Somers Custom Framing & Gift will celebrate its 10-year anniversary Dec. 15, and the way its owners—Ken and Ginny Ryan—see it, their first decade in business has been a resounding success.
The store has three components to its business: framing, printing and gifts.
The couple began their professional careers in the direct-mail marketing business, but Ken longed to do something more inspiring.
“I realized I didn’t love [marketing], so I wanted to pursue something that I really liked,” Ken said. “We liked the idea of a framing business because I’ve been doing woodworking my whole life. Ginny’s an artist. We thought this would be a good way to go because we could combine our skills.”
A big part of Somers Custom Framing & Gift is the gifts. Visitors will discover that the moment they walk through the door.
“We have been expanding the gift store,” Ginny said. “We routinely go down to New York City to the fashion and gift shows. We are constantly down there shopping and buying what’s new.”
The Ryans credit a lot of the store’s gift success to Donna Santagate, who has worked with them as a consultant guiding them through the buying process.
“She is a dear friend of ours and has been in the gift business for a long time,” Ginny said. “She has a reputation in the business and at these shows, people stop her; everyone wants to talk to her. She has been a buyer for over 45 years and she’s brilliant. We are always shopping together.”
While gifts have been part of the business from Day 1, the Ryans soon realized that printing would be the perfect complement to its custom-framing cornerstone.
“Pretty much from the start, it’s been framing, printing and the gifts,” Ken said. “The printing has really taken off and represents a good chunk of what we do.”
But when the Ryans talk about printing, they’re not talking about business cards. They’re talking about art. And it’s all done in-house.
“We do photo restorations, photo and canvas printing, enlargements and giclee (fine art digital prints of an artist’s original work) reproductions,” Ken said. And it takes a special set of skills to do it right.
“Printing giclee reproductions is a timely process,” Ginny explained. “I have to match the colors in the computer to the colors in the artist’s work. Being an artist, I know color. It’s a skill that takes patience and time to develop.”
And it all ties in nicely to the custom-framing component of the business.
“A customer brought in a newspaper article about him and his wife. It was all beaten up,” Ken said. “We scanned it and reprinted it and it came out so nice. Then we framed it up. Same thing with photographs. Sometimes they have only one picture of a loved one, but there is a huge crack through it. We can scan it, fix the crack, reprint the corrected image and frame it. Now you have a beautiful framed picture.”
But they also do traditional printing.
“We can print small photos and we can print canvases,” she added. “We can do removable wall prints as well. We can do any print up to 44 inches wide. We have done murals with the removable prints, putting them next to each other to take up an entire wall.”
But it’s not just photos and artwork that the Ryans will frame for you. They are ready to accommodate just about any request.
“People bring in the craziest projects,” Ken said. “We put a 24-carat gold-plated Winchester rifle in a custom shadow box.”
Ken’s skills as a custom framer have been well recognized. Westchester Magazine voted Somers Custom Framing & Gift as the Best in Westchester in 2009 and 2013.
Their staff includes Amy-Beth Pitura, who has 15 years’ experience as a framer.
“She has an art history degree and has been in the framing business for a long time, longer than me,” Ken said. “She’s fantastic, an amazing framer.”
As Somers Custom Framing & Gift enters the holiday season and readies to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Ryans say they aren’t looking to expand, just keep improving on what they do.
They’ve recently upgraded the business’s website—somersframing.com—by making it more interactive. Shoppers can now use the e-commerce component to order gifts—the inventory is constantly changing and updated.
“We can better interact with our customers now,” Ken said.
But the coolest new addition to the business might be the app that you can download onto your phone. Through it, you can upload a picture you’d like framed via your phone or Instagram, choose a frame, mat and glass, and then come to the store and pick it up or have it delivered.
The Ryans noted that they provide complimentary gift wrapping for anything they sell, and they ship to anywhere in the country.
“The store is always a work in progress,” Ginny said. “We are always looking to see what trends are out there. We can never just order what we’ve had in the past. We are constantly working to see what is new.”