Artistic Framers close

Artistic Framers on Third Street SW is closing. (Matt Stolle/mstolle@postbulletion.com)

Another business in the heart of downtown Rochester is making plans to close.

Sue Schreiber, owner of Artistic Framers Inc., said she plans to close her framing shop sometime early next year, ending a 32-year run on Historic Third Avenue. An official closing date hasn't been decided, and her store will be open through the busy Christmas holiday season "for sure," she said.

"We don't have a definite date, but I'll be gone before the spring," Schreiber said. 

The announcement was the latest evidence of a downtown in flux, as locally owned businesses and mom-and-pop shops cope with challenges arising from soaring property values and higher taxes to road construction and reduced parking in the era of Destination Medical Center. 

Artistic Framers joins a growing number of downtown establishments that have shuttered in the last four years, including Michael's Restaurant, Mac's Cafe and Restaurant, Barnes & Noble Books, O&B Shoes and, most recently, The Gingerbread Bakery. 

Schreiber made clear in an interview that her decision to close sometime next year wasn't driven by a single reason. Some were personal. She has a second grandchild and wants to spend more time at home.

But she also made clear that street closings, road construction and reduced parking made it more difficult to do business in the downtown. 

"This has always been a wonderful street, so I will really miss it," Schreiber said. "But if you are a bar, they will walk forever to get to you. If you are a business like this and they're bringing art work in or purchasing art work, they don't want to have to park three blocks away." 

Schreiber emphasized that she is not closing because of Destination Medical Center, a $5 billion economic development initiative that has accelerated growth and change in the downtown. 

"I'm not saying all the changes are bad," Schreiber said, noting that many of her customers are doctors and nurses who work at Mayo Clinic or are patients there.

But she noted parking, always a challenge, became more of a problem when a number of parking spots east of the Third Street parking ramp were lost to make way for a limestone fountain "that still isn't on." Parking becomes even more constricted during the winter, when more spots are lost to snow. 

Schreiber said she wished city hall could have been more considerate of the challenges that small businesses face downtown. 

"When we complained to the city council about them taking more parking spots, they told us we were a bunch of kind of whiny babies," she said.

John Kruesel, owner of Kruesel's General Merchandise & Auction Company and a business neighbor on Third Street, said he was saddened by the news. 

"We have become family," he said, but beyond his personal sadness, Artistic Framers played an important role in people's lives by offering something unique.

"There's nobody like her in the area of framing and matting, given her attention to detail. That's something nobody is going to replace," Kruesel said. 

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