After a roughly six-month hiatus, one of downtown Cartersville's longest-running shops is back in business.
"This is a 30-year dream that has just come true," said Valerie Millsaps, president and owner of the recently relaunched Wall to Wall Frames, Inc. & Artist Boutique at 14 South Wall St. in Cartersville. "It is exhilarating."
The revamped and remodeled shop held its grand reopening Friday afternoon. Among those attending the festivities was the former owner of Wall to Wall Frames, Harold Burdette.
"I think it's fabulous. I think they've done a wonderful job with the whole thing," the 80-year-old Bartow business staple said. "There's a lot more stuff here, in terms of art and jewelry and that sort of thing, and one of the things that Valerie and I discussed early on was that she needed more stuff to get more people in, and she's done a really good job at that."
While the framing services will remain the backbone of the business, Millsaps said she also sought to expand the scope of the shop's retail offerings. Among other products, shoppers can pick up ceramic can openers, homemade jewelry, vases, mugs and even illustrations of iconic musicians like Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin.
"Framing is going to be the bread and butter and the bulk of the business, where a lot of the focus is going to be, but while people are waiting, they have an opportunity to do a little bit of Christmas shopping," she said. "We're also going to have some art classes back here, some pottery slab classes, maybe some jewelry classes, by different artists."
In many ways, Millsaps said the Wall to Wall Frames reopening also represents the spiritual relaunch of another downtown business — Spring Place Pottery.
"There was a void that happened when Gail Freeman from Spring Place Pottery had to close that shop," Millsaps said. "I spoke to Gail before her passing and asked for her blessing to be able to take her concept and incorporate it into this business, so I think we're filling that void ... it's taking two legendary businesses and combining them together and I think that they go well together, art and framing."
Millsaps said the newly reopened business definitely has potential as an art gallery — and as a venue for local painters and sculptors to profit from their creative works.
"We're not doing any farmhouse decor, because there's plenty of that. This has to be strictly artists creating their own product — they can't be representing anyone, it's the artists themselves selling the product in here," she said. "I have 30 artists, most of them are local, but I do have a handful of people from the West Coast, up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, so we call their collection Pacific Coast Heirlooms."
Millsaps, who previously served as a project manager for companies such as Cisco Systems, officially took over the business May 1. Renovations went on throughout the summer.
"It's a 113-year-old building and it was completely reconstructed," she said. "It just took a lot of patience and a lot of vision. It was really hard work, but it was joyful work."
Burdette will lend a hand at the shop over the next few weeks to assist Millsaps with framing. Millsaps, however, said the former owner is welcome to stay onboard at the shop for as long as he wishes.
Millsaps said she expects the shop to remain a downtown Cartersville anchor for the foreseeable future.
"I plan on being here for about 20 years," she said. "The reason I got out of the corporate world is because I couldn't keep up — it was moving too fast for me. I believe this is something that I can keep on doing for a couple of decades."
Count Burdette among her many believers in the local community.
"I think she is going to be great," he said. "She's so energetic and I'm real impressed ... it looks good, really good, and I'm proud of what she's done."
More information on the relaunched shop — including details on upcoming special events — is online at www.wall2wallframes.com.