Aaron Brothers locations are closing nationwide (except for 3 in Texas)

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels announced it is closing 94 of its Aaron Brothers framing stores this year including all of its Southern California locations as it integrates those services into its Michaels stores.

That will leave only three smaller-sized stores intact, all of which are in Texas. Two are in Dallas and a third is in Fort Worth. In an earnings announcement released Thursday, the company said it plans to reposition Aaron Brothers as a “store-within-a-store” concept, providing custom framing services in all of its Michaels stores.

The company didn’t say how many employees will be affected by shift although it indicated that it plans to retain as many workers as possible.

Local locations

Aaron Brothers has stores scattered throughout Southern California. In Los Angeles County, they can be found in Santa Clarita, Woodland Hills, Burbank, Studio City, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Westwood, Pasadena, Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Long Beach, Hermosa Beach and Torrance, according to the company’s website. In Orange County, the company has locations in Huntington Beach, Tustin, Irvine, Alisa Viejo, Laguna Nigel and Rancho Santa Margarita.

Inland Empires stores can be found in Riverside, Redlands and Temecula.

The company’s store-within-a store move comes as an increasing number of retailers are looking to downsize their brick-and-mortar operations as sales increasingly shift online. Chuck Rubin, Michaels’ chairman and CEO, explained the new strategy in a Thursday conference call with investors.

An “unsustainable” direction

“Last June we indicated that we would undertake a strategic review of our Aaron Brothers division, which is a small specialty retail chain primarily focused on custom framing, ready-made frames, wall art and art supplies,” he said. “After a comprehensive review, we determined that the cost infrastructure is unsustainable given current prospects.”

Rubin said the company plans to leverage the Aaron Brothers custom-framing expertise and name recognition in Michaels stores and online. The three remaining Aaron Brothers locations are about 2,000 square feet, less than a third the size of the company’s standard 6,500-square-foot stores, and they offer custom-framing services only.

“We will maintain the three custom framing-only stores as a learning laboratory,” Rubin said. “This will help us learn how we can better compete against independent custom framing shops. I am grateful for the work our Aaron Brothers team members have done over the last several years and we expect to retain many of these team members, as we value their custom framing expertise.”

A customer’s reaction

Derek Goldberg, who stopped in at the Aaron Brothers at 326 S. Lake Ave. in Pasadena on Friday, isn’t exactly thrilled with the company’s plan.

“It depends on the execution of it,” said the 56-year-old Glendale resident, who works as a professional photographer. “I know they are going to start doing a lot of their custom framing online, but I don’t like that as much because I do my own printing, so you have to rely on them to print it for you and then frame it. And there won’t be as large a collection of frames to choose from in the stores.”

Goldberg said his biggest concern is for the employees who will be losing their jobs.

“I feel bad for the guys who work here,” he said. “I’ve been buying frames here for 10 years and I come in a lot. They’re always very helpful … and it’s the loss of a specialty store.”

Signs posted on the Pasadena store’s front windows seem to signal the coming change. “Everything on sale!” one sign read, while another proclaimed, “Nothing held back!” Other signs throughout the store promoted discounts of up to 40 percent off.

The Michaels Companies. is North America’s largest specialty provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor and seasonal merchandise for do-it-yourself home decorators. As of Feb. 3, the company owned and operated 1,371 stores in 49 states and Canada under the brands Michaels, Aaron Brothers and Pat Catan’s.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.