Six days a week for the last 30 years, married couple Skip and Lou Price have worked together at Village Frameworks & Gallery and they still are not tired of the job or each other.
“It’s just our life, it’s just what we did. We enjoy each other's company,” Skip Price said.
After getting married in South Carolina, the couple moved to Culpeper, Lou Price’s hometown, and opened the store. She noted that opening in Culpeper was a smart decision because “it’s very important to start a business in a town where you already know people.”
She credited the store’s success to its faithful customers.
“I can’t imagine starting a new business in a town where you didn’t know anybody,” Lou Price said. “The community support made all the difference in the world.”
The store opened Sept. 24, 1990 in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center and relocated to its current location, 206 S. Main St., in 1999. For three decades, she explained they have provided “any part of framing you might need.” The shop also showcases local artists in its gallery, where a variety of genres are available for purchase.
Beyond the faithful customers who have kept the business going, Skip Price said “it doesn’t hurt when you love what you’re doing.” While it is a production job, he loves the constantly shifting tasks.
“There’s always some aspect of something in the job that doesn’t make it repetitive. And that creativity is what keeps us going,” he said.
Other enjoyment, Skip Price said, is found in handling items customers sentimentally value. She agreed, saying “the fun part about our job and working with our customers is they bring us unique, one of a kind things that can’t really be replaced.”
“I love working on things of sentimental value far more than I enjoy working on things of monetary value. And our customers trust us with those things, to preserve them and to take care of them,” she said.
While they love the work, Lou Price said the 30 years were not “all rainbows and unicorns.” She explained that people spend disposable income at the shop, which means the business has been affected by economic swings.
“There’s not a whole lot of framing emergencies,” Skip Price noted.
The most difficult of times came amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but they explained the business survived so far because of customers. Lou Price said some customers “intentionally brought us work just to make sure we were getting a little bit of business along the way.”
“I cannot express my appreciation to them enough,” she said.
Being in their 60s leaves the couple pondering retirement and the shop’s future, which may include either selling it or closing down. While they may be contemplating such matters, both agreed to keep going as long as it is enjoyable.
“As long as we can still do it and as long as we still enjoy it, we’ll continue to do it,” Skip Price said.