Karen Kearney has yet to encounter an unframable object, from hole-in-one golf balls to piano wire and shattered glass taken from Hitler’s home in Germany. More often though, she frames Florida Gators jerseys, artwork and diplomas.
“I enjoy that everything that comes through the door is different,” Kearney said at her shop. “You just never know what’s coming through.”
But Kearney’s framing days have entered a new phase. On June 1, Lindsay Woodward Meade took over as the owner of Picture This! Frameshop and Gallery off of NW 39th Avenue, which is in the Springhill Commons near I-75.
Kearney started Picture This! in 2010, seizing an opportunity to buy all of her employer’s equipment. Already with decades of experience, Kearney moved the shop from Butler Plaza to the current location.
The shop has an extra 400 square feet, and nearby Publix and Pomodoro Café help bring in customers. Plus, Kearney points out, northwest Gainesville is growing.
Kearney said the shop will probably see an increase once diplomas are handed out at UF, and Picture This! supplies UF Athletics with end-of-year gifts, like a framed women’s soccer jersey ready for pickup.
Artists are also common customers. That’s how Kearney and Woodward Meade met.
Woodward Meade’s husband is an artist who has been using Picture This! for years. Through him, Woodward Meade would visit the shop and thought she would enjoy the work.
In 2019, Woodward Meade found out that Kearney was thinking of retiring. After some dialogue and more than two years, Kearney is ready to travel and start retirement.
She and her husband have planned a trip to Germany and lots of time with their two grandkids. But Kearney is also helping out at Picture This! to make the transition smooth.
“I’ve got all the fundamentals down, but now, it’s basically about all the unique pieces that come in—how to mount them appropriately,” Woodward Meade said. “That’s the stuff that you don’t really learn until it comes through the door.”
Woodward Meade started visiting the shop twice a week in January to learn the business, and Kearney said the shop is in good care.
“She catches on really quickly, and she does a great job,” Kearney said.
As the women talk, two customers arrive—one human, one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Woodward Meade gets to work, figuring out how to frame two photographs.
They walk through options on frames and which photo goes on top. Woodward Meade looks through different matting colors to present an array of browns and tans, while Kearney helps another arrival decide what type of glass to use on a frame—Museum Clear or Conservation Clear.
Kearney said framing is about preservation. Both glass options stop 99% of UV light, and the shop only uses acid-free matting.
The signature on a jersey will stay visible even after decades, and Kearney said the white in a matting will stay that shade, not yellowing like old newsprint.
Picture This! orders weekly shipments, and everything is done at the location. The toughest part, Woodward Meade said, is handling the logistics—when to order materials and other business components. But she said the work excites her, and she enjoys showing up each day.
Before COVID, the shop also held galleries with artists’ work. Woodward Meade plans to restart the practice in the fall. With so many artists as customers, the shop has easy access to locals for the galleries.
“When people find a framer that they like to work with and gives them a great product, they stick with them,” Kearney said.