Tag Archives: art

The Thackers Call It A Day

30 Sep

Photo: Alexandra Andersen

For thirty-three years the Thackers have been framing Fullerton’s art, but their mom-and-pop style of customer service has become an art-form in itself. 

They don’t require deposits, they’ve only thought about getting a website, and they rely on word of mouth to fill their framing shop with customers.

And they don’t call them customers.

“We call them patrons because they have supported us all these years. Artists exist because of the patrons that believed in them,” said Jim Thacker.

Ann Thacker studied and taught art, and Jim Thacker had a background in retail merchandising and business. So in 1978, when the a framing and art supply store in the French Village Shopping Center of Downtown Fullerton was for sale, the couple eagerly went into business.

Three years later, they moved their location to 118 E. Amerige and added a small art gallery. But just a year after the shop opened its doors, a drunk driver crashed into their store-front windows, dragging a fire-hydrant with him, and the shop flooded.

“We were calling our neighbors, our church friends, and we were asking everyone to help us take things outside because of the water. But, we were open for business the next day,” said Ann. “That’s what happens when you have a family-owned business.”

The shop became the Village Art Center Custom Picture Framing and Art Gallery in 1993 when the Thackers moved to their third and final location at 529 Harbor Blvd. 

Photo: Alexandra Andersen

Through their decades of business in Fullerton, the Thackers have established a strong presence in the community. They created lasting accounts through relationships with Fullerton College, Biola University, and Beckman Instruments, among others and were involved in the Night in Fullerton event for 12 years.

Their gallery features local artists and has been a stop on the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk since it started last year. However, after much deliberation, the Thackers have decided it’s time to hand over the keys of the Village Art Center to a new owner and prepare for retirement.

“We’re so glad to be able to see the business continue. It would be so sad to lock it up and have the Village Art Center disappear because it’s such a part of Fullerton,” said Jim.

“We’re going to miss the customers because they’re like family to us. We’ve been talking about it for a while though and they’ll come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re still here?’” said Ann.

Alex Ahn, who formerly owned the A J Frame and Art Gallery in Anaheim Hills, has been in business for 10 years and will take over the Village Art Center.

“We know Alex will put his thumbprint on it and he’ll fill another niche. He’s followed trends because the business has become very mechanized but we’re craftsman, and we’re doing it the way it’s always been done,” said Jim.

The Thackers plan to travel and take up square dancing after they officially retire on October 31.

“I’ve always told my customers I want to see Venice before it sinks and maybe see an opera in Paris,” said Jim. “When our kids were little, we’d close up the shop for a week in the summer and put up a sign. No one made a fuss about it, but once the kids grew up we took fewer vacations.”

To say goodbye to their loyal customers and introduce Ahn, the Thackers are holding an open house next weekend which will coincide with the monthly Art Walk. The Village Art Center open house will be open from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. on Friday and 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Saturday

Originally published at Fullerton Stories

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