Last fall I was strolling through an antiques mall in Lewisburg and spotted a possible treasure for my best friend, Frank Cotolo of nearby Grantville.
Before revealing what I found, you need to understand that Frank is quite a character. He’s Brooklyn bred and has a Hollywood background that included a long stint with legendary rock n’ roll disc jockey Wolfman Jack. He talks and talks and talks and talks some more.
Spending time with Frank is like being on the set of a late night TV talk show as he rips off one joke after another and makes regular references to old time comedians.
Now, back to my find …
When I spotted a small photo of Groucho Marx in a pile of junk, I knew I had hit pay dirt for a gift to give to Frank on his birthday that was a few weeks away. To complete the package, I purchased a small frame at the same place.
But I had a problem … putting Groucho in the crappy $2 frame was going to add to my well deserved reputation as the world’s worst gift giver. (Ask my wife if you want confirmation of this B² trivia tidbit.)
I needed professional help and knew it was time to get framed, so to speak.
On a whim, I stopped in at Framed! in St. Thomas, a quaint-looking shop located a couple doors down from St. Thomas Restaurant in the square in Linglestown. I walked by the shop dozens of times since it opened about three years ago, but this was the first trip inside.
I explained my dilemma to professional framer and shop owner Lisa Clancy. Within a week or so she gave my dorky gift for Frank a shot of pizzazz and class. Frank liked the framed Groucho so much that he placed it next to his bed. I guess he channels the old comic before hitting the bricks every day.
It turns out that a lot of know-how and skill went into making the Groucho keepsake that sent me soaring into the gifting hall of fame.
Lisa chose the black and gray mats to avoid drawing attention away from the photo. Special foam was used to put some space between the two mats to give the piece some dimension. She added a V-grove to reveal a gray line, which was just the right touch to add a little pop. And her selection of a frame with a dark steel finish and gray inner edge helps to draw the eye in toward the photo.
As an added touch, Lisa used materials that will help preserve Groucho over time so he continues to look as good years from now as the day Frank gleefully ripped open this gift that was tastefully wrapped in newspaper comic pages.
Of course, turning something into a lifelong keepsake doesn’t come at a bargain basement price. The Groucho project normally would cost about $100. (I paid less than the full retail price in exchange for writing about my shopping experience at Framed! in St. Thomas.)
Consider stopping by Lisa’s shop the next time you’re in the village and have a few minutes to kill. Odds are you’ll find one or two things that you never expected to see in a frame.
And if you want to wow someone special or preserve a cherished memory, ask Lisa to give you a quote for getting framed like I did.
The only downside to working with Lisa is that expectations for my wife’s next gift have gone through the roof. It’s back to the antiques mall for me!