I made the decision to not do business with Larson-Juhl about ten years ago when I was looking for good hardwood frames. I had been told of a company called Clark, I believe, that had beautiful hardwood frames, of which I was shown a few samples. Turned out they had just been bought by Larson-Juhl, who had been buying up small moulding and supply companies as fast as they could. The new samples from Larson-Juhl were not what I was looking for. In the process of opening an account with Larson Juhl, I met with so much resistance, suspicion, general bs, and hassle that I wrote them off as one of those companies that I wouldn’t do business with under any circumstances. I recall some phone conversations that made it hard to believe that they were in business to serve their customers. My suggestion is to look for other companies that would be delighted to have your business. I’ll be happy to offer you any help I can to find a frame and material supplier to take their place, and you will probably find better prices as well. The large frame and supply trade shows, like Frame-o-Rama in NY, are great resources. There are plenty of good suppliers out there.
I quit using Larson-Juhl a few years ago, as I found them not to be artist friendly. Instead I use Metropolitan Picture Framing for all of my frames and some of my supplies. MPF is located here in Minneapolis and manufacture beautiful, classic architectural hardwood frames used by museums, galleries, artists and photographers. They are involved in all aspects of custom framing from presentation design to crating and shipping. They even custom designed a profile of moulding for my panel pieces. You will find them very responsive to the individual needs of artists. Check out their wonderful website at: www.metroframe.com/. You can even order online. Or call them at 1-800- 626-3139 For some of my other hardware and supplies (screws, wire, hangers, and etc., I use United Manufacturers Supplies Inc. 1-800-645-7260.
I too, have had the same problem trying to activate an account with Larson- Juhl. When we stopped selling our photographs in the hand painted frames, we had looked around and picked a frame style from Larson-Juhl. Of course they refused to sell to me. So I found a local, family run, frame shop and they were more then happy to order, chop and join the frames I wanted at a reasonable price. On another note. For the picture sizes I most use, I’m having my mats cut by Dixie Matting (800-245-8064) and they are reliable and inexpensive. I figured out that for a little over the cost of me purchasing the mat board, I can have the mats delivered already cut, and better spend my time elsewhere.
Living in Pittsburgh, I also use Lewinter (800-633-8886). They have competitive pricing and I can pick up and save shipping costs, especially on matboard.
Here’s another framing supply resource. I also use UMS, but I find that sometimes it’s worth paying a little more and order supplies from M&M Distributers (800-526-2302I would recommend Lexington Framing Supplies to anyone in or near Kentucky. They are a wholesale only business, and have been really responsive to my needs. Fairly huge selection of frames, too. They will ship anywhere. If interested, talk to Jim Robinson, 859-254-3353.
We are very happy with Art Express out of Grand Rapids who deliver FREE to our door. They have a wide range of framing supplies. Not sure how wide their delivery range is, but we are several hours away from Grand Rapids. They can be reached at 1-800-542-7188.
Try Nurre Caxton at phone no. (800) 255-1942. I’ve been doing business with them for years. I order thumbnailed chops but you can get frames assembled also. They’re easy to deal with and have good molding. Any company as stupid as Larson-Juhl does not deserve your business.
On this subject, I received a catalog yesterday from a local supplier that advertises to do-it-yourselfers and ships nationwide. Check out www.documounts.com to see if the selection and pricing is competitive. I have ordered from them a few times with good results, however, generally don’t frame my paintings as most are painted around the edge.