Spotlight on Bay Framing
In the coming weeks, we’re shining the #MorecambeBaySpotlight on some of the brilliant independent businesses in our local region.
This time, it’s Bay Framing! Bay Framing is a quality framing shop based in Morecambe offering bespoke framing at affordable prices, as well as posters, prints and framed pictures to tempt you in the shop’s gallery.
We spoke with the owner, Tom Chesters, to learn a little more about Bay Framing…
How would you describe Bay Framing in a line or two?
Bay Framing offers an affordable bespoke picture framing service combined with relaxed and friendly customer service.
What was the inspiration behind starting Bay Framing?
I was keen to offer a highly professional standard of framing coupled with a friendly approach to help customers feel at ease, and with ten years of framing experience behind me, I knew it was the right time to start my own business. Choosing the right frame for a precious piece of art or having something framed for the first time can be a little daunting, and some people don’t know what to expect.
At Bay Framing, our customers know whether their picture cost £5 or £5,000, it’s in safe hands and we always aim to provide the best service in the area.
What was Bay Framing like in the early days?
In a word, cold! When we began the business in early 2014 it was based in Morecambe Festival Market, with a workshop at White Cross Industrial Estate in Lancaster. I opened in the market to get a feel for how well a framing business would do in the Morecambe area. While opting for the market was a good starting point, it was also incredibly cold in winter!
In the early days, it felt exciting to be self-employed but it could also feel a bit nerve-racking after a quiet week. However, I never regretted becoming self-employed and was always confident that my years of experience would make Bay Framing a success given time. I was fortunate to have a very understanding wife who gave me great support every step of the way.
How has Bay Framing evolved over the years?
The single biggest change for the business came about in June 2017 when we purchased our spacious shop on Regent Road. With space for a gallery and serving area at the front, and loads of workshop and storage areas behind, it really has been a game-changer and the business has gone from strength to strength. Moving to a shop has given us a much greater presence in the local community, with significantly increased customer numbers from a much more diverse spread of society. We are very proud to be part of the regeneration of Morecambe’s West End and feel sure that in years to come more businesses will decide to settle here.
Moving to our shop has also given us the space to increase our range of specialised framing equipment which increases efficiency and means we can offer a wider range of choices. Our favourite purchase has been the Wizard 9000 computerised mount cutter, the only one of its kind in the local area, which enables us to offer an enormous variety of mount options for our customers as well as being able to do bulk orders. We don’t pay for advertising, and word of mouth is king when it comes to our line of
business. Our customers are varied and, we think, the nicest around. We are proud to be the framer for renowned local artist Chas Jacobs and stock a wide range of his works in our shop.
What are you most excited about in the months and years ahead?
Bay Framing has always been very much a family business. My dad has built all the workbenches, while my mum often lends a hand with some of the fiddlier sewing jobs. Our most exciting moment recently, and also for the future, was when my wife Egle joined the business full-time in January. She’s incredibly talented and artistic and I’m thrilled at the prospect of her helping us build and improve our business.
I’ve got 18 years of experience as a picture framer but Egle and I are both only 33 and feel that with age on our side we’ve got a real opportunity to establish Bay Framing as a fixture in the local community for years to come. We firmly believe that Morecambe, and the area as a whole, is on the up and we’re really excited to be a part of that.
Our shop is in the West End, our daughter goes to a Morecambe primary school and we live just up the road in Heysham. People often remark to me that picture framing shops seem to be run by older people or have closed due to retirement, but we’re here to stay.
What’s the most unusual and/or most interesting item you’ve ever framed?
It was a huge honour to frame the official portrait of Eric Morecambe that hangs in Morecambe Town Hall, particularly as Eric was a distant relative of mine.
Also in recent years we’ve framed paintings for Tyson Fury and had Eddie Izzard as a customer too!
However, the most unusual thing I’ve ever framed was probably an old Iranian road sign.
Follow Bay Framing on social to see what they’re up to!
When the lockdown is over and you can once again return to our beloved high streets, please remember to support and shop local.
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