ARMONK, N.Y. -- Judy Gilmartin-Willsey who owns Framings with her husband, Carter Willsey, credits her store's 26-year success to having a sense of humor.
"When we opened our shop together we knew it was going to be a challenge to work side by side all day so we came up with the idea of giving a 5% discount for a good joke," she said. Apparently, wisecracks and one-liners sell, as the two did so well they moved out of their first space -- on Bedford Road in the former Take Off Bar -- six months later. They've been in their second location, at 420 Main Street, ever since.
The White Plains resident said success comes down to the fact that she has a creative eye (her Parsons Design school training at work!) and she and her staff go out of their way to solve any framing challenge. Framings has more than 4,000 corner samples to choose from, including the newest and most up to date samples. "You can't do great framing without great supplies," stressed Gilmartin-Willsey.
The shop has also been trusted, over the years, with a host of original oils and valuable photography. "We've framed Rembrandt, Picasso, Calder, dozens of other mega famous artists and lots of very very valuable kids art," she said.
The business does more than frames, too, including mirrors, bulletin boards, marker boards, as well as makes shelves from picture frame moulding, and creates collages and three-D shadow boxes. "There is almost nothing I can think of that we haven't framed," she said.
Despite living in White Plains, Gilmartin-Willsey practically "lives" in northern Westchester. She is the co-founder of the Armonk Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Frosty the Snowman Day committee, and sings in an A cappella group in Greenwich, Conn.
For those who've been to her shop, Gilmartin-Willsey's wide smile is contagious. "The key to our success is that I truly love what I do,' she admitted. "Every day is different and every framing job is different." She also makes it a point to get to know everyone and ask questions. "I'm truly interested in people," she said.
Plus, she and her staff laugh a lot and genuinely seem to have fun together. "We tell stories, we have theme lunches, we dress up at Halloween," added Gilmartin-Willsey. "We are a family."
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