4 Decades of Framing

Artists Frame Service began nearly 40 years ago as a two-man operation in a third floor walk-up. Thanks to you, we now employ 46 people in our state-of-the-art framing facility. Here are some highlights from our three-decade-plus journey so far.


THE BEGINNING — IT DOESN'T GET MORE 1978 THAN THIS.

THE BEGINNING — IT DOESN'T GET MORE 1978 THAN THIS.

1978 - Young Jay Goltz opened a retail business in the “Clybourn Corridor” which was then more notorious as a deserted strip of road suitable for drag racing than for being any kind of shopping destination. The business opened with one employee—who eventually left to become a dentist. Artists Frame Service changed the face of the Chicago framing market with one-week turnarounds and better frame design.

1986 - Jay is profiled in Forbes magazine as an entrepreneurial “Biz Kid”.

THE BIZ KID HIMSELF - JAY GOLTZ IN 1986.

THE BIZ KID HIMSELF - JAY GOLTZ IN 1986.

1988 - By creating a dedicated Quality Inspector position, we promise a higher level of quality.

1990 - Jay is included in Crain’s Chicago’s “40 Under 40” list.

1992 - Our suburban location opens in Highland Park.

1993 - Our picture framing process gains efficiencies with new state-of-the-art framing equipment and computerization.

1994 - To offer better pricing and selection, we begin importing frames directly from Europe including exclusive designs created in-house.

1996 - Furthering a passion to provide inspiring home decor, our sister stores, Jayson Home and Chicago Art Source Gallery are opened.

1998 - Jay publishes a book for aspiring entrepreneurs, The Street-Smart Entrepreneur: 133 Tough Lessons I Learned the Hard Way.

1999 - AFS receives the Arthur Anderson award for “Exceeding Customer Expectations”.

2000 - Jay’s mother finally recognizes that opening a frame shop "could be" just as professionally rewarding as being a lawyer or accountant.

2001 - Jay becomes business editor for the industry trade publication Picture Framing Magazine, a position he still holds today.

2003 - Our showroom moves one block south to the present location at 1867 Clybourn and we expand our glorious free parking. We're named Chicago's Best Framer by Chicago magazine for the first time.

It's easy to forget that everyone dressed like it was the 90's until 2005.

It's easy to forget that everyone dressed like it was the 90's until 2005.

2005 - Artists Frame Service is profiled in Bo Burlingham’s book Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big.

2008 - Our fleet of delivery and installation vehicles on the road is expanded.

THAT'S A PRETTY SWEET FLEET, YO.

THAT'S A PRETTY SWEET FLEET, YO.

2010 - The average tenure for our framing design consultants reaches 10 years.

2011 - We introduce large-format digital printing services.

2013 - AFS gets a new coat of paint, a new old-school sign.

2017 - A facelift of both locations in tandem with a brand new website (with our online shop!) means Artists Frame Service is ready for the next 40 years!


Thanks to all our customers for coming this far with us. Be sure to sign up for emails to hear about our future innovations and adventures. 

Brooke GriggsComment