Kelly Smith and Frames Move to Billmeier Camera Shop

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August  2012       Issue 2.1

Kelly 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 only assembled 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.

Framing 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.

Terry, 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.

Since 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!

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