In a previous “5 Things to Know” article I mentioned that Bowman’s Framing would be celebrating their 25th anniversary this month. Fort Thomas Matters wanted to celebrate this milestone with Bowman’s Framing by providing a history of the business.
I contacted Ken Bowman to gather some details on the business. I wanted to find out where the art gallery / framing business started and how they came to exist where they do now.
Small businesses are on ongoing focus with Fort Thomas Matters. We are always trying to develop ways to promote the businesses in the city. Bowman’s Framing is an outstanding example of a business that has flourished over the years. Ken said, “I can't say how many times that I have heard from people that small businesses just can't survive in Ft. Thomas. I don't believe that to be true if you have an operator who cares about the value of what is being offered, and is actually open the hours that are listed on the door.”
Bowman’s Framing would not have even existed if Ken were not recruited into the family business back in 1988. Ken was a manager with Radio Shack when his grandfather convinced him to join the art and framing supply business. Ken’s grandfather retired and Ken got a loan to open his own shop in the basement of 11 South Fort Thomas Avenue (travel agency building). The name of the new business was Bowman’s Backdoor Framing. Their initial big name customer was The Cooker Bar and Grille, an expanding restaurant chain that essentially kept them in business. As customer began to trickle in the Bowman’s Backdoor Framing popularity began to grow; growing so much that they eventually outgrew their basement headquarters. Fast-forward ten years Bowman’s Framing purchased the building on the avenue where they operate now; they dropped the “backdoor” in the title, since it wasn't applicable anymore. Bowman’s Framing was a business renewed, with a loyal customer base and skilled employees.
Ken explained, “I have three great employees that have all been with me over ten years. I can't just hire kids off the street and trust that the finished product will be okay. The big box chains do this, and I usually end up with their disgruntled customers. There is a lot to know about procedures in art handling, and design sense doesn't develop overnight. We have been at it long enough that most of our regulars just drop off what ever they need and let us do our thing. Many of our customers find it to be worth the trip and drive good distances for us to handle their needs.”
Ken also touched on the fact that Bowman’s Framing has evolved into an art gallery. He said, “We have also been functioning more as a gallery the past few years and I am proud to represent some of the areas better talent. Right now you can find works from Robert Fabe, Beverly Erschell, Ted Borman, Ziah Popaja, Sarah Hamel, Barbara Wiseman, and others.”
While they’re celebrating 25 years of artistic service to the area, Ken wanted to express his thanks to the city for keeping them in business. Bowman’s Framing has a special story and is a staple to our city. Ken and the employees at Bowman’s Framing have worked hard to establish a great relationship with their customers, and they vow to continue to supply unparalleled service to Fort Thomas.
Please join Fort Thomas Matters in celebrating Bowman’s Framing 25th anniversary. Here is to 25 more years!