For almost four decades, Shar Stacy owned and operated Americana Frame in Northeast Portland. On March 16, Stacy plans to hand over keys to the shop to part-time employee/consultant Baer Charlton and retire from the business. Charlton told The Hollywood Star News he’ll keep the name the same and maintain the high-quality framing artistry that Shar, Jim Stacy and he have produced over the years.
In 1978, Sharlene Stacy first set up shop in the present Starbuck’s location (4633 N.E. Fremont St.), moved closer to town at Northeast 24th Avenue on Fremont and then farther west and south across from Gordon’s Fireplace on Northeast Broadway before settling in at the current address at 4225 N.E. Fremont St. Americana has always promised “more than four little sticks,” as noted on the shop’s web page (http://americanaframe.com), and an array of framed awards displayed on one wall above frame samples attests to the shop’s high place among framing peers.
Charlton, a crime-story novelist in his own right, has worked for Stacy for twelve years and plans on hiring an experienced framer to help him operate Americana Frame. The shop is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On a recent Friday morning in February, there was little traffic in the shop, but Charlton said, “Depending on the weather, it can get quite busy on Saturdays.”
Reminiscing on his half-century framing career, Charlton said he got his start after the eighth grade at age twelve. He worked Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for Robert Wood in Bishop, California, helping nationally known artist Robert Wood mass produce large oil portraits. Charlton said Wood produced upwards of 4,000 oil landscapes annually to keep up with ongoing orders. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Charlton worked for a cabinetmaker, learning to turn “log-like lumber into molding.”
After high school in the early 1970s, Charlton moved to Pasadena, California, where he attended Pasadena City College and landed his first frame shop job, one he held for four years. His first project and working interview consisted of crafting several seventeen-foot gold frames for the Pasadena Rose Society. His knowledge of framing and skill, he said, convinced the shop’s owner Charlton knew what he needed to know to be a successful framer.
As his career advanced, Charlton secured certification as a Custom Picture Framer and became internationally recognized with many awards. Charlton lives with spouse, Diane, five blocks away from the shop. Both are past editors of the Beaumont Wilshire Neighborhood Association newsletter, and Diane has served on the BWNA Board of Directors. After work in several other cities, in 1996, they moved back to the house where Diane was raised.
As a crime novelist, Charlton unabashedly offers copies of his books for sale in the shop. He said he’s looking forward to a Northwest Independent Writers’ event, a convention of colleagues called “Crimelandia,” to be held at the Lloyd Double Tree Hotel the week before he takes over the shop.