The booth at Branson Mill

Four photos in this post.

It’s been three weeks of mostly late nights or should I say early mornings as we have beavered away to stock the Branson Mill booth. When deciding on the frames we wanted to use, it alone was quite a process. Yes, we could have gone to China but ordering direct from there is a whole different ball game and we were not sure we were ready to handle that at this time not to mention having to order larger quantities. PLUS if we can source from the USA we really prefer to do so just like we did when we owned the rubber stamp company. SO we found a company in Ohio that manufactures here in the States. We ordered the frames before leaving for Oklahoma and fully expected (due to what we were told) that they would be shipped the week we were away. Alas that was not the case as the molding we had ordered was on back order! (They omitted telling us that part!) After a couple weeks I started calling, found out the issue and that the order was now getting ready to ship. All the while the Branson Mill booth was sitting empty which obviously was not good for the budget! Once the 200 frames (100 12″ x 36″ and 100 10″ x 20″) finally arrived it was work, work, work.

We ended up having to make 48 photo art pictures to fill the booth which may not sound a lot but it is! Not only was it the quantity involved, it was the learning process involved along with it. Yes, we had some idea but it was not until we started creating them could we fully understand how it was all done and the best way to produce a quality product. That first day Richard was at work and by the end of the day I was about ready to throw the mat cutter out the window! Of course it was user error and since then, using it has been a breeze. It took us two weeks to fully stock that booth bearing in mind that we were also schooling and Richard was working elsewhere much of the time.

With Branson Mill ready it was time to redo Whitney’s. That booth still has all the paintings in it along with the Photo Art so is very different from Branson Mill. I spent the beginning part of last week making new pictures for that booth and then spent 8 hours on Thursday redoing the booth. I enjoyed it but wouldn’t want to be doing it all the time.

Up until now we have been using the photos and matboard we “inherited” when we purchased the business back in December. Obviously with all the pictures we have created, we have depleted much of that stock. In order to do custom orders we have to order a new supply of photos. Sourcing a developer for that has been another interesting learning process. The photos need to be printed on Kodak Endura paper. No, we can’t just go to the local CVS or Walmart to get these photos printed! Well we could but the quality would not be there nor the consistency. We actually did do a test run direct with Kodak which was cheaper BUT the photos arrived bent and they cropped the pictures so they were not even 4″ x 6″! (It took me many, many hours to make all the pics the correct size so that no cropping was needed!) Unbeknown to us when we started this search, Kodak Endura paper is actually colored so producing a black and white picture is not automatic. The first professional company sent us back cream prints and then told us to adjust our black and white prints! AAGH! The second professional company we tried have been SUPERB! The black and white samples came back as black and white! As for the Sepia we were not sure what grade we wanted so Richard created 6 different percentages for us to look at. When they came back we chose the one we all liked the best and most looked like sepia.

With that done it was time to place the order. Simple you say. Yes kind of HOWEVER due to the quantities it has taken me about 3 evenings to actually get the order ready to go. With 1240 DIFFERENT images and differing quantities needed of each that has been quite a task. That of course is actually 2480 different images due to needing both black and white as well as sepia. The photo company has been extremely helpful and they are now awaiting our order tomorrow morning of 9500+ photos! Yes, it’s that many! They are going to run two independent machines just for us so that they can check the process as it moves along plus ensure that the colors stay accurate. (Consistency is absolutely vital so that the varying images match with each other when folks are putting them together in the words they want.)

In the meantime I now have this week to get all the matboard sorted. I hate working in a mess and so started yesterday putting all the blues together, the greens, browns etc so when I want something I can just go pick it out. (Haven’t had the time to do this before now!) We are going to be using Crescent matboard which is made in the USA and definitely the leading producer here in the USA. The quality is superb. Thankfully there is a distributor in Springfield so I went and picked up 100 new sheets of various colors on Friday. (We already have some on hand.) This will enable us to offer more of the college, football, baseball colors etc. for custom work. The sheets are 32″ x 40″ so not small and you can imagine how heavy 100 of them together are!

Once again, we are excited about this new business opportunity even though it has taken WAY longer than we ever imagined to get up and running and we are not there yet. Think of me when those 9,500 photos arrive and all the organizing I will have to do then! The Branson tourist season has officially started now so we are believing for a very successful season to recuperate what we have invested.

Take care,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *