Best Frame Shop - 2003
The theory of neighborhood self-sustainability is one that many a ramshackle borough in St. Louis struggles with. The litmus test is simple: If two feet of snow fell to the ground over the course of two weeks, would you be able to achieve daily amusement, home maintenance and sustenance without killing yourself or starving first? Because of the Framery (and perhaps Vincent's 12th Street Market), the island of Soulard achieves this ideal. In keeping with the neighborhood's dress code of tuckpointed brick, the Framery strives not for the vainglorious with its façade. But inside, the tiny shop has the brass rails that make Uncle Merb's watercolors sparkle in the drabbest of residential settings, a welcome antidote to the belligerent hoogeoisie who patrol the riverside barrio's sidewalks after sunset. To make matters better, new owner Jim Braun, who purchased the space from his former boss and next-door neighbor, Framery founder Bonita Leiber, has turned his building's formerly ho-hum workspace into an engaging new retail and gallery venue that lends itself to expanded evening hours and small-scale exhibitions. Art as wallpaper is sexy; art in frames is glorious. Glory be the Framery.