Farewell, John Jones

"Dear All,

It is with deepest regret to announce that after 40 years in business, John Jones Art Centre Ltd is ceasing trade on February 14th 2019.

I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been loyal to us over the years- it has been a real pleasure working with you and an honor to frame your wonderful artworks!

Hopefully, there will be an opportunity in the future when we can work together again.

Best wishes,

Jack

A message from the Jones Family

As many of our clients know, John Jones is a family business, started over 40 years ago by my pioneering father. I joined the business in 1986 at 16, my brother Kristian a year later at 15. Our sister Kelly joined us a few years after and for the last 34 years we have given everything we have to the business – literally blood, sweat and tears. Whilst it’s been incredible, it’s also been very challenging – running a business in the UK is not easy and in the art world even more so. Closing John Jones has been the hardest decision of all, but we feel strongly that now is the right time for us to take a much needed break and put our own families first.

I am immensely proud that we have pushed the limits in framing, defined the standards in the UK, set ourselves as the ambassadors and market leaders of our industry. The art world is a challenging place, but we’ve strived to raise the focus on not only presenting but also protecting art and ensuring its longevity for generations to come.

We’re grateful to our loyal client base who has given us so many wonderful memories. From young artists at the start of their careers, to some of the biggest names in art; we’ve framed for royalty, for rock stars, A-list actors, world leaders and captains of industry. We’ve framed masterpieces, modern art, contemporary work, magna cartas, posters, family photos, football shirts, kimonos, guitar collections, children’s drawings… this list goes on. I can promise you, we’ve given every single work the same focused attention and care, right down to the beautiful piece of embroidery that an old lady from Finsbury Park brought in. We’ve been on an incredible journey and met some truly wonderful personalities.

We’ve built a first class team of dedicated experts over the years, from frame designers and art conservators to metal welders, gilders and joiners – our manufacturing and art teams really are outstanding. I’ve always been so proud to give clients tours of our workshops and show off our staff at work. It’s been rewarding to see so many go on to pursue their own artist careers or set up businesses within the art world that we continue to work with on a freelance basis. We’ve also built strong working relationships with other art professionals who keep the art world moving - curators, consultants, auction houses, museums, shippers, storage, installers, lighting experts, photographers, printers, suppliers, not to forget art colleges. We all play a part.

Our passion has always been the art. It really has been a lifelong effort and I’m proud to say that I firmly believe we leave the art world in a much better state than when we first started.

Matt, Kristian and Kelly"
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Comments

  • edited January 17
    I'm sure the money from the sale of the massive new building that they got so much support for because they were a local business promising the moon a stick to the local community will help to soften the blow.
    Did anything ever come from the promises to replant the trees they chopped down or the pledges to have open community space, gallery shows etc?
  • edited January 18
    The trees were replanted on the new pavement with, from memory, some additional ones elsewhere.

    The gallery did run for a while - I saw a couple of outre exhibitions there. Sadly the rumour is that they've been struggling as a business for some years. It took them a long time to capitalise on the building, partly because of the Wells Terrace nightmare - the top floor was let out only relatively recently. And with Walnut failing they lost that revenue stream too. And I understand that the core revenue stream was struggling as well. Pity to lose such an iconic local business.
  • Just looked it up. I had no idea the business was there.

    I think it must be the place I've heard a couple of folks mention. Stories of wanting a frame for a picture, then slowly backing out of the shop when told the price!
  • Yep, that happened to me. Definitely professional gallery framing - though I do know a couple of people who had some very rare/delicate items framed there.
  • The one on Crouch End Hill has gone as well, that guy was hilarious, I suppose we will be subjected to some kind of chain art shop now.
  • What we really need is some sort of cafe
  • The view from the top floor of John Jones is amazing, and would make a great bar/restaurant.
  • There's also a place on Park Road that does framing, and I was very happy with their work. John Jones, not so much.
  • edited January 29
  • Would anyone care to translate in one paragraph of plain English this gobbledigook from the new owners, whoever they are:

    "Matthew Weiner, chief exec of U+I, said: “We are pleased to have acquired The Arts Building – a warehouse-style building, just 100 metres away from the proposed new entrance to Finsbury Park Underground station.

