December 09, 2013 4:00 pm • By Elysia Conner
To its new owners, Goedicke’s Custom Framing and Art Supply is filled both with potential and nearly six decades of history, from the hand-painted signs over the front door to mezzanine balconies at the back.
The old Sheaffer’s pen display case filled with brushes was the first thing Claire Marlow admired when she walked in the downtown store. And she filled the space inside its antique architecture with visions of classes, workshops, a gallery and events.
Those ideas are all part of her long-term vision. For now, she’s busy meeting people, organizing, decorating windows, assembling displays and painting walls.
And she and her husband, Tyrell Marlow, are most busy learning from former owners John and Judy Goedicke. The Marlows took over the store Nov. 1, but the Goedickes are there mentoring them for the foreseeable future.
They’re learning about art products and how to frame pictures — long a goal of Claire’s. She’ll run the store with Tyrell as a business partner.
The couple moved from Seattle last year to live in a smaller community, so Tyrell took a job as a safety consultant and trainer with Casper Safety. He’d been a high-angle rescue trainer while she was a project manager for a medical wilderness company in Seattle.
Claire discovered Goedicke’s while browsing business listings just for fun last summer. She’d just enrolled in classes for a master’s of business administration degree. On a day off from her former job at CK Mechanical, she called the realtor out of mere curiosity. But curiosity turned to interest and then to passion.
“I just got a gut feeling that this is totally me,” she said.
Tyrell wasn’t very surprised. Claire’s father owns a painting company in Denver, and she’s always wanted her own business. She almost left Seattle when they first dated to take over a photo studio.
Goedicke’s appealed to Claire because, as a photographer, she’s artistic and visually oriented, she said.
“It’s definitely not a money making industry,” she said, “but my husband and I are definitely not in it for that.”
What they are in it for is the unique way the store, and its owners, are part of the community, they said.
Community space has always been important to Claire, who has a degree in community psychology. Tyrell comes from a small Washington town and looks forward to getting to know people through a store everyone here knows.
That’s why they want to keep what people like about the store, as well as offer a place where people can share art and inspiration through gallery openings, classes and just a space to visit.
A fresh perspective is exactly what the store needs, Judy Goedicke said. She and her husband, John, bought his father’s framing shop and added art supplies in 1976 when Fred Goedicke retired. Now it’s their turn, Judy said.
“It’s wonderful that the store is going to go on,” she said. “That was our whole desire, to make sure the store went on.”
Judy said the Marlows are doing all the things an excited new store owner does: making plans, rearranging, dusting, remodeling, feeling a little scared and having fun. She did all those things when she first arrived too.
Judy said she’s known for a while the store needs “new blood.” For example, part of business and community these days is on social media — natural to the new owners but not something she wants to do.
She also believes the new owners will succeed in what has always made small businesses thrive: focusing not on the product, but the people, she said.
The focus works for customers like local artist Bobbie Kuxhausen. Her students can ask for something like “that big, fat paintbrush Bobbie has” and leave with what they were looking for, she said. And the Geodickes could always find the perfect combination of light to dark marker pens for a value drawing, she added.
Local artist Jim Reed said numerous artists he meets in his yearly residency in Yellowstone National Park are envious he’s always bought his supplies from a local store, for more than 40 years.
“Goedicke’s is a real gem for our little city,” he said.
When he considered switching from watercolor paint because customers prefer canvas over paper artworks, the Goedickes showed him watercolor canvas. They also taught him to stretch his own canvas and mount it on boards, even though it’s a service the owners offer and charge for, he said. You don’t get that kind of customer service online or from hobby store chains, Reed added.
So he’ll miss the Goedickes, but he’s also excited to see what the Marlows bring to the store, Reed said.
What the Marlow’s most admire — and what’s most intimidating — is the 58 years the store has connected with locals.
But that legacy also is inspiring, Claire said. So the old sign over the sidewalk will be repainted, but that fresh paint will just brighten the letters reading “Goedicke’s.”