Aaron Brothers has its hand in custom-framing and crafting. Establishing itself as a specialty retailer in 1946 by opening its first shop in Los Angeles, the company now operates nearly 140 stores in about 10 states. Its namesake stores are located mostly in California, Texas, and in the western US, but also extend to Georgia. The frames retailer sells ready-made frames and mattes, art supplies, and custom framing services; it targets loyal middle-class females who are under 55 years old. A subsidiary of well-known hobby retailer Michaels Stores, Aaron Brothers boasts stores that average about 5,600 sq. ft. and offer its customers some 7,300 products.
The upscale frames chain has survived the economic downturn by closing stores and retaining control of its supply chain. While the company purchases its products from some 100 vendors, Aaron Brothers buys mats, art prints, custom frames, and framing supplies from Artistree, Michaels Stores' framing operation. This strategy bodes well for Aaron Brothers, as it does not have to rely on as many outside parties for its products. Also, the company maintains much of its own distribution. About 56% of its store merchandise is distributed from its own facilities; the rest of its products are shipped directly from vendors.
Historically, Aaron Brothers had been growing by adding about 10 stores per year. However, starting in 2008, the frames retailer began to dip below its multiyear store count of 166. It shed five stores in 2008, nine during 2009, and 15 in 2010. As a result, Aaron Brothers in 2011 settled in with fewer than 140 stores nationwide. During 2011, the frames seller plans to close up to 10 of its stores, mostly those that have reached the end of their lease term.
Parent company Michaels Stores was taken private in 2006 by a pair of private equity firms (Bain Capital Partners and The Blackstone Group). – less