Pauline Beuke and Heather Diers focus on supporting their customers and local artists at ProArt Gallery & Custom Framing
Pauline Beuke and Heather Diers never know what customers will bring into their shop each day to be framed: artwork, letter jackets, war medals, family heirlooms, historical artifacts or another type of memorabilia. That’s part of the excitement to running ProArt Gallery and Custom Framing – the ever-changing items and the customers who stop by.
“I want our business and quality of work to be the perfect but I want it to be a fun place to come to,” said Beuke, a Center Grove area resident. “It usually is fun. I like to make friends with all of my customers. I’ll work an hour later if I need to, as long as I get the work done, but I’ll stand here and have a conversation with my customers. I’ll follow them all the way out to the car, talking. I do love people.”
ProArt Gallery not only offers frames, but prominently displays artwork from local artists around the Greenwood shop. The front window features a different artist each month. Beuke’s own paintings are also spread throughout the shop. She particularly enjoys painting miniature artworks, often themed for the current season/holiday.
The first painting Beuke ever created was in an art class with Luke Buck, where she fell in love with painting. She purchased ProArt Gallery from Buck in 1982, transforming the business over the years from being mostly a place for art classes, into a gallery where they support local artists and do custom framing.
“I don’t know if mom realized how much talent she had until she started doing classes with him,” Diers said. “Her artwork still sells the best in our gallery. People really love her style and her work.”
The business was originally at Madison and Thompson in Indianapolis, prior to moving to Greenwood. Beuke was the second person to sign a lease in the shopping center at 3100 Meridian Parke Dr. # X, Greenwood, and while the she relocated from the front to the side of the center, she’s been there ever since.
Diers, a Perry Township resident, began working in the shop for her mother while in college, where she gained firsthand knowledge of the trade. She worked for an interior design company before going into business with her brother in custom cabinetry and furniture. In 2009, she began working in ProArt on the weekends then in 2011 took on more of a management role, all the while maintaining her cabinet and interior design business.
Together, the mother/daughter duo operate the business, growing their support of local artists while keeping up with today’s trends. ProArt carries frames from four to five different frame companies which allows them to offer a large variety and specialty pieces. Shadow boxes are a popular selection, and Diers has deemed her mother the ‘shadow box queen.’
“We’ve shadow boxed just about everything,” Diers said. “Our shadow boxes have been the most unique. Usually when (customers) bring in memorabilia, whether it’s military, their grandfather’s medal, or other things, those are special.”
As they look to the future, Beuke and Diers said they’re happy continuing the quality of work they’ve offered for decades. Diers said they are looking into online sales, particularly for selling the local artwork like Beuke’s miniatures.
Age 83, Beuke jokes that she plans to retire at 95.
Although, “I can hardly think about not being at work,” she said. “I love the people that come in here, the customers, because they share my interests.”
Getting to know Pauline and Heather…
– “I have Heather’s Holistic Paw Prints on the side, so I deal with pet nutrition. I say holistic health for pets and their humans. I wrote a book about it when my dog had cancer. We treated her cancer holistically.” – Diers
– “I used to do ceramics and porcelain and had classes. I still have the big kiln. I love gardening and I love to sew and do needlework.” – Beuke
– “Cricket, my dog, comes to the shop. She goes everywhere I go. Cricket is a part of business.” – Beuke
Here, Diers answers more about ProArt:
Best advice: She’s always said, we give a lot back to our customers. We do free things all of the time, so they’l remember us when they do have a bigger order. Our customers are so loyal to us but I think it’s because all of the things that we give back to them in appreciation for them doing business with us. One of the best things you can do for your customer is not nickel and dime them to death.
Worst advice: When it comes to marketing, a lot of people are all about cold calling. That’s never been my strategy. Especially in this industry, it seems like a waste of time.
Best decision: Reaching out to our local artists. That has set us a part from other local framing galleries. We have at any given time over 30 local artists now. It’s always growing. It makes it so that our inventory is always changing.
Secret to success: Quality work. If something is wrong, we’ll change it without questions. We’re loyal to customers and they’re loyal to us. We truly have built the business with word of mouth.
In 5 years… I feel like we’ll be doing more of the same. Hopefully we’ll have online sales going. I would like that to be a five-year goal.
ProArt Gallery & Custom Framing
3100 Meridian Parke Dr # X
Greenwood, IN 46142