Spend five minutes with Mary Beaudry and it’s easy to see how she’s been in business for over 20 years. She’s genuine. She’s kind. She’s absolutely hilarious.
You might expect the owner of a framing shop to be a little, ah, square. Not Mary. Her sparkling brown eyes and friendly smile put you instantly at ease. She’s full of life and full of jokes; with a witty quip for every occasion.
But don’t let her easy, laid-back manner fool you.
This single mom is also a sharp-minded businesswoman who has worked diligently to build up her company, Beaudry Framing, since 1991. And that hard work has paid off. Her clientele is made up of the “who’s who” in the DFW metroplex. On this particular August afternoon, she’s busy framing works of art for a multi-millionaire (she won’t name names) and two Texas Rangers baseball players. She’s also framed photos for three United States presidents, the United States Congress, Hard Rock Café, and Ralph Lauren.
“We frame for everybody, we’ve even had some of our work appear on The Gates on ABC about two years ago. I knew the girl in charge of the set design…we like to say we’re Dallas’ best kept secret,” Beaudry says.
It’s a pretty impressive resume for the little girl who grew up on a farm in the small town of Rose City, Michigan. She got her start in woodworking at an early age thanks to her father.
“While growing up I helped my Dad build a house that we lived in, it took us about two years to get the place completed,” Beaudry says.
Despite the time she spent building alongside her father, it wasn’t until years later, when she was helping out a friend, that Beaudry discovered her vocational calling.
“I had a friend who was paralyzed and she had finished a needle-point and had waited about 3 years to get it framed, so I decided to take it in for her and get it done. I stood there for a minute, watching, and thought, wow, this looks fun, so I asked for an application, filled it out and got the job.”
It’s been about 30 years since Mary Beaudry landed that first job at a well-known chain store. Since then she’s finely honed her craft, becoming one of the most experienced framers in the Dallas area.
“We do everything by hand, yet we are two of the fastest framers in town. We did over 200 pieces last month,” she says.
That “we” she’s referencing? Her employee and friend of more than 14 years, Russell Lewis. The two have a sort of brother-sister relationship, filled with friendly jabs and plenty of wisecracking. Lewis, who is also a talented artist, is busy today, putting together a frame for a client, but that doesn’t stop him from razzing Beaudry.
“When I was looking for a job I started going through the phone book and got as far as the B’s and then Mary wouldn’t let me hang up. She had a newborn and needed more help,” Lewis jokes.
Beaudry butts in, “Yea, we are just alike, we hate each other on the same day. “
All jokes aside, both Beaudry and Lewis are skilled artisans with a great work ethic. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, slap-it-together-in-ten-minutes, framing business. They use excellent materials, some of the frames are even made of gold.
“We are our own quality control. We’re creative and know what looks best with a piece,” Beaudry says. She illustrates her statement by holding up a current project. A client has just brought in a frame with a folded American flag and an Operation Enduring Freedom card inside. But something just doesn’t look right. It’s been framed by a competitor…and framed incorrectly.
“The mother didn’t even want to show it to her son. She kept saying she couldn’t put her finger on what didn’t look right, but she knew something was wrong with it,” Beaudry says. Beaudry quickly points out the rookie framing mistakes made by a competitor. The flag should always be framed with the point facing upward, she says, and the frame is just too dark. It’s the one part of the interview where she isn’t cracking jokes. She has respect for the armed forces and thinks their artifacts and personal items should be framed properly.
Her business integrity has even earned her competition’s respect. Recently a competitor went out of business and checked out all the local framing companies. She recommended Beaudry Framing to her former clients.
“Even other frame shops like us. We’re honest, and we stand behind everything that we do. We’re proud to put our name on the frames,” Beaudry says.
Lewis can’t help piping up. “We just don’t get serious,” he laughs.
Beaudry Framing is located at 2714 Greenville Avenue in Dallas.