years. It has a special story and one that I hope will encourage consumers everywhere to consider the time, love and genius that goes into running a small business.
The Village Framer
Meet Jeannie, the owner of the Village Framer. I had the pleasure of interviewing her recently as she worked helping customers.
As soon as you go into the store, you can see her decorative touch. Frames of paintings and local art adorn the walls, local pottery sits on several tables, and even local artists sell their cards and other gifts on consignment.
It is a store that pulses with the beat of community, entrepreneurship and courtesy.
Jeannie bought the store in the summer of 2011 after the former owner retired. The store itself boasts 3 decades of service, and Jeannie was an employee there for ten years before she had the opportunity to buy it.
You can tell she's a true professional, putting her expertise and thoughtfulness into each piece.
In fact, she said that one of her favorite things about the work she does is "the love and thoughtfulness I put into each person's order. It takes time and effort, but I believe in providing the best service to anyone and everyone who walks through my doors."
The Village Framer
The Village Framer is a framing boutique on the SE side of Main Street
Small Businesses are Vital!
Indeed! As I sat there on a beautiful November Saturday afternoon, people from all over the community kept poking their heads in, greeting Jeannie.
More than once, I kept thinking that she must know everyone in Waynesville. People she knew came through the door one after another, and got a hug, a greeting, and Jeannie's full attention.
If she didn't know the person, she still came forward, introduced herself and shook hands.
With this store, you might enter as a stranger, but you'll be leaving as a friend.
I don't recall something like that happening in one of those big-box stores. Ever. That could just be me. However, even as I sat there in an interview context, I still felt like I was receiving incredibly personal service.
In fact, I went to Village Framer a couple years ago for the first time. I had made a giclee photo for my husband as a gift. I needed the artwork matted and framed - promptly.
The service was impeccable and I was able to give my Christmas present to my husband on time.
I became a customer for life. Since I have a lot of photography, Jeannie's shop is definitely my pick.
Do You Make It a Point to Support Local Businesses
Interviewing the Owner
I asked Jeannie a few more questions in the interview.
(Me) What's the best thing about operating your business?
(Jeannie) - "I absolutely love working with people. I also enjoy the 'quality control' because I can make each piece special for each person."
Somehow, judging from the amount of people bustling through the door, I just knew that would be her response. One woman stopped by just to tell Jeannie a story about spilling coffee down her shirt. They both had a great laugh.
(Me) Is it hard work owning your own business?
(Jeannie) - "I want to be clear how much I love this. I spend about 60-65 hours a week here, sometimes more. I do everything myself and since everything is my responsibility, I want to be sure all my products and services are top-notch."
I can relate. I have a writing and photography business and to really make a go of it, you have to put a lot of muscle into it to ensure success. Adding that personal touch goes a long way, too.
(me) How did you get into doing framing?
(Jeannie) - "My mom was an artist and before I decided to work here, I already knew a little bit about framing and matting beforehand."
(me) - Did you ever think that when you started here that you'd own the store someday?
(Jeannie) - "No, I had no idea I would be owning the store, but I love Waynesville and doing business with the people of the community. This is a great place to do it."
(me) - What's your vision for the future?
(Jeannie) - "I want to keep producing quality framing for the people of Waynesville and also branch out so that I can showcase and represent talented artists. I often think about that higher, arching dream of helping local artists and want that to be integral to my store."
I love this idea. In fact, Jeannie's already doing that. About a year ago, she hosted me as I did one of my first-ever art shows.
While I was there, two other artists came into the store and I listened while they talked about how they want to help Jeannie do a little remodeling and rearranging to help her fulfill her dream of showcasing local arts and crafts.
Jeannie's framing boutique is incredibly inviting and friendly. I think she'll be in business a long time to come because she knows how to connect with people.
Her small business, however, is not unique in its approach in treating people right, with respect and dignity.
Up and down Main Street, other small businesses are thriving. As people step into each one, no one is a stranger.
Perhaps it's because Waynesville isn't a big city, but it's a wonderful feeling walking up and down the road knowing you can walk into any store or restaurant and get personal service, and a friendly face.
This is indeed, what we want to support as we participate in Small Business Saturday on November 24th.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun