About Us

The Framer Shop

On October 4th 2009 my wife and I celebrated the 30th year of our mom and pop custom frame shop, The Framer.. Fargo, North Dakota. (On December 18th 2009 my wife and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary!)

Since about 1973 I have been playing with ideas for new products and businesses. In those early days I would draw them up and send them around to companies with similar interests. I soon found out most businesses are so busy with their own things they aren’t too interested in taking on something new. For all these years I have been jotting down invention ideas and putting them aside.

Now… years go by and Michael Jackson, Farah Faucet and Patrick Swazie die and it gets me to thinking... now that I am 58 years old, ...If I was on my death bed, what do I wish I would have done that I hadn’t done yet? ... The answer wasn’t buy more antique phonographs or go on some exotic trip, it was: I wish I would have done more with my inventions. So I made a list of my 14 favorite inventions in the order of easiest and least costly to make to most costly. Number one was my TopnotchFRAME! (Number 2 is a device and method for teaching computer operation that I am about half WAY done with the Patent application and Drawings.)

History of the Topnotch Frame

My favorite way to frame a picture is to match a color in the focal point to the inside mat and use a top mat like a more overall, usually softer, color on the top mat and match the frame color to the inside mat color. In my shop I have over 4,000 frame samples and even with all those samples I often could not find a frame to match the inside mat. I got to thinking if I made a frame with a channel to slide a mat insert into the frame, the frame color would always be a perfect match because it would be made from the same mat board used in the inside mat. I spent months writting my own patent and doing my own drawings and on August 18th got Patent Pending status. I then found a company to make the die and extrude the frame and anodize the metal. This all cost a lot of money, but I had been doing well on ebay so I went for it. I now have this ebay site and a web site and my frame shop to sell my patent pending frame. It has been a lot of fun and a lot of work.

Extrusion Die Extruded Aluminum

For over 11 years I have been successfully selling antiques on ebay... user name: phonomike, I’m a top rated power seller with antiques, but for all these years I have been trying to find something I can sell on ebay that I have a readily available supply and a thousand others are not selling the same thing on ebay.... Selling Antiques is kind of a “catch-as-catch-can” business: I would go to auctions, estate sales and antique shows, stores and flea markets to find “antique inventory” to sell. I also have a good business listing antiques for other people, but it is only as good as what I can find or what consignors bring me.

In the fall of 2008 I tried selling electronics on ebay. After a lot of research and trial & error I had an account with a company in China and one in the US that sold everything from TV’s to Ipod’s! My ebay name for this was Pom-Pilot, since my wife and I have pet Pomeranians we changed my wife’s previous ebay name of ndpommom (NorthDakotaPomMom) IT DID NOT GO WELL! ... It was magical how everything I listed, at a very reasonable price, with very little profit, was available on ebay at much less than my wholesale price. I finally gave up on the saturated electronics market!