Carter Avenue Frame Shop changes hands

On March 2, Tim Smith and his son Michael shared a bigger-than-normal birthday celebration. 

The senior Smith, who turned 60 that day, completed the sale of the Carter Avenue Frame Shop, a custom picture framing and art gallery business, to son Michael, who turned 30.  

Tim Smith (left) has kept the Carter Avenue Frame Shop all in the family by selling it to his son Michael (right). Photo courtesy of the Smith family.

In 1985, during his senior year at Luther Seminary, the elder senior bought Carter Avenue Frame Shop with Tom Lind, owner of The Framing Place and Gallery in Roseville. The 350-square-foot Carter Avenue Frame Shop was originally located in a basement off the parking lot of Milton Square. Smith bought out Lind in 1989.

“I worked part time for Tom during seminary and found I was good at sales, design and working with my hands, which was a surprise having never taken any shop, art or business classes in school,” Tim Smith said in a press statement. “I was a math and science kid in high school and studied psychology and philosophy in college.

“Tom invited me to buy the business with him during my senior year. I’m probably the only framer in the country with a Master of Divinity degree.”

Carter Avenue Frame Shop has grown over the years, and has won several awards, including “Best Frame Shop” by Minnesota Monthly. Since 1994, the 1,800-square-foot shop has served the greater community at its current location in a stand-alone building at 2186 Como Ave.   

Michael began working at Carter Avenue Frame Shop in 2016, then became a 25 percent owner a year later. Michael studied criminology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and worked for Hammer Inc., a non-profit housing and service organization that provides support to individuals with disabilities. He recently moved back to St. Anthony Park, where he bought his first house. 

“I never imagined spending so much time with my dad, but we’ve gotten along great,” Michael said in a press statement. “I can’t imagine a better way to learn what I need to continue this business to the standard that Tim has set.

“I love working with customers and making their art look great with good design and framing. I’m hoping to continue my dad’s legacy at Carter Avenue Frame Shop.”

Meanwhile, Tim is working at the frame shop as an employee.

—Scott Carlson 

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