By Vasilis Vasilas
One admirable aspect of the diversity of Greek businesses and their contribution to the Australian local, national and international markets is how they have become leaders in their respective areas. Over time, these entrepreneurs gain the expertise, experience and skills that sets them apart from their competitors. Moreover, their high-quality product and service are the strong foundations needed to withstand market changes and momentary fashions. And this is why customers seek out them out and returning for their products and services.
Step into so many Greek households and how many framed photographs could we count? Before everyone became a photographer, via their mobile phone, and our piles of physical photo albums disappeared into iClouds, we framed the memorable moments to decorate these snapshots of our lives. Whether they adorned our walls or our wall unit, framed photographs captured the bonds to the memorable past; how many of our parents decorate their homes with framed photographs of their parents, their own family, their children’s weddings and their grandchildren. Along the hallway, in the lounge and dining rooms… and even in the bedrooms! The need to frame our special moments was so important in our attempts to enrich our memories.
Remaining at the forefront of their respective field is Masterpiece Picture Framers at St Peters, which is run by the charismatic brothers, Kostas, Theodoros and Giorgo Lianos. If customers’ first impression upon entering the Masterpiece Picture Framers is the spacious and beautifully decked out showroom, then the second, and lasting, impression, is Kostas, Theodoros and Giorgos’ polite manner in dealing with their customers. They may have almost fifty years of experience in this business but observing their operation highlights how they have mastered their business; whether they are offering their expert advice to customers or making up the frames, the organisation of their business and work is a well-refined, smoothly-run machine. They are not just amazing at their work, they all have wonderful characters which compliment each other- and customers immediately realise this.
Kostas has been in the framing business since 1972; as Masterpiece Picture Framing continued to boom in the 1970s, he invited his brothers, Theodoros and Giorgos, to migrate to Australia and join the business. Having studied accounting and economics respectively, Theodoros and Giorgos brought their expertise and knowledge to the bureaucratic side of the business.
Masterpiece may have been based in Haymarket but all three brothers ran stall at various markets on weekends whether at Flemington, Fairfield or Bankstown- they even went down to the Wollongong and Canberra markets! In the late 1980s, the brothers separated the workshop from their retail business, and moved it to Sans Souci.
Over the years, Masterpiece Picture Framing had stores in the MLC building and Oxford Street, as well as Marrickville and Miranda. For a couple of decades, however, their flagship store was at Broadway; as the Lianos brothers believed it was important to have a strong presence in the city.
What was impressive about the Broadway store was its spacious premises; it provided the room for the brothers to display their high-quality and diverse work. As a consequence, we had all sorts of customers, whether politicians, sports stars, television stations, artists; with such high profile customers, they exposed Masterpiece Picture Framing to a broader client base.
And their experience and reputation culminated to do the framing of several art exhibitions, including one for the famous caricaturist, Tony Raftis, which was a great success.
Since 2006, Masterpiece Picture Framing relocated the current premises on King Street, opposite St Peters railway station. Prior to this relocation, Kostas, Theodoros and Giorgos worked in their respective showrooms; their King Street showroom brought them together and they have been working side by side ever since.
Asking Kosta about the close band among the brothers, he points out, ‘There is nothing greater than working with the people so dear to you. Theodoro and Giorgo, and I, work all day and then sit down at the end of the day and have a coffee together. We enjoy this strong sense of family within our business.
‘Over the years, I realised hard work is not enough for success in business; you also need co-operation. In ours case, the three of us worked as brothers and partners and we are lucky we succeeded together.’
The story of Masterpiece Picture Framing was featured in Vasilis’ book, ‘Beyond the Shop Windows and Counters.
If anyone is interested in being part of Vasili’s Taxidi, ring him on 0422891190 to organise an interview.