Littleton Business Owner Talks About Her 32 Years of Success

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Posted Tue, Apr 2, 2013

(Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman)

UNIQUE BOUTIQUE: The charming Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff shop welcomes those looking for home accents, accessories and framing. (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

LITTLETON, Colo. — Home is more than just a place of residence. It contains a feeling of comfort, and brings a sense of love and connection between people. This is the atmosphere of the Colorado Frame & Savvy Stuff, 2396 W. Main St.

Of course, the shop offers beautiful custom framing and other tangible accents to enhance one’s home. However, what makes this store special, as well as successful, is co-owner Margie Drake’s genuine concern for her customers, employees and the community.

Margie and her husband Dave, have been in business for 32 years and continue to serve Littleton with a passion for framing and interior design. Successful is the only way to describe their entrepreneurial endeavor. Yet, Margie attributes much of this success to her employees and customers.

“I have wonderful employees, I mean really talented and caring employees, and that’s a really important part,” Drake says.

Drake understands that framing and decorating one’s home is an extremely personal task — it’s her favorite part of her job. “When you go to have something framed for your home, you learn a lot about that person and it’s a big deal,” Drake says. Her enthusiasm toward framing meaningful moments in people’s lives and helping with home project ideas is evident and keeps customers returning to her store.

“We’ve gone to her for years,” says Jane Coleman, a customer and friend of the Drakes.

Building a relationship with her customers and showing them she cares is important to Drake and her business. However, she’s had to develop these relationships with new customers in the past four years when the business relocated from Platte Canyon and Bowles to their current location on West Main Street.

After over 25 years of being in the same location, the Drakes and their employees were forced to adapt to new demands. During this time, the store’s merchandise expanded even further and Savvy Stuff was born, offering giftware and other home accents.

“I don’t think a good business owner, and there are a lot of good business owners down here [Downtown Littleton], I don’t think they stay stagnant,” Drake says.

Having gone through several economic changes in the past 32 years, Drake says change is what keeps her business alive. Constantly changing to the needs of the customers is just something business owners need to do.

Drake adapted to the demands of the shoppers on West Main Street by offering more giftware, such as Vera Bradley and Troll Beads while staying true to her passion for framing and interior design.

“I think of them as two businesses, Colorado Framing and Savvy Stuff, and I really wanted them to be equal,” she says. “I love framing. I love it, and I never wanted that to be second, but this new location down in Littleton was just a real natural for the giftware and all to grow.”

Drake makes changes based on the conversations with her customers. She said she listens to what her customers tell her and more importantly, what they say to each other while in her store.

While customer demands are important to Drake, her commitment and time spent at the store is equally important. “I think it’s really important, especially for small business owners, for the ownership to still be visible to the clientele,” she says. “It rubs off to your employees of how much you care.”

Most new business owners don’t realize, or aren’t committed to, how much they need to give of themselves to their business, and it’s more than most jobs.

“But it’s different when you love it,” Drake says.

So how many hours does Drake contribute to her business?

“I never tell anyone,” she says with a smile. “More than I like to admit.”

Loyal customer, Jane Coleman, and co-owner of Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff, Margie Drake (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman)

FRAME UP: Loyal customer, Jane Coleman (left), and co-owner of Colorado Frame & Savvy Stuff, Margie Drake (right), stand among the many unique choices of wood her business offers for framing (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Although her business, entrepreneurial skills and creativity are large parts of who Margie Drake is, she’s also a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother. As she talks about memories of her family such as stories about her children growing up in her store, she lights up with joy. “I have a granddaughter now who’s three years, so she’s been pretty instrumental in me balancing my life again because I love being with her,” Drake said.

In fact, balancing her business and life outside of her business is of great importance to her. However, she admits this is a difficult task.

“I say my friends have been the most patient, best friends in the whole world because they have been ignored by me at times because I’ll let this take over, you know, and my children too.”

To achieve a healthy work-life balance can be a struggle for many, but the result of not achieving this balance is burnout. Spending numerous hours doing anything for a long period of time results in burnout, and after 32 years, Drake said she will experience it every once in awhile. For her, spending time away from the store with friends and family is the best way to recharge.

Drake is currently working on a project with the Littleton Police Department, framing badges of retirees. Members of the department personally come in and drop off their badges to her, and she strategically places them on a large blue board to later be framed and presented to the department. The project is laid out so the Littleton community can view its progress.

Drake says the secret to maintaining a successful business for 32 years, “I just don’t know how to give up.”

 

Business: Colorado Frame and Savvy Stuff

Address: 2396 W. Main Street Littleton, CO 80120

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Founded: 1980

Contact: 303-797-0861

Twitter: @cfcsavvystuff

Facebook: Colorado Frame Company & Savvy Stuff

 

About Stephanie V. Coleman

Stephanie V. Coleman is a creative writing student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her interests include music, culinary arts, traveling, and sports.

View all posts by Stephanie V. Coleman

6 Responses to “Littleton Business Owner Talks About Her 32 Years of Success”

  1. Davy Says:

    Very enjoyable story. Nice job reporting.

    Reply

  2. Jen Sasser Says:

    This was great!! A nice, feel good piece! Good job!

    Reply

  3. Ashley Says:

    This was a great article about entrepreneurship, especially with the new difficulties for entrepreneurs to start businesses AND keep them.

    Reply

  4. Grace Says:

    Wonderful story! Heartwarming but also adding in the business side of things, so nicely done!

    Reply

  5. Adam Says:

    Wonderful story! Very well written and very encouraging for small business owners. Margie has framed a few things for my family over the years and I can see why she is still so successful!

    Reply

  6. Jane Coleman Says:

    You did an excellent job with the article. I am so impressed with your ability to express your writing.

    Reply

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