Two Hens and a Hound

Ellen Simms and Terisa Glover

If you walk down town on S Kentucky Ave more than likely you're going to pass by a pair of rocking chairs. Two Hens and a Hound provide a nice place to sit to read, people watch, or play a guitar.  I went to visit Ellen and Terisa a couple of weeks ago for this spotlight project. Friendly as always, and cracking jokes.

Custom framing, and I do mean custom, Lakeland souvenirs, and local art pieces are sold here.  They can do pretty much anything from framing pictures, restoring old photos (outsourced by a local retoucher) and creating shadow boxes for treasured items.

This past month the Two Hens and a Hound lost Sparky.  If you walked by the store front earlier last month you would have seen flowers, cards, and pictures of Sparky. The local community felt the loss almost as much as Terisa and Ellen.  She was friendly and sweet. Always ready to take a pat on the head and a belly rub.  She played a big role for Two Hens and a Hound, she was the Hound, after all.  She made children and adults alike smile. Never a mean growl or timid demeanor came from her. She accepted everyone for who they were. Young, old, rich, or poor, she greeted you with a face that brightened the gloomy days.

Next time you pass by those rocking chairs pop inside and say hello. You may find what you're looking for, even if it's just a friendly smile.

I wanted Terisa and Ellen to share about their business, and here's what they had to say:

  •  Names of the owners of Two Hens and a Hound:
    Ellen Simms, Terisa Glover, Sparky Glover - Co-Mischief Makers
     How did you meet and how long have you known each other?
    We first met officially when Terisa and Sparky opened The General Store (2007). Ellen had Fast Frame (opened 2004), and welcomed the newbies to the neighborhood. Terisa had been with Explorations V Children's Museum  since 1992, so wasn't really a newbie, just new to running her own business.
    When making the decision to close The General Store in Fall 2013, Ellen invited Terisa and Sparky to come south (4 doors down) and join forces - to bring the locally created gift items to the custom picture framing business.
    What year did Two Hens and a Hound start?
    FastFrame was a franchise obligation that ended 2014, afterwhich name was officially changed to Two Hens and a Hound
    Why custom framing?
    Helping people to preserve their memories and special moments is a privilege. The diversity of each day keeps the business fun and interesting - no two projects are exactly the same, so, no two days are the same. It is a chance to use and challenge our creativity every day. Unlike many big box shops, we complete each project in-house, so, no treasure leaves the building with anyone other than its owner. We have framed a collection of old Roman coins, a newspaper from the Civil War, an antique golf club, a Carnegie medal, and a variety of family heirlooms.  Weaving the memories around these items has been so rewarding.
    Why sell locally made merchandise?
    It serves multiple purposes. For the artist, it gives an outlet 6 days/week and someone to promote their creations while they remain free to create more. For Two Hens & a Hound, it allows for a variety of unique, quality merchandise for the customers without the risky investment that comes with the retail world. For the customers, it gives a great feeling of helping to support both artisans and local business as well as getting unique, special items. It is truly a community-based effort.
    What has helped you the most in the success of your business?
    Service. The desire to go above and beyond for our customers. We assure that each guest knows that their choice to come to Two Hens and a Hound is appreciated. We know that we are not the only place to get frames in town, but, we want to be the best choice!
    What is the biggest obstacle of being a small business?
    Competition with the big box shops and on-line shopping options. We can not compete with the prices they can offer because of the price they are able to pay (not) for labor and supplies. We have to fill that gap with one on one customer service. And, we do.
    Why is the support of small businesses so important?
    Small business owners are members of the community, not faceless corporate millionaires in other states/countries. Dollars spent in local businesses are investments in your community, they go back into the community through taxes,  jobs, supplies etc. When people purchase from local big box shops, they do support some community efforts (jobs), but the majority of the dollars go to the corporate gurus. When folks purchase online, 100% goes to a faceless place, with nothing going back into the community.
    Do you participate in American Express's Shop Small campaign? 
     If so, how has it helped you?
    It helps to bring a focus on the hometown businesses that don't have the outrageous marketing dollars that the big box shops afford. We use the opportunity to give back to those who visit us on that day.
    What would you like to tell your customers and the community about you, your business, and/or small businesses in general?
    Often our customers become our friends.  We are invested in the projects we work on, and in the artists we represent. We also feel that giving back to our community is critical.  We love Downtown Lakeland and know that what makes Downtown successful is good for our neighbors and our business.
    Any final thoughts you would like to share?
    We like to hear about new artists and new ideas.  If you have an idea you'd like to see developed, and you think we can help in the slightest - it doesn't have to be art related - come by and chat.

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