By S.B. Willams

In 1981, Terry Jones, armed with an MBA degree from Georgia State University and a strong Scottish ancestry, opened The Framers on Peachtree in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center in Buckhead.
As an Army veteran who saw service in Korea and then worked for IBM, Jones didn’t know very much about the business of framing pictures. But with the help of his wife, Patsy, and friends, the business became a thriving business.

In choosing Peachtree Battle Shopping Center for his enterprise, Jones noticed the affluent neighborhoods surrounding the center, the popular A&P store (now Public’s) on one end and the busy King’s Drugs (now Rite Aid) at the other end, and picked a location between those two busy storefronts.

But attractive as the shop looked, Jones credits the personable and artistic people that he chose to hire that made The Framers an immediate success.

“The model for my store has always been the same as the old Rich’s of Atlanta, which was totally committed to customer satisfaction,” he says. “Returns are accepted without comment and the customer’s taste and desires honored.”

Longtime, appreciative customers confirm the importance of the friendly staff for their loyalty over the past 31 years and this customer support was crucial during the financial slump that began in 2008.

During the recession, Jones denied himself a salary for a year to make sure that all seven employees could keep their jobs.

Gradually, the focus of the business changed from a “do-it-yourself” framing source to custom framing and projects for some of the major corporations in Atlanta, including Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific and High Museum. One of their busiest times was in 1996 when the shop was framing items for the Atlanta Olympic Games.

All the work is done at the Peachtree Battle shop, except for work that requires specialist help like conservations of oil paintings, fabrics and documents. Jones has built longstanding relationships with the experts, including one who handles all of the objects found at the Titanic site.

The variety of jobs and challenges brought to The Framers are often entertaining to the staff.  One family delivered the back window of their Taurus station wagon that was covered with logos of the schools attended by their three children.

Jones said the owner of the window said it represented a millon dollars in education for their kids, so The Framers created a custom shadow box so the family could hang it in their home.

Perhaps the shop’s most unusual order was to frame the borrowed Mont Blanc pen that President Gorbachev used to sign the dissolution of the USSR.  The pen belongs to Tom Johnson, then head of CNN, who covered the event for CNN. The pen is now at the Smithsonian Institute.

For fifteen years, The Framers has been thriving under the management of Bryan Lurie with the “hands off” ownership of Jones. Now, as agreed upon 20 years ago when Lurie joined the staff after graduating from the Atlanta College of Art, he has bought the shop from Jones, who plans to retire to Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina.

Jones can retire peacefully knowing that The Framers will continue to be run by the person and staff that has been made it a success for three decades.

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.