The Picture Place has been a Coolidge Corner standard since owner Bob Granquist opened up at 320a Harvard Street 36 years ago. They frame anything from diplomas, awards, photos, tickets, and anything of sentimental value that can fit in a frame.
“A man once asked us to frame a flower from his first date with a woman,” manager Michelle Lauder said. “He was giving it to her as a wedding present.”
From framing people’s sentimental photographs, paintings or objects, Lauder has come to understand an intimate angle of cultural diversity. “Framing represents people’s hope and need for preservation. Brookline has such a diverse population, but everyone has objects of value. People have relationships with their objects.”
Lauder said that people bring in everything from Red Sox tickets to sand from Fenway Park to cat’s teeth to awards. Lauder said that a man once brought in a piece of a dead tree, which had impaled him during a mountain biking accident. “After he recovered, he went back to the tree and cut off that piece.”
One aspect of Brookline’s culture that has helped The Picture Place stay afloat is the community-based climate and the town-wide support of small businesses.
“In most recessions, the affluent and institutions would keep a frame store like ours alive,” Lauder said. “However, in this recent collapse, the institutions and the affluent got hit along with the middle class. But people made it a point to come get things framed, even if they weren’t of that much sentimental value.” Lauder said that the small business oriented loyalty in Brookline is unlike any she has seen before.
The Picture Place also has a small gallery, which is run by Dina Shaposhnikova, where pictures from artists are on display.