After 42 years of successful business, Jamie DeWitt is ready to turn the page in his life and has listed Studio 105 Art & Frame Gallery for sale. DeWitt is also selling the downtown building that houses the store, hoping a young entrepreneur or family will preserve the legacy.
DeWitt launched the business in 1982 with a $500 loan from Citizens State Bank. Studio 105 has grown and evolved substantially since then. He estimated he’s performed over 165,000 frame jobs.
He said business is booming. In fact, DeWitt is logging 14-hour days, 7 days a week, to meet the demand, and it’s wearing on him. To ensure he fulfills his clients’ holiday needs, the studio is accepting orders through December 16.
“The aches and pains hurt much more than they used to,” DeWitt said. “We have a wonderful following comprised of several loyal and appreciative customers. I’ve just learned there is more to this world than the four walls I live in, and I’m ready to explore other possibilities.”
The iconic building sits at 105 West 3rd Street and was erected in 1884. Between the top floor — which features an ideal office or condo blueprint — and the storefront and shop, it boasts more than 4,000 square feet of space.
While DeWitt is closing Studio 105, he’s not leaving the industry. He hopes to use his newfound free time to pursue passions his busy schedule doesn’t allow.
“I rented a booth in downtown Sarasota’s arts district – it’s been the number one gift shop in the city for 5 years in a row,” he said. “I’ll continue to commission pieces from local Owensboro artists. I also want to get back into painting.”
DeWitt graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1982 with a degree in painting and has several pieces floating around Owensboro. Upon returning home to Owensboro, he opened the studio and rented the building to paint and sell his work.
He quickly realized that the business model wouldn’t last and began sharing the space with a framing artist. After 2 short months, the framer sold his side of the business and his equipment to DeWitt.
“At first, I tried to do both, but I found that if I was doing one, the other was being neglected,” DeWitt said. “Framing was the money maker, so it eventually won out. I began focusing solely on framing when my daughter was born 35 years ago, and it’s been off to the races since then.”
The DeWitt family has been integral to downtown since his father, Bill, managed Zelle’s Jewelers on Main Street in 1963. Bill later opened DeWitt’s Jewelers, which operated downtown for many years.
DeWitt said Studio 105 was one of 7 frame shops in town when he opened the business. Now, they’re the only ones left, excluding the 2 box stores.
“We’ve been very blessed,” he said. “It’s not just me. Someone more divine than me has been leading the way.”