Reframing a retailer

Caleb Klungtvet

Photo by Cathy Wagner

The Art Etc. frame shop and gallery has been part of Chico’s downtown art community for 45 years. The original owner, Bob Reagan, started with a paint and wallpaper store that evolved into a framing shop. It grew, changed ownership and moved a few times—all within downtown—and most recently returned to where it all began, on East First Street. The new owner is Caleb Klungtvet, who grew up in Orland, went to high school in Paradise and attended both Butte College and Chico State, earning his degree in graphic design in 2007 with an art history minor. He comes from an artistic family, so it’s not surprising that he should own an art-related business. Klungtvet, a certified framer, put a lot of work into this new location and is excited to highlight local artists in the gallery. Check out the new location at 256 E. First St., open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How did you end up buying the store?

I had been wanting to open up a store like this for a long time and my brother-in-law, [local artist Aye Jay Morano], was getting stuff framed from Anna and Dave [Simcox], the old owners, and they said they wanted to retire and he said, “Well, I’ve got somebody that’s interested in buying it.” Then he called me and I just said, “This is what I’m gonna do.”

What’s the benefit of going to a framing shop?

Well, you can buy frames in stores and you can get them online custom, but it’s not the quality that you get when you come to an old-style, custom frame shop like this. It’s very labor-intensive, you have somebody extremely knowledgeable in the archival protection of your art; so it’s a knowledgeable thing, you gotta have a certificate to be able to frame something [professionally].

Will you be doing anything new?

I’m trying to bring something a little more edgy. I just saw this lady yesterday and she’s working with layered resins—it’s bizarre-looking, but I think they’re fantastic and they’re beautiful. So, I got a couple of other artists that are in the mix; we’re going to try to mix it up, mix up the style of art.

Is this your first time owning a business?

This is my first business; this is all new to me. I’ve always worked for the man, so I’m trying to get away from [that]. I’m working for myself now—that is very important me. I like the aspect of I can get out whatever I put into it. If I want to make more money, I gotta put in more work, and I like that; making money for myself and not making money for somebody else. I’m not a risk-taker, so this is a big deal for me. I’m excited and a little nervous at the same time, but I think we’re gonna make it work and I think people are gonna enjoy what we’ve done with the space.