By ALAN K. STOUT
NEPA’S BEST BUSINESSES
When someone chooses to have something properly framed, they are, in a sense, also making a statement. They are saying, "This is important to me. This has value to me. This is something I want to preserve. This is something I want to display."
It is a meaningful gesture, and though the reasons for the framing may vary from sentimental value to actual value, Vgogh Gallery & Custom Framing, located at 281 Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, treats them all with respect and care. The business, pronounced "V-Go," opened in 2006 and is owned and operated by Ariane Marsico.
A native of Scranton, Marsico moved to Dallas while in high school. Later, while doing a marketing internship with Showcase Art and Framing, a New Jersey-based company, she discovered a great appreciation for all-things-framing.
"It was a two-month summer internship, and I just feel in love with it," she says. "I love everything, from the manufacturing to the preserving of memorabilia. And that's really what we do. We do frame art, of course. Everybody does. But we mainly frame artifacts, or things that people don't want to get destroyed by light or the elements, or things that people want to display, such as accomplishments. That's mainly what comes through the door."
Marsico says that when people choose to frame something, it's usually not only to properly preserve it for themselves, but for generations to come.
"They're often getting it framed for the purpose of passing it down," she says. "It's usually family photos, which we can restore. And they may have never seen those photos whole, as they originally were. With all of the digital advances, we're able to restore things to their original form. A lot of the photos from this area are from the flood (of 1972), so they have a lot of mold damage, or they've faded, and we're able to bring 99-percent of them back. We've had people cry at the counter, because it's the first time they're seeing their ancestors."
Marsico says all sorts of other items arrive at the store for framing every day. One recent job involved a collection of vintage soda cans. Another included World War II memorabilia. And some come from the world of sports.
"I'm a huge sports fan, so all of the sports memorabilia that comes in, I'm always excited about," she says. "We had a Derek Jeter signed photo come in that was of him touching the sign in the Yankee clubhouse that reads 'I thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.' I've always loved that photo. That was for the Misericordia University golf tournament, and it came right from Yankee Stadium."
Though Vgogh's primary focus is custom framing, it also still hosts a few exhibits each year.
"Originally, we were going to be an outlet for a lot of local artists, but there's not a big demand for fine arts in the area," says Marsico. "But we still host two large exhibits. Usually there's a July show and a show that runs from November through the first of the year. We've hosted everybody from the Colored Pencil Society to the Wyoming Valley Art League and a lot of the well-known local artists."
Marsico, 28, and her son, Noah, live in West Pittston. She says Vgogh has a staff of seven, including two full-time framers, and adds that word-of-mouth and referrals have been her best form of advertising. Being located on Wyoming Avenue, where thousands pass by each day, has also been helpful. She says she still gets great satisfaction when customers come in to pick up their items and marvel at how nice they appear after being properly framed.
"That's the rewarding part," she says. "And that's a new experience every time."
Info: (570) 371-7766 or www.vgoghgallery.com