    “Working and living in London is fast becoming more about affordability and convenience over postcode, particularly for location-independent businesses.

    “We are more connected than ever before, so it is imperative that the spaces we provide reflect our constantly evolving ways.

    “With the wider regeneration projects going on in the area, these characterful offices will create not just spaces in which to work, but places where people will want to be, generating lasting demand and bringing further life to the area.”
  • edited January 23
    I can.

    "We've snapped up a massive building for a bargain price because the previous owner's business is going down the toilet and they are desperate to sell up. We are going to divide it into offices, probably paint some of the walls yellow, chuck free wifi and shove a few big plants in. We'll rent the spaces out for fortunes because start ups are desperate to be in a warehouse in Hackney or Shoreditch but can't afford it, but they've heard N4 has a lot of cafes for when they don't fancy the office so it's a decent second best."

    That ok?
  • John Jones may have been better not going into office development and concentrating on their core business - they were quick to drop the art space once they got the building finished - I am really sorry for the people who have lost their jobs. I would not be surprised if the new owners try and get a change of use to turn the building into housing. I wonder how much John Jones made on the sale - I hope they use the profit to compensate their staff who have lost their jobs.
  • edited January 29
    "John Jones may have been better not going into office development and concentrating on their core business"

    This is somewhat unfair in their case, as the business was badly constricted by the workspace available to them and so either had to move out of the area or develop the plot that they owned and stay in Finsbury Park - and the former option would have necessitated lots of people losing their jobs as they employed very locally.

    I have heard convincing rumours of entirely separate issues within the business that started before the redevelopment and were never resolved, but it wouldn't be appropriate to air them in a public forum. I do think it's reasonable to speculate that failure to let the spare parts of the new building (top floor, restaurant) on a permanent basis may have contributed to the decision to pack it in, but I'm led to believe that this wasn't the main factor.

    Either way it's a shame. They were a landmark and longstanding independent business in the area. I got to know one of the family a tiny bit when they were trying to get planning permission, and it feels like a real shame for them and the family legacy. At least they've added a building/city block of real architectural merit to the area - the buildings they replaced were ghastly and massive under-use of the space.
  • edited January 28
    I guess it's a family dispute as your pal Kate Jones who was posting on here, and seemed to be leading the new development and promising the moon on a stick, is not a signatory to the open letter.
  • I have no inside knowledge but I did find that their prices for framing were very high and after promising an arts space it was soon closed. Back in the day they also ran an excellent arts shop in the old building which when closed must have freed up space - all the same a sad for their employees as well as the owners. Let’s see what the new owners do with the building.
  • edited January 29
  • I'm all for a link to twitter when it's relevant, but when it's just a conduit to an article elsewhere then please try to do that link: my employer blocks much social media, so I can't view them.
  • Also very boring to just see endless Twitter posts here. I have Twitter for that.
  • Cut out the middletweet
  • I appreciate the link, but agree a little summary might be helpful. I'm probably guilty of not doing this.
  • I had been a customer of John Jones back in their pre-fancy building days. But now I run Frame Factory (formerly of Cross Street N1) and we're based on Highbury Crescent...just a stones throw from Stroud Green.
    It's going to be strange without the leader of the industry we operate in...sad and strange.
  • edited February 27
    Thank you to those who have made kind comments. We are really sad to have closed the business. Running a company is not easy at the best of times, especially in the art world and in London, and especially a family business. We're incredibly sorry to have had to make this decision. We really did try our best - despite some of the sceptics on here, we didn't take the money and run (without planting the trees)! Would have been a lot easier but life just doesn't always go to plan I guess. And yes all our staff received their full redundancy payments. The new owners of the building want to retain The Arts Building legacy and we hope they can get it running at full capacity. Miss Annie, did you not get the Moon on the Stick I sent you??
  • Thanks Kate. What else can you tell us about the new owners and their plans?
  • edited February 27
    They've told us they are keeping it as The Arