Profiles in Art

  • Feature   Fri, Aug 20th, 2021   Veronica Reiner
Owners Garry and Dawn Malo have run Profiles in Art, a picture frame shop, for more than three decades. (Photo credit: Veronica Reiner)

Owners Garry and Dawn Malo have run Profiles in Art, a picture frame shop, for more than three decades. (Photo credit: Veronica Reiner)

By Veronica Reiner
Profiles in Art (PIA), a picture frame shop in New Hamburg, offers uniquely personal services and gallery quality workmanship to each and every customer.
“I always try to put myself in my customer’s position,” said owner Dawn Malo, who runs the Peel Street store with her husband, Garry.
PIA began in the custom framing and wholesale industry back in 1989, publishing art and greeting cards.
“Around that time, the big card companies began to take notice, and that caused us some grief,” explained Garry. “So, to survive, we started framing the art cards. Then, we discovered Dawn’s talent at custom framing.”
Dawn considers a variety of factors to give a customer their ideal custom frame for a photograph, such as the subject matter, colouration, proximity to other objects, where the piece is from, and how it will fit into the decor of their home.
“We rely a lot on the customer to give us the information about their homes. The important thing is that it works with the flow of the individual's home,” said Dawn.
If a custom frame is given as a gift, for instance, she will tend to keep the tone more neutral, and usually aims for a look that is timeless and trendy.
“We’re always working with the piece which is most important, to bring the best things out in it,” she said, adding the custom framing is done in-house.
Their business has evolved over the decades since its inception. In 1996, they began to focus on the funeral home industry. That same year, Dawn and Garry became acquainted with Darlene Lamb and her angelic photograph called “The Gift.” The PIA offers customer framed prints of “The Gift” with inspirational verses to provide families with lasting memories.
PIA launched the Ez-Mount Photosheet system in 2004, which creates an efficient and professional looking way to display photographs. The system consists of hardwood, with no tape, magnets, photo stickers or corners to deal with.
Currently, the PIA also offers portrait frames, memorial tribute frames, easels, and other accessories, such as bookmark laminates and bristol boards.
The owners have switched the storefront location several times over the years, always remaining in Waterloo Region. They began in Kitchener, then moved briefly to Baden, before buying a building in Wellesley, and recently moving to New Hamburg.
“I’ve had a lot of customers from New Hamburg in the past. The nice thing is that we’ve been able to maintain that customer base,” said Dawn, adding she’s served customers from as far away as Florida.
“I really enjoy it. Every piece is so different, and I get to meet some wonderful people and to help them bring joy into their life.”