Father and son, Haig & Tyler Tossounian, have merged businesses within The Bradford Academy of Music with Haig's new venture, Bradford Art & Framing, offering custom framing and artwork.
The framing business has been a part of the Tossounian family for three generations. Tyler (primary owner of The Bradford Academy of Music) saw an opportunity to horizontally integrate and take advantage of the store’s “downtime” while providing a service that is needed in the community of Bradford.
“This is another service to add to the academy,” notes Haig, who works at the store. “We’re just trying to fill a need, and with the town growing so rapidly, this is the perfect timing."
Along with the store’s music lessons and many instruments for sale, the academy has uniquely incorporated a variety of custom frames displayed behind the store’s front counter, as well as custom framed pictures on the walls showcasing framed guitar posters and blueprints of instruments.
“I love framing high-end artwork or memorabilia,” shares Haig. “The more creative I can be, it makes a big difference – many of these items are very personalized."
Haig has many years of experience in the framing industry and enjoys working with prints, canvas, watercolours, needlepoint, jerseys, sports memorabilia, and diplomas. He uses a digital mat board cutter which allows him to creatively cut any shape or design while adding different mats and types of glass to complete each project.
“It’s a great machine! But you have to know what you’re doing!” explains Haig. “It’s all about the creativity!”
Haig adds that custom framed images are often décor for the house, so getting the pastel colours right, the right frame and glass type that not only works with the picture but everything around it as well, is very important.
“Back in the day, we used to cut by hand,” notes Haig. “Mat cutters can do multiple images at once so I can focus on the creativity aspect."
Haig’s parents used to own a gallery in Scarborough many years ago where Haig and his siblings used to help in the store. His extended family is in the framing business and between all Haig’s cousins and relatives, the family has 10 stores across Ontario.
“It’s in our passion to be entrepreneurs,” expresses Haig. “Traditionally, this is our Armenian background."
Haig and Tyler wanted to fill the slower times at The Bradford Academy of Music, as much of their sales are lesson-based after 3 p.m. when school is over.
“We’re open literally half a day where there is nothing,” shares Haig. “We need to sustain a business, so we tied in the music aspect by framing blueprints of instruments and guitars in the store."
“I’m competitive with online custom framing,” states Haig. “Bring in your picture or whatever you’d like framed and let’s get creative with it!”
The Bradford Art & Framing is linked on The Bradford Academy of Music’s store website, and a new website which is still under construction will be available by the end of this year.
“We’re ‘marrying’ the music with the art!” says Haig.