Smith decided to
sell the framing business and Terry at Billmeier Camera, in addition to many
others, offered to buy it – but only if Kelly Smith came with it!
“We are really excited
about it. We wanted to start a framing business about five years ago when we brought in the lab,”
said Amanda, one of
the great team members at Billmeier Camera. Terry Green, the owner concurred, “Yes, but the
start up costs for a fully stocked framing department- wow – starting from
scratch is huge! So, we began working together with Kelly, exchanging referrals
between the two stores depending on what the customer needed.” “Right,” said Amanda, “This move
should be really comfortable because we have been partnering with Kelly for a
long time and we already have a great relationship!”
For Kelly, this move to Billmeier Camera on the corner of Caroline and
Leroy, will allow her to stay somewhat close to the artists in Fenton, which is one of her
passions. When asked if she felt
excited about the new
venture, she said, “Yes,
I’m going to get a raise and everything! I’m really looking forward to
not being alone at work and I have the chance to experience a different art
media.” It’s a
win-win for both Kelly and Terry. Terry’s business is a hub of activity and offers photography,
and ‘all things camera’ along with print service for artists – not to mention,
Crust, the bakery,
is right across the street!
Kelly, an artist herself, having studied
pottery, jewelry, and painting began working for E.B. Home Center, a family
business in Fenton, straight out of high school. “They were just great to me
even though I
frames at that time. That was in ’79 and there weren’t any computers, just a
hammer, saw and a good eye. During the early ‘90s fate happened to take me to
work for a gallery in Grand Blanc. The owner had a computerized mat cutter
when no one else did! That’s the beginning, where I started learning to use
precision to produce high quality!” said Kelly.
today isn’t what it was in the ‘80s or early ‘90s. No, it’s a whole lot better! “Today archival materials prevent
yellowing and early aging. Mat boards used to bleed color and dry out. Now they go
through a bleaching process, are acid free and have been treated with
preservation chemicals to retard aging and stay fresh for a lifetime.” Kelly
said, “Today we use conservation glass, which keeps your precious art from
fading.” And that’s not
all. Real framing uses real wood, not compressed pulp or plastic. So,
the frame on a piece of fine art is really like a fine piece of furniture.
Today, fine frames still use gold and silver leaf for authenticity.
Kelly, Amanda and the whole team have a lot of fun in store for Fenton. Kelly will be on site and
ready for business at the end of the first week in September. In fact, there
are already orders in place for her. Her expertise is in high demand!
Terry has a
photo contest in progress where one artist wins a free print each month. At the
end of 6 months, those winners compete for the grand prize! Then the fun starts all over
again! Check out Billmeier on Facebook for details. www.facebook.com/BillmeierCameraShop
Billmeier Camera is an owner-operated business, it takes Kelly right back to
her beginnings at E.B. Home Center where the working family did everything and
helped each other all the time! “I’ve always believed in Fenton because of
that,” said Kelly.
And no one can argue with the fact that the individual owners bring a very lovely atmosphere
to Fenton that customers love. Stop by Billmeier, and see their fabulously balanced team at work, just
for the fun of it!