Frames Unlimited at Shaker Plaza
Picture this: It’s 1971 and big box stores are making a name for themselves. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dorothy Zimdar pays close attention to the selections offered by these stores. She notices the framing selection continues to thrive and decides to open her own frame shop, Frames Unlimited. Now, picture this: It’s 2023 and Frames Unlimited is still owned by the same family, has expanded to 14 stores across Ohio and Michigan, and still offers the same value and quality.
Frames Unlimited offers custom framing and ready-made photo frames with standard sizes. Depending on the amount of time or kind of work one might bring in for framing, Frames Unlimited works with each project on an individual basis, taking in specific needs and styles. The store also boasts a quaint gallery of original art created by associates from different stores and local artists. Some prints aren’t originals, offering a wide variety of options for any shopper. The artwork in the Shaker location makes this outlet of the franchise unique, paying homage to the local talent.
All employees at the Shaker Plaza location are either Cleveland Heights or Shaker Heights residents. The store opened more 20 years ago and the manager, Vanessa Brighton, has been there for 10 years. “This store has its own little community,” she says. One of the largest family-owned stores in the country, Vanessa takes pride in the clientele. “Shaker’s customers are art-oriented and interested in framing; it’s a loyal and intentional base.”
Getting to know one’s customer base can serve as one of the many rewards of managing or owning a small business. Many small, local businesses rely on exposure and loyalty, which can lead to repeat business, and new, word-of-mouth business. Team members at Frames Unlimited care about giving customers a quality product.
“There are benefits of custom framing versus random framing and we enjoy having conversations with our customers to talk about what it is they are looking for and how we can bring that to life,” says Vanessa.
To those prospective small business owners out there, Vanessa suggests possessing a strong sense of responsibility, caring and passion. “It should be something you enjoy, that has value and that you can offer to people. There are many components that go into framing and we’re excited about it. It’s hard to open a business if it’s something you don’t believe in. It should be a worthwhile venture.”
All are welcome to visit Frames Unlimited, located in Shaker Plaza at 20156 Van Aken Blvd. The team is happy to explain the framing process without any obligation. For store hours and more information about this long-standing, family-owned business, visit their website. We’re grateful to have Frames Unlimited as part of our Shaker business community!