Activity abounds inside Elim’s Art Concepts and Decorative Designs, as owner Harold Hart and his brother Rodney work to complete a project for a local college. The business is chock full of frames, artwork and all the accoutrements of their crafts.
“It was back in 2007. There was a vendor who used to have this space here in the medical mall and that business closed. I decided to purchase it.”
“I saw how photographs weren’t being preserved correctly, or how framing pictures wasn’t well done. The work was… well, seemingly just slapped together. And you could tell it wasn’t going to hold up over time,” said Hart. “I started studying preservation. Got a lot of consultation from outside sources. I read, attended workshops and trade shows. I even watched YouTube videos. Anything to learn.”
He pauses briefly to greet one of the many passersby, putting in the miles, walking the long concourses at the Jackson Medical Mall.
“And learn I did. I’ll tell you this,” Hart states, raising a finger to punctuate his point. “What I didn’t know and came to realize is how huge and dynamic this field is. So much goes into framing and restoration. And I discovered there was so much need out there.”
“I brought all that knowledge to one place. It grew steadily and so well because there was such a need in this community. Word spread. And the product speaks for itself. People started bringing their historical documents and family photos for proper framing at reasonable prices. Artists and photographers bring their work here too. That’s important because it brings a lot of talent together. It’s a great way to network.”
Hart takes off his suit jacket, looks around his shop and smiles at his brother, clapping him on the shoulder.
“Elim means, ‘God’s sweet land,’ ” Hart explains. “I chose the name Elim after reading scripture. I thought, what could bestow a blessing on this place and the community?”
He smiles, recalling his “lightbulb moment.”
“If necessity is the mother of all creation, then I can tell you this, what I have here was created out of a need I didn’t even know existed. What a blessing that is.”
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