Location: salem, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Note To My Customers!


If you are thinking of doing a chargeback through your American Express card for any payments you made to the Art Corner for framing that was in the fire--PLEASE DON'T! Not yet! I have NOT received any advances from my insurance company except for one paltry check, so our funds are VERY LIMITED!

Nor can I refund any deposits made by you through any kind of monetary form, be it cash, check or charge. Our "gas tank" is running on fumes right now, until the insurance company starts paying on our claim. And I don't know how long that will take. It could be weeks, or MONTHS! I have been led to believe (!) that the insurance company is legally obliged to pay within a set amount of time, but I don't know what that time frame is. AND we haven't even finished our inventory, in order to even FILE that claim! We are waiting for YOU! I have started to call you, but some have demanded refunds, which I don't have to give at this point.

I still need to buy supplies; I still need to pay employees. I've had three "chargebacks" on American Express so far and they are depleting my meager funds so much so that I CANNOT pay my employees for this week cum Monday! UNLESS we get a huge influx of customers in the next couple of days with new framing! Hee, hee! Hint, hint!

But we still do not have a glass cutter in place, and the new mat cutter is of a design I'm unfamiliar with, and I don't have all the parts for it yet. We've worked out the limitations on our frame chopper, so that is up and running, but we don't have any stock of moulding yet, except for what we've salvaged from the fire, and we don't know how that'll react over time. I don't want to use something that we've salvaged from the basement and then have its finish bubble or a smoke-smell suddenly emerge from it in a few months! PLUS I need to drive up to Manchester once a week or so and presume upon the good graces of the owner of Nor-east Frameworks there to use his dry mount press and frame joiner. And gas is approaching $4 a gallon.

Am I pleading? YES! I need some time. I started calling customers yesterday concerning their work involved in the fire. But I've since stopped because I can't refund any more deposits or Paid in Fulls. We haven't the resources.

On a happier note, we have MANY pieces that one would never know had been in such a disaster. I've already turned over to their owners several pieces that had no damage and no smoke smell--at least, that was acceptable to the owners!

On a sad note, we've been unable to locate a handful of people's work. A couple of them, I have NO knowledge of. Which means they probably were dropped off on my one day off a week, Tuesday.

Let me explain Our System. It is the one used for 27 years by my former boss, the fellow from whom I bought the store 3 years ago. We use a three-part order slip system. The white copy goes on the Order Board in the back room. The yellow copy is attached to the cardboard folder the artwork is placed in, or attached to the artwork if it is too large or too thick to be put in a folder, such as a painting on canvas. The folders are put under the counter in the back room, unless they're too big or too thick, or otherwise of a configuration that won't go under a counter. The pink copy is given to the customer as a receipt. If WE have done our job correctly, then ALL the info involving the transaction, from moulding number, size of piece, condition of piece, payment status, should be copied on all the slips.

But since the order board with all the white slips burned up, we have only the yellow slips attached to cardboard folders to help us identify pieces. If the yellow slips are missing, then we have to GUESS, or else WAIT for the customer to contact US!

One the other, other hand, my husband, who has been a tower of strength and IDEAS--as always!--for me in this ordeal, has been going to the burned out store and digging and searching for customers' work and supplies and equipment to salvage. To the point now that he wants to literally bring a SHOVEL with him, so he can dig down through the layers of fallen ceiling insulation to the mauve or orange carpet, depending on if he's in the front or back rooms. I mean, we've ALL been doing this over the last six weeks--my employees too! But Chuck is the avatar. He just wants to go in and dig through every pile of debris and every nook and cranny! He is indefatigable! He's been awesome throughout this ordeal. He's the one who said to me the night of the fire, after we had gotten home after one in the am, and had poured ourselves a couple of stiff drinks: "So, now that you've written down who you need to call in the morning, HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR NEW STORE TO LOOK?" Slap me upside the head!

This is a terrible, terrible situation for us, but also for YOU! YOU have lost family treasures, as have we. We have come close to, and still might loose our livelihood if things turn for the worst. But I refuse to look at that Black Beast. We will not be dragged down by this.

We will "endeavor to persevere." As Chief Dan George stated in the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Outlaw Josey Wales."

The "Endeavoring to Persevere," unfortunately, takes TIME. PLEASE give me it!

The Art Corner
231 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970


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