PJ’s Frame Up Moves from Portage to Vicksburg

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Cindy Callahan and Hannah Vitu welcome customers to PJ’s Frame-Up’s new location on Portage Road.

By Sue Moore

Cindy Callahan has moved her PJ’s Frame-Up shop from its long-time location in Portage to Vicksburg, consolidating home and work for herself and her husband, Schoolcraft-based artist Tim Callahan.

Cindy moved the framing shop in June. She and Tim Callahan had met when she was working as a server at Molnar’s in Schoolcraft after her 1978 graduation from Vicksburg High. Callahan, a former surveyor, had set up a shop in the village to paint trucks and vans. “Painting was a lot more fun than doing survey work,” Tim had told her. She admired his work. They were married. She left the restaurant to work at PJ’s, then on Gladys near Westnedge. When the shop’s owners indicated readiness to sell the store, Cindy and her mother, Janet Baas, bought it.

The new location is 13610 Portage Road, across from DeNooyer Ford and not far from the couple’s Vicksburg home. With the move, she decided on semi-retirement and opens the business three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday or by appointment.
The rest of the week is filled with her other career: coaching trap shooting.

Yes, you read that right. She volunteers as a coach for the Vicksburg Bulldog’s trap shooting team as well as coaching Hillsdale College’s trap shooting adult camps near the college. “I’m not competitive but I enjoy teaching people. I got into the sport of trap shooting to advance my shooting skills for bird hunting with my husband Tim and a wire-haired pointing dog named Gracie.”

Kip Young, director of the Bulldog Clay Target team, said “When this sport was started, we were required to have an open forum community meeting. This meeting was to allow students, parents and people from the community to learn about the new clay target shooting program and ask questions.”

“It was during this meeting, Cindy walked in and said, ‘I would like to help coach.’ It was music to our ears. Having a woman on the staff has brought a great perspective to how we do things,” Young said. And it certainly helps when recruiting girls to join the shooting team. Cindy has been an asset to the incredible growth of the team and program.”

“It’s been so great to see the kids gain confidence and show personal growth. This June, the novice team that I was helping with brought their A game to the state finals. It was such a reward to see them succeed and place right up near the top,” Callahan said.

Her assistant at the frame shop, Hannah Vitu, has been with her for two years after answering an ad that said the applicant must love art and dogs. Hannah knew it was for her. Framing involves precision work, using a computerized mat cutter called Wizard. It can do all sorts of interesting mattes that would take someone doing the work by hand most of the day, she said as she set the computer measurements and let the machine do all the rest.

Callahan herself loves the work of designing picture framing with the customer. “I ask, ‘Where will the work hang? Is it for you or a gift? What is your personal style? Contemporary or traditional?’ It all starts with the questions, then to the selection of frame, mat and glass. “We try to find something that really suits the customer,” Hannah said.

“We use only materials that will conserve the art work, so they won’t degrade with time,“ Callahan said. “I ask how valuable the work is, how emotionally attached the buyer is to the piece and then try to protect it according to their wishes. There are different types of glass used in picture framing. The newest is museum glass. It is considered to be conservation quality. It has 98 percent ultraviolet protection and it is so transparent that you don’t even realize that there is glass covering the artwork.

“Of course, it costs twice as much as plain glass and something more than conservation grade glass. If its an original piece of art, it deserves the right glass.”

PJ’s also works with local artists with a separate mat and framing program designed to help artist save money and time.

The shop’s motto is etched on a sign at PJ’s: “Quality custom framing will outlast the carpeting and furniture in your home as well as all the cars, clothing, sound systems, televisions and kitchen appliances you will ever purchase. It can be passed on from generation to generation and still look as good as the day it was done.”

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