It may seem like a strange time to open a new store—mid-pandemic and mid-recession, as many brick-and-mortar stores have boarded up shop—but Framebridge isn't letting that get in the way of their new location: a 1,700 square foot Brooklyn space that pays tribute to New York City and nostalgia, while marrying the best of digital and retail shopping (with hygiene precautions, of course).
"We always had our eye on Williamsburg because we have a high density of customers there and then we fell in love with this space," says founder Susan Tynan. "It's meaningful to us to be in a neighborhood that is rooted in manufacturing and art."
Visitors to the shop, set in the historic Lewis Steel Building, may well remark that it doesn't, well, feel like a shop—and that's on purpose. For the interiors, Framebridge tapped Studio Tack, a New York firm best known for boutique hotel design. The shop itself is set up less like your typical cash-and-carry space and more like a creative studio: There's a 44-foot gallery wall with framed nods to NYC, and central drafting tables where customers can work with employees to choose frames and mats. "We really design the experience to be fast and easy," Tynan explains. "We know people are busy and they used to view framing as a chore. We want it to be fun!"
The space also incorporates Framebridge's technology: On a series of iPads, customers can see a rendering of their art framed before officially pressing "order," when they'll receive the same digital follow-up as with online Framebridge orders. To commemorate the opening, Framebridge has also launched the new Williamsburg frame, inspired by the steel frames of the shop and available exclusively in the store.
Framebridge has outlined a plan for keeping the store clean during COVID, but the company was passionate about not letting the pandemic stop the opening. "While COVID-19 slowed down our retail expansion by a few months, we are still really excited to continue to open new stores during this time," Tynan says. "We are fortunate that we are able to serve customers safely in our stores—we have huge workspaces to roll out your art which means our stores were configured well to accommodate social distancing. And, importantly, what we do still really matters to people. As people spend more time in their homes, and more time reflecting on their life's highlights, we are seeing a lot of demand. Now more than ever, people want to surround themselves with special, personal memories." We can't argue with that!
Framebridge is now open at 76 N. 4th Street in Williamsburg.
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