Looking back on his childhood, Nick Papadopulos said he always wanted to be a business owner.
“I wore a suit and a briefcase when I was two years old,” he said.
Along with his wife Kirsty, he’ll now embark on that journey, as the duo takes over Queen Anne Frame and Avenue Arts (1621 Queen Anne Av. N.) from long-time owners Philip Amdal and Joan Webster.
Late last year, Amdal and Webster (also husband and wife, as well as co-owners) announced their intention to retire, with the hope that someone would step in and maintain the storefront and frame shop/gift shop format.
Nick, a Seattle native and University of Washington alumnus, had relocated with his family to Southern California a couple of years ago for a position in the banking industry. Previously, he had served as a branch manager with Washington Mutual in Queen Anne, and later district manager at Chase.
But the grind of the new role didn’t align with what was best for the family.
“For us, it was just about, is it really worth it at this time?” Nick said. “And the answer was no. Investing in our kids and our community is worth was more to us than the reward of working 80 hours a week.”
So, the couple and their two children — Riese and Peyton — moved back to Seattle, and began the search for a business.
It wasn’t until Nick was getting his car serviced at Marqueen Garage, when Diane Keller told him about the opportunity with Queen Anne Frame.
And after not seeing eye-to-eye on other potential businesses, both Nick and Kirsty were interested.
“We really weren’t looking to buy a frame shop when it happened, which I think is also kind of part of the magic of it all,” Kirsty said. “Who knew we would end up here, and yet it feels so right.”
For the new owners, part of the hope is that people who come in take the time to step back and embrace the good in their lives.
“We want you to pause, be in the moment, celebrate life, whether it’s with your kids, or it’s your parents who are aging, whatever the situation is,” Nick said. “That’s what we want people to get from this.”
Kirsty said she appreciates that running the shop comes with the chance to play a role in celebrating some of those moments.
“The thing I love about it is people bring in these items that they just want to celebrate by framing, and it could be something that cost them a dollar or something that cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars, and we get to be a part of celebrating that.”
In the lead-up to the transition, Amdal and Webster have helped ease the Papadopuloses into their new roles.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times, but Philip and Joan have been amazing at helping us,” she said. “They’re so gracious.”
Meanwhile, Amdal had high praise for the new owners.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Amdal said. “I hoped someone like Nick and Kirsty could take this on, serve the community, and maintain the legacy,”
And for now, while the ownership has transitioned, the store itself will remain mostly the same. Kirsty said the plan is to continue the legacy and retain the community feel, while bringing in new life at the same time.
In particular, she envisions the shop carrying some more gift ideas for elementary-age children, a logical outgrowth with a six-year-old and seven-year-old often in the store.
Meanwhile. Nick said he appreciates the store’s artisan feel, and wants to both cater to the current clientele, while bringing in many of the young families moving into the neighborhood.
“If anything, it’s how do you continue to stay relevant to the community you’re in,” he said.
However, any major changes would come over time.
“It’s a slow evolution,” he said.
Meanwhile, both Amdal and Webster are planning for life outside of the frame/gift shop. Next weekend, they’ll head to the Olympic Peninsula for their first getaway. Trips to France and India are planned for Amdal, while Webster hopes to spend more time painting.
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