Starboard Frames and Gifts changes hands: Hoyt, longtime framer, takes over as Shaffer retires

Custom framers Kaylie Rusher and Brandon Hoyt have recently taken over operations at Starboard Frames and Gifts on Dock Street. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Anna Shaffer, owner of the downtown store Starboard Frames and Gifts, retired at the end of September, with Brandon Hoyt taking her place as the shop's sole owner.

“We're working together to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Shaffer said of the transition in a recent interview with the Ketchikan Daily News. “And that it becomes his.”

Starboard Frames and Gifts specializes in the custom framing of a variety of projects, including diplomas, posters, needlework, Native regalia or art, photography and textiles, according to the shop's website. The shop also handles sculpting or gilding projects.

Starboard Frames and Gifts also features collections of art from brands such as Pilgrim Imports or Pacific Blue Tile, in addition to work sold by local artists, ranging from jewelry to photography to pottery.

Customers can bring in items they would like framed and request a specific pattern or type of frame, or they can choose to leave it up to the discretion of a store staff member such as Hoyt, who has worked at Starboard Frames and Gifts for nine years.

“People just totally trust our judgement,” Hoyt said. “You never know. Some people will just drop things off and be like, 'you do your thing.' We actually have a lot of that. People build that trust, and that's what we like. But we always want to make sure that they're happy with everything, because they're the ones that have to live with it.”

Shaffer opened the store in 2009 after working for over 30 years as a nurse, both in administrative and home health care environments.

“It was just time to retire from health care,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer was originally business partners with a local couple who owned an art gallery and also did framing work.

“Almost 10 years ago, I branched out and took the framing part of things and then started out with gifts and art, and things that were not the same (as the gallery).”

Starboard Frames and Gifts operated out of a space in The Plaza mall for seven years before making the move to their downtown location three years ago.

“It's a feel good kind of place, I think,” Shaffer said of the space.

 The best part of owning Starboard Frames and Gifts, according to Shaffer, was supporting local art.

“The most exciting thing is supporting local emerging artists,” Shaffer said, explaining she enjoys supporting artists who were “just starting out” with getting their art into the community.

“I think that's maybe the most rewarding part of the whole business, is feeling like you have made a bit of a difference to people,” Shaffer added.

After nearly a decade of owning the shop, Shaffer's retirement became effective on the last day of September. Shaffer and her husband will relocate to Port Townsend, where they have owned a house for almost five years in anticipation of retirement.

“We're just planning to join another vibrant arts and maritime community, so that's exciting,” Shaffer said of the move, which will bring her and her husband closer to their family.

According to Hoyt, the plan for him to take over the shop had been “in the works” for around four years.

“She (Shaffer) had mentioned retiring and that got my brain working,” Hoyt said. “We kind of just started talking about it and threw the idea around.”

Born and raised in Ketchikan, Hoyt spent a few years living in Kodiak and eight months residing in Bellingham, Washington, where he also did framing work. Hoyt said he comes from a family with a “carpentry background.”

“You gotta be in every aspect of the shop,” Hoyt said about his job. “(My job is to) work with clients and design, help bring their vision of what they want with a mix of our own creative side of everything.”

Now that Hoyt is the official owner of Starboard Frames and Gifts, he doesn't have plans to change anything.

“It's functional and its personable. We have that kind of personal touch,” Hoyt said, adding he might expand on what has Shaffer established, but that adding “a few different artists or swapping furniture” would be the extent of his changes.

“It will have his flavor, but always the same attention to detail,” Shaffer said about Hoyt owning the shop.