Downtown frame shop to reopen after winning makeover contest

After more than 40 years in business downtown, Fourth Corner Frames is preparing to reopen following a month-long renovation.

The custom art framing store is having a reopening reception with refreshments and raffle prizes from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 13, at the store at 311 W. Holly St.

Owner Sheri Wright won the renovation in August through a contest sponsored by Tru Vue, a national supplier of glass and glazing for art framing shops.

Tru Vue picked Fourth Corner Frames from hundreds of applicants around the country because of Wright’s experience and business model, said Maureen O’Connor, a Tru Vue rep who has been in Bellingham working on the project for the past month.

“She’s a very successful frame shop. She’s been around a long time, but we thought we could still move that needle and help her,” O’Connor said.

Wright started framing in 1973 at her parents’ shop in Texas, and she’s owned Fourth Corner Frames since 2001.

The building that houses Fourth Corner Frames was built in 1883. Wright had a lot of ideas for how to change the shop, but she didn’t have the time or money, she said. Prior to the remodel, the shop had carpet from the 1980s, fluorescent lighting and lath and plaster walls – a construction method that predates sheetrock.

The renovation included updates do the gallery and workroom of the shop, but it didn’t stop with a fresh coat of paint and new window displays.

“It’s not just an aesthetic makeover,” O’Connor said. “It’s a whole business makeover.”

Tru Vue and consultants are working with Wright on all aspects of her business plan, including pricing, marketing, merchandising, updating the website and creating a template for email newsletters. They will also follow up with Wright on her marketing plan during the next year, O’Connor said.

During the remodel, Wright has operated her framing business from an open room in the Bay Street Village, at 301 W. Holly St. The room is packed with frames and frame samples. The rest of her inventory is in a storage container on the curb that Simple Box Storage of Lynden donated.

Tru Vue plans to make a video about the renovation of Fourth Corner Frames. O’Connor calls the video a “field study.” The company will use it to help its customers build better art framing businesses in an effort to strengthen the industry, she said.

Rob Wheeler painting at Fourth Corner Frames.
Rob Wheeler painting at Fourth Corner Frames.

 

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