The Frame Depot was opened in 1986 by Randy Bogart. The business was originally housed with its companion business, Art Depot, which was owned by Randy’s brother, Jack. In 1996, the business moved to a new location with a street that was yet to be named. Since two other family members also had businesses on the street, it only seemed natural to name it Bogart Lane. The new building housed both Depots, but after Jack retired, he sold his side of the building to the Frame Depot. Since 2000, Claudine Bogart, Randy’s daughter, had been running the business. After the tragic loss of her father in 2011, she became the new owner. In 2007, in order to build her skills and knowledge, Claudine enrolled in the Leading Edge class. In 2009, Frame Depot won the “Best Back Room in the Nation” award from Décor Magazine.
Up until 2012, Frame Depot had been renting out the unused half of the building, but after losing their renter, were left trying to fill the vacant space. With the loss of the tenant, Wells Fargo informed Claudine that they would not renew the loan, and thus left her with one year to decide how to fill the vacancy, as Frame Depot could not support the full building. During this time, Claudine met with the Small Business Development Center and took advantage of free coaching, and, combined with skills she had learned in Leading Edge years earlier, was able to refinance the building through a Credit Union. Claudine says that learning how to do cash flows from the SBDC was an integral part of negotiating the refinance.
Claudine credits much of her success to working with the SBDC through counseling and Leading Edge. She met with SBDC coaches in the areas of marketing, real estate, finances, QuickBooks, and business plan review. She says the Leading Edge class filled the gaps and helped her to understand “why we do the things we do” in the business planning process. She feels Leading Edge and the SBDC provided her with tools to succeed.
Claudine’s advice to people looking to start a business is, “ask for advice, listen to it, and do your homework. Make sure the product or service you want to provide is needed.” And as for the SBDC, Claudine says, “It is helpful to know there’s people out there who can help you for free!”