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    Manufactured artwork inspires showroom

    By CHRISTINA COSDON

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000


    A new company specializing in a manufacturing process that gives art prints the look and feel of originals has opened its first retail showroom.

    Buy-More Art moved into a 10,000-square-foot print manufacturing and framing facility in May at Interlaken Commerce Centre on Belcher Road. It's mainly a wholesale business, but earlier this month the owners carved a 2,000-square-foot space at the front of the facility and turned it into a retail store with a large display of framed art prints featuring the Lamanart process and some originals.

    Lamanart is a transferring process that bonds art prints to a canvas-like material, said Theresa Booher, president and owner of Buy-More Art with her husband, James Johnson. The finish has a durable surface that resists scratching, fading and scuffing, she said. The surface also won't flake, peel or crack, she said. The prints are framed like oil paintings with wood frames, sans glass.

    Susie Anderson, president and owner of Wildlife Wonders nature and wildlife shop at Largo Mall, said she has been carrying a variety of Lamanart wildlife prints for about six months.

    "The quality of the framing, as well as the prints, is really excellent," said Mrs. Anderson. "They have boosted our sales tremendously.

    "The Buy-More Art company is very customer-oriented. If a customer can't find a print they've been looking for, I call them (Buy-More Art) and they find it and bring me photos so the customer can decide if they want it. I can get a framed print in a week or so. It's really helped my customers and my business."

    Claudia Croft, president of

    AllNautical.com, said she has been selling Lamanart prints over her 3-year-old Internet site that offers everything from brass anchor bottle openers to jewelry and furniture.

    "I've been carrying Lamanart prints since mid summer," she said. "I love them and our customers love them. We haven't had any complaints or returns, which is a compliment to them (Buy-More Art). The customer can't see the grain or the nuances of the prints over the Internet, so that's a very high compliment to the product."

    Of the large number of nautical-related prints that she offers, Winslow Homer's Breezing Up is the favorite, she said.

    Booher and Johnson have been in the art business for more than a decade.

    "We started out in Dallas as a wholesaler of framed art and doing art shows featuring major artists," said Booher.

    It took an investment of more than $200,000 to start the business at the Interlaken Centre, said Sandra May, vice president of operations and Booher's sister. The business has some 12 employees who work in the factory overseeing the Lamanart process and framing the prints.

    "We do all the framing here," Mrs. May said. And since opening the retail store, the business handles custom orders and custom framing, she said. Prices for Lamanart prints range from $29 to $460.

    Store hours at 12399 Belcher Road are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday. Phone 507-9801.

    The Web site is www.buymoreart.com.

    Real estate news

    Sandy Hartmann of Keller Williams Gulf Coast Realty, 13017 Park Blvd., recently had the best business week of her 21-year real estate career. All in one week, she put real estate totalling $2.75-million under contract and listed $1-million in real estate on the market.

    Rock O'Neal, who has had a law practice for more than 25 years and now practices on Indian Rocks Beach, has joined Keller Williams as a sales associate. O'Neal, who will continue to practice law, said that while he won't be able to work as attorney and real estate agent in the same transaction, his customers will benefit from his experience in negotiating and writing contracts for real estate sales and purchases.

    Jeanne Curry has joined Arvida Realty Services as managing broker of the company's Seminole office at 8686 131st St. N and the Bayou/Bardmoor office at 10801 Starkey Road. She has 17 years of experience in real estate work and moved here a year ago from Atlanta.

    -- Know of a new or unique business in the greater Seminole area? If so, tell us about it. Send items to Seminole Business, Seminole Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756 or fax it to 445-4119. We also are interested in promotions, expansions and major new contracts. Photos can be sent, but not all will be used and they cannot be returned.

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