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Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing: Frame it all (5 photos)

This week’s Monday Morning ‘MUG’ing takes a look at the Framing Post and Design Studio on Wardrope Avenue.

THUNDER BAY -- One of Thunder Bay’s oldest framing businesses, the Framing Post was established in May 1976 by Graham Post. Current owner Jackie Rogalla started working there when she was 18; she left when she started a family, but came back in 1998.

By that time, Post was slowly easing himself into retirement and took Rogalla under his wing, teaching her about sales, ordering, balancing the books and managing a small business. She also took a course in interior design so that she would be better qualified to advise her clients on their framing options. When Post finally said he was ready to retire completely, she had been managing the business on her own for six years and was quite ready to take ownership.

Rogalla became the new owner in Dec 2017, renaming it the Framing Post and Design Studio to reflect the design work she does for her clients. Because the store’s original location on Camelot Street was in need of a lot of updating, she decided to move the business into the basement of her home on 408 Wardrope Avenue.

All the equipment and supplies were moved into her spacious and newly renovated basement. She works five days a week and also takes appointments to visit clients in their homes or offices if the client has trouble with stairs, or if the client wants advice on their framing options depending on the space the artwork is going in.

“People keep their photos on their phones now,” she says, but there are still people who want to frame paintings, needlework, and mementos. She has framed work for regional artists and photographers such as Debbie Metzler, Diana Coulombe and Doug Gibbons.

Shadowboxes have gained in popularity, and Rogalla can frame “pretty much anything.” From dog collars and toys to remember a deceased family pet to hockey jerseys and medals, she has done it all. A broken hammer (“it was passed down the generations and when it finally broke, his wife decided to frame it up for Christmas.”) and a pile of guitar strings used to make a CD have been some of her most unusual requests.

Rogalla wouldn’t call herself an artist (“I can draw a stickman; that’s about it!”) but her years in the framing business has made her a consummate expert in framing. “A lot of people can’t see the total picture. It all depends on the space they’re going to put [the framed artwork] in,” she explains. “They use me to guide them in the right direction.”