I once met someone who had a job as a church pew salesman, which I thought was an unusual job – but then, someone has to do it. So I started to think about other unusual careers. Two people who came to mind were Riverside residents Teresa Marrandino and Karen Slavik of the Art Stop, a business in LaGrange.

A call to Teresa made me realize there is much more to the job than simply putting art work or photos in a frame. It is a glimpse into the lives of their clients through photos and various items of importance to people’s lives.

It was Slavik who originally had the framing business. She was joined by Marrandino and the two have been partners for 34 years.

According to Marrandino, the loyalty of their Riverside customers has followed them through five moves. Their original location was in the Arcade Building, on the Quincy Street side, for approximately 10 years before moving across the street adjacent to Higgins Glass.

The next move was to East Burlington Street, before heading off LaGrange Road in LaGrange. This summer they moved on down the road to 23 S. LaGrange Road.

When asked about interesting framings they have done, they told the story of a man who had his hair in a long braid and needed to have it cut for a new job. Obviously “attached” to the braid, when it was “detached” he had it framed.

There are also the stories of families who have had their children’s pictures framed as babies and chronicled through memorable events in their lives including pictures of the next generation. People’s lives can be viewed through vacation pictures or even through colors and frames they may choose. Describing their work, Marrandino says, “Karen is the talented one. Our work is so much more than just framing; we learn about people and feel privileged to do so.”

As the conversation drew to a close Marrandino emphasized how much the loyalty of her Riverside customers has meant to the Art Stop, even during the recent economic downturn, and how nice it is to do what they love to do everyday.