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Home » Opinion » Small business tale in Lee's Summit

Small business tale in Lee's Summit

March 10, 2012

Dear Editor,
I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Leeís Summit. A little over two years ago, I decided to live the American Dream and open my own business. I opened ďThe Custom FramersĒ here in Leeís Summit, and I have been enjoying working with you ever since.

For two years, Iíve been building the business and developing relationships. I feel honored that people have chosen to trust me to work with their family memories. I truly enjoy what I do and love working with people and developing unique solutions to their needs. I canít even begin to describe the feeling that I get when you come to pick up your project.

Framing pictures sounds simple enough, but Iíve found myself much more than photos. Iíve been framing everything from Hockey Jerseys, to a christening gown, to an autographed NASCAR fender. Iíve worked with several local artists and partnered with the Missouri Mavericks hockey team, sponsoring their charity Jersey Auctions. Iíve participated in many local events and fundraisers, and love being able to do it. Iíve done my best to keep things local and support other local businesses. Iíve found this experience to be one of constant learning. Iíve learned about social media. I developed a Facebook business page and participated in last yearsí Ultimate of Leeís Summit contest. Iíve tried many marketing ideas, discovering what worked and what didnít through trial and error, making some mistakes along the way. Through it all, Iíve adapted and overcome most of the obstacles associated in starting a new business.

The one thing I havenít been able to overcome is the high cost of retail space here in Leeís Summit. My small shop is $1,900 a month plus utilities. When I opened, I negotiated what I thought was a competitive rate on my lease. Itís reasonable compared with other similar properties in the area, but unfortunately is just too high to continue business in my current location. Thatís why it makes me sad to tell you that Iím closing The Custom Framers at the end of this month.

This has been a difficult decision. As a retired Marine, quitting does not come easily, thatís why Iím not looking at this as closing, but rather, as a business evolution. Although I will be closing my retail store, I will be maintaining myweb www.thecustomframers.com and Facebook pages, http://www.facebook.com/thecustomframers.

I will continue to look for opportunities to bring back The Custom Framers. With all the ups and downs, Iíve still loved the experience and sincerely thank you for your support.

Please understand the purpose of my writing this letter was not to whine about my landlord, or my business decisions.

My purpose was twofold. First and foremost, to thank my customers and the community, and second, to take the opportunity to give people some insight into the costs of operating a small business in Leeís Summit. I donít know how many of you have ever started or considered starting a small business, but the next time you drive through town, slow down and look at all the reality signs on the empty businesses.

Ask yourself what happened to the last business and see what ideas you can develop for a business you can think of to put there. Economic recovery must and will be led by small business.

What can you do to be a part of it? 

Greg Hull
The Custom Framers

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