MARQUETTE - Paintings, priceless family photographs, needlework all are art forms that have their own intrisic value. To become part of a room's decor, however, they need the right presentation.
The right frame, matting and glass for any piece can be found at Ben Franklin in Marquette, where owners Jim and Sarah Martin work with customers to create the perfect framing package for just about any piece, whether it is a weekend purchase at Art on the Rocks or a family hierloom that needs some updating.
"We do all aspects of framing," Sarah Martin said. "We can do non-archival... all the way up to museum quality framing."
Store owner Sarah Martin, left, and employees Michele Tuccini, center, and Tracy Wilhoit create framing packages at the Marquette Ben Franklin.
By choosing an appropriate mat and frame style, customers can fit their art to the room they wish to hang it in and fit the project into their budget.
"We can acommodate any price point customer," Martin said.
With three frame department employees and 60 frames in stock and hundreds more to choose from, Ben Franklin is able to frame anything from hand-crafted needlepoint to large-format photographs. Other services include canvas stretching and dry mounting.
"All the work is done here in-house. It never leaves the store," Martin said.
"Some of these items are very precious to customers. We do what will make them comfortable."
Customers begin the framing process by bringing the item they want framed to the store. Framing specialists will then talk with the customer to help choose a mat color, a type of glass and the frame itself. Staff can also give customers guidance on when an extra investment should be made to frame something at archival quality.
"If its something that cannot be replaced. If its an antique or something really precious, that should be archival," Martin said.
Original paintings, especially those that are valuable, are an example of items that should be framed at the archival standard, she said.
Because homeowners often change their decor on a seasonal basis, Martin said Ben Franklin gets requests to reframe or update pieces to make them fit with a new color or decorating scheme.
"We always ask, 'What do you have in mind?'" Martin said. "What you want to do is enhance the piece."
The average framing consultation takes about 20 minutes, she said. Once the customer has selected their mat, glass and frame, the framing process takes about a week, although Martin said she works to accomodate a faster turnover if needed.
The Ben Franklin shop can put together any size frame from smaller projects to portraits measuring over 8 feet tall.
"We can do just about anything," Martin said.
In addition to the framing department, Ben Franklin also houses a gallery of local artists, including nationally-recognized artists Nita Engle and Paul Grant, both of whom Ben Franklin does exclusive framing for.
Ben Franklin also offers printing services, creating banners or reproductions for everyone from area residents to businesses to local artists.
During the printing process, the original work is scanned using a high-resolution scanner, and then printed using a range of paper types, depending on what the customer requires, said Jim Martin.
"We can print on a lot of different mediums," he said.
Thanks to today's technology, the original image can be scanned and then prints made as needed, possibly years apart, instead of having to invest in a full run of prints immediately, a benefit to the artist, he said.
"We're going to work with the customer," Jim Martin said.
For large format jobs, Martin said he will typically create a smaller proof of the work before running the final print to allow the customer to determine whether they are satisfied with the product.
"If you don't like it, you don't pay," he said. "We show a customer what they're going to get."
Besides the framing and printing departments, Ben Franklin also offers one of the largest fabric and yarn selections in the Marquette area. For quilters, Ben Franklin also offers a quilting machine that assists in the final assembly of the quilt, batting and backing.
The Martins have owned the Ben Franklin store for 18 years, taking over operation from Sarah Martin's father, who started the store on Washington Street 48 years ago.
Currently located at 100 Coles Drive in Marquette, the store is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
They can be reached at 906-226-9613.
EDITOR'S?NOTE:?This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Ben?Franklin of?Marquette. Businesses interested in being featured on the In Business page may call Jim Reevs at 228-2500, extension 299.