After 15 years in North Attleborough’s downtown, Matt Slobogan, owner of The Preservation Framer has seen a lot as the community has changed.
Slobogan initially opened the store after the frame store chain he worked for went out of business. He got into the frame store business when he needed an extra job, and as someone who enjoys art, it was an opportunity to work in something art-related.
The store is currently located at 29 and 31 North Washington St., in downtown North Attleborough, where Slobogan used to work in 2005 when it was the Free Press. He initially opened his store at 16 North Washington St., where it was located for about nine years before moving into the current space.
The move allowed them to expand with the Churchwood Gallery next door. After renovating and connecting the two spaces, with one being turned into a gallery to showcase artwork, hold events and meetings.
For members of the community who want to help Matt Slobogan and the rest of the team at the Preservation Framer celebrate their achievement there will be a celebration located at the store on Friday, Nov., 17 where there will be an art gallery along with free food and beverages, and they are also currently holding a 15% off sale on their products.
Getting up and running
The early days of the store were slow, according to Slobogan, but they were still able to make good sales and did what an average frame store would do in a first year. They held art receptions once a month in order to gain recognition for the business with the hopes of bringing in customers. According to Slobogan, their service has always been excellent and now they’re having their best year yet.
Slobogan initially opened his store in North Attleborough due to the fact that he lives in town and wanted to remain local. He stated that when the store first opened there weren’t as many businesses downtown, but the residents still came out to support the store.
“It’s just gone up from there, but the residents have been great,” he said. “It’s a good community.”
Slobogan also gives credit to the North residents for his success all these years.
“They came and worked with us right at the beginning of the first year,” Slobogan said. “They made sure to come to us instead of some competitors, most of them if not all of them have stayed with us.”
Throughout the years the store has had to face some challenges. Slobogan said that he’s had to deal with troubles with a business partner and COVID. The main problem with COVID for the store according to Slobogan, was it completely shut down the store just when they were getting started and had a lot of momentum after being in their new location for a year.
However, one of the biggest problems that plagues the store is the lack of understanding for what the Preservation Framer actually is. He stated most people believe it’s just about making picture frames. According to Slobogan, it’s a lot more than that.
“We’re designers and artists and we do consultations, and we preserve things, but we also make them look incredible,” he said. “So, we preserve them to museum quality, but make them look incredible like a designer would do. Then there’s a woodworking aspect to it. We make our own frames. Not all of our frames, but a good handful.”
The local business community has also played a role in the story of the Preservation Framer. Matt and his wife, Town Councilor Andrea Slobogan, run the Downtown North Attleborough Collaborative, which has held a number of events, such as the Downtown Block Party.
“And that is an effort to get business owners together and work together on things so the business owners can come up with ideas for events, we can come up with ideas to do amongst each other,” he said.
The expansion with the Churchwood Gallery in 2018 allowed an important step forward for the store, according to Slobogan.
The Churchwood Gallery has allowed the store space to hold other events besides art shows as well. This includes meetings with business owners and local and state officials, birthday parties, bridal showers, and baby showers. They are also able to hold art classes there whether it be another artist coming in and teaching a class or one of them doing it.
The expansion has also allowed them to host fundraisers for good causes including Our Open Umbrella, the town’s Little League, and Sisters At Heart. According to him he does the fundraising because, “The why’s just because I should and if I can, I will.”
Planning for the future
Slobogan is going to let the end of the year dictate where the business goes in 2024. As of now he’s hoping to hire one more employee and see where that goes.
Slobogan isn’t as excited as he thought he would be to reach this milestone, but he also had a lot of faith that he would be able to get to this point. He feels like he owes it to his wife, employees, the residents, and working hard in general, and hopes to be here for another 10-15 years.
”I would say that it’s great, but I really am thankful,” he said. “Mostly thankful.”
Slobogan reflected on what this accomplishment has taught him. He stated, “I think it just shows that hard work and determination absolutely will pay off if you stick to it and don’t give up. But it hasn’t been easy and you have to surround yourself with people that are going to have your back.”