In an email to regular customers and subscribers of Axel’s Gallery and Frame Shop, owner Whitney Aldrich recently announced, “I’m telling you this first because you’ve supported me and my team for 10 years. and I think you or someone you know could be the next perfect owner of Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop,” she wrote, adding, “You are just as qualified as me.
Almost 10 years ago, Aldrich bought the shop which has been a Stowe Street anchor since his namesake Axel Stohlberg opened the business in 1983. A fine arts graduate from the design, art , architecture and planning from the University of Cincinnati, Aldrich previously worked for a decade in graphic design and marketing.
The combination of executive shop and gallery provided complementary functions and served as a creative force under Aldrich’s direction in the downtown business community.
In his note to clients, Aldrich touched on his history with the boutique and gallery that occupy the building next to the WDEV radio station offices and which last summer saw a colorful 20-foot-tall phoenix mural. installed outside the building. “I didn’t know anything about framing at the time, but I was determined to have a contemporary art gallery in Waterbury. Gradually, I acquired the knowledge and skills I needed. Frankly, I couldn’t have done it without your support. You believed in me and my abilities. You have attended our events, supported our artists and spent your well-deserved money in our business.
Today, Aldrich said, the framing industry is doing well. She currently employs two part-time and two full-time employees in addition to herself. He has seen an influx of new customers lately despite the pandemic. In the information to potential buyers, Aldrich notes that custom framing accounts for 90% of sales. Framing, she notes, is both cost-effective and resilient, providing a service that clients seek both in times of economic boom as they build, buy and move into new homes and offices and decorate, or when times are leaner and people stay put, opting to redecorate and update their surroundings.
“Those who work in the framing industry tend to stay in the industry for many years – often over several generations in a family – because the business can provide a good life during good times and bad. “, indicate the information intended for the potential buyers.
“But the more successful the framing studio becomes, the less time and energy I have for the gallery—the very reason I bought Axel’s in the first place,” she admits.
Electronic records make it easy to track sales and customer history. The company also has an established following on social media and in the community, he notes. Axel’s Instagram and Facebook accounts frequently share photos of framed artwork for customers, either before it leaves the store or when placed in a home or office.
The announcement aside, Aldrich said for now it would be business as usual. Several exhibitions are reserved for the fall and the shop organizes its annual photography competition with an October deadline. Axel’s is also a sponsor and host of Music in the Alley summer concerts with TurnMusic and Blackback Pub. The last date in this series for this summer is Friday August 26th.
What’s next for Aldrich? “I’m ready to focus more on the gallery’s mission to help artists find homes for their work. I plan to continue to champion artists in our region and play a role in our creative economy,” she said.