“So I’m making a change. I’m ready to focus more on the gallery’s mission to help artists find homes for their work. I plan to continue to advocate for artists in our region and play a part in our creative economy” ~ Whitney Aldrich, owner of Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop
In an email to regular customers and subscribers of Axel’s Gallery and Frame Shop, owner Whitney Aldrich announced Friday night: “I’m telling you this first because you’ve supported me and my team for 10 years old and I think you or someone you know could be the next perfect owner of Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop,” she wrote, adding, “You are just as qualified as me.
Almost 10 years ago, Aldrich bought the shop which has been a Stowe Street anchor since his namesake Axel Stohlberg opened the business in 1983. A fine arts graduate from the design, art , architecture and planning from the University of Cincinnati, Aldrich previously worked for a decade in graphic design and marketing.
The combination of executive shop and gallery provided complementary functions and served as a creative force under Aldrich’s direction in the downtown business community.
In his note to clients, Aldrich touched on his history with the boutique and gallery that occupy the building next to the WDEV radio station offices and which last summer saw a colorful 20-foot-tall phoenix mural. installed outside the building. “I didn’t know anything about framing at the time, but I was determined to have a contemporary art gallery in Waterbury. Gradually, I acquired the knowledge and skills I needed. Frankly, I couldn’t have done it without your support. You believed in me and my abilities. You have attended our events, supported our artists and spent your well-deserved money in our business.
Today, Aldrich said, the framing industry is doing well. She currently employs two part-time and two full-time employees in addition to herself. He has seen an influx of new customers lately despite the pandemic. In information for potential buyers, Aldrich notes that custom framing accounts for 90% of the company’s sales. Framing, she notes, is both cost-effective and resilient, providing a service that clients seek both in times of economic boom as they build, buy and move into new homes and offices and decorate, or when times are leaner and people stay put, opting to redecorate and update their surroundings.