Home grown. The theme for this month’s issue is also the theme for the magazine in general–it is the people and businesses that make the fabric of the Northland. But this month we hone in on a few that are even more close to home–artists that paint heartbeats, artists that paint landmarks, retailers that sell hometown pride and more.

I want to tell you a story this month of an interaction that I had because of the magazine. I come into contact with so many small business people in my line of work and if I can, I try to support them. In this case, a locally owned business cleaned up a mess that a national retail chain created.

My husband and I had purchased an original painting in Peru when we visited on vacation a few years back. After finally getting around to thinking about framing it, we took it to the place where we had had framing work done before–Michael’s. The arts and crafts mega-retailer is where many people turn to due to coupons and massive advertising campaigns. Normally, they would have probably done a great job.

But in this case, working with a piece of original art, they damaged it. When we went to pick up our framed painting, a llama in watercolor, large creases appeared on either side of the painting. They had damaged it. While the framing manager was very apologetic and did everything she could to correct the situation, the damage was done. I had no idea what to do.

Because of this month’s feature on Vanessa Lacy, though, Art and Frame Warehouse had come across my radar. I decided to contact them to see if they could shed any light on the situation. What I found was a staff of incredibly helpful and knowledgeable people (Thank you, Alex and Juliet!) that went above and beyond to educate me and provide me with resources to get my painting appraised and possibly repaired. I haven’t spent a dime with them yet but when I’m ready to frame the painting after it has been repaired, I know where I will go.

The difference, of course, was the care that they took with my issue. They saw me as a person, not an order number and took time and care to make sure that they could truly help me. That’s something that I find consistently among small business owners. Art and Frame Warehouse may be a franchise, but it’s a franchise owned by someone that cares enough to train their staff and treat them well.

That’s what ‘home grown’ means and I’m proud to bring you stories of home grown businesses each month. Enjoy!