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JP FrameShop & Western Edge Gallery welcomes 37th Christmas in downtown Dickinson

JP FrameShop & Western Edge Gallery celebrating its 37th Christmas in downtown Dickinson.

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Peggy Anderson, co-owner of JP FrameShop & Western Edge, aligns up a sample frame for a customer inside her store that she operates with her husband Jeff in downtown Dickinson. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Walking into JP FrameShop & Western Edge Gallery off of Villard Street in downtown Dickinson, you get an immediate welcome to unique décor from the pronghorn and buck hanging on the wall surrounded by rusted hand saws to the endless options of frames pinned on a maroon wall. Behind the counter is Peggy Anderson, ready to steer you into the right look for your home or to pick out a last-minute Christmas gift.

JP FrameShop & Western Edge Gallery is owned and operated by Peggy and her husband Jeff. Three floors comprise the store of various frames, artwork, prints, décor, etc. The main floor consists of a “more collectic” vibe of whatever is happening with the current season. Downstairs houses more western, wildlife and outdoorsy artwork whereas upstairs includes contemporary and Victorian pieces.

“I think it’s tougher to figure out what kind of artwork to carry; I think that’s tougher,” she said. “But we travel a lot. I look wherever we go and if I find something 500 miles away, that’s fine to bring here. Because hopefully every store has something different for a variety of people, instead of the same thing everywhere. That doesn’t do anyone any good.”

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The Andersons met in college when Peggy was studying art and biology while Jeff was looking to become a finish carpenter. After graduation, the couple moved to California where they lived for years. One day as Peggy’s father was getting older, she got a call from him back in North Dakota, asking if she would help run the family farm during the summer seasons.

Peggy noted, “Jeff is from Minnesota. He’s not a farmer by trade, but he’s a definite farmer now.”

About five years spending summers in North Dakota on the family farm and returning to California for the winters, the Andersons decided to plant their roots in Peggy’s old stomping grounds. To continue their passion for art and interior design, they realized there was a need for a frame shop in southwestern North Dakota.

“We thought, ‘That’s a good niche for us — him being a carpenter and me being an art person. And we just put it together and started a store,” Peggy said. “... To tell you the truth-truth, somebody called us and told us the only one that was in town at the time went out of business. And I just felt it was an opportunity and I didn’t really want to go back to California. We used to remodel houses and we’d live in the house all winter — whatever house we did — and I was ready not to do that again. So it just seemed like an opportunity.”

In 1984, the married couple opened their own store. Throughout the years, the store has moved from different locations in Dickinson, but Peggy noted that their current location is the best spot to be — which is the original F.W. Woolworth building constructed in 1904.

When customers walk into the store, Peggy greets them with a Midwestern hello before steering them into what would be the best look for their home. She discusses glass, stretching and/or mounting and informs customers what the final price will be before completing any of the work.

“After 30-plus years, hopefully you know your clientele for one thing and we know which frames are better quality than others. We know which ones (where the) shipping is easier, quicker. And we don’t carry things like plastic frames, composite frames,” she said, adding that those frames are not long-lasting.

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Peggy Anderson, co-owner of JP FrameShop & Western Edge, assists a customer with a frame order Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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An aerial view from the second floor shows the entrance to JP FrameShop & Western Edge as the sunlight peaks through the windows. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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Various items are displayed on the brick wall inside JP FrameShop & Western Edge. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

In years past, the store would do more needle works, or cross-stitch, than photographs. Sometimes, 50 needle works would come in one month, Peggy said. However, this year has been mostly photographs as needle works have become a lost art over the years.

With hundreds of moldings in stock, Peggy encourages people to stop in and check out her family store. Though the ongoing shipping strains have affected the downtown Dickinson store, she added that they’re willing to make people’s wishes come true.

“I was actually thinking that people would be in sooner because of the news. You know how everyone says there’s shortages everywhere? We’ve had a difficult time with some of our moldings; they’ve been out of stock for six, eight months and they’re still not going to be back in until maybe April of next year,” she said, with a smile. “So you can’t get everything like you used to, but you can still get 80-90%.”

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Peggy Anderson, pictured above, is the co-owner of JP FrameShop & Western Edge located in downtown Dickinson. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

For the past 37 years, Peggy said coming to work still doesn’t feel like a job.

“(The best thing is) probably when they bring something in that’s tattered and torn, and we put it back together for them. They come and pick it up and can’t believe how great it looks because we do a lot of that,” she said. “Like old documents and things that people have stuffed in a trunk for 40-50 years, so that’s pretty cool.”

JP FrameShop & Western Edge Gallery is located at 6 W. Villard St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Holiday hours may differ. For more information call 701-483-8495.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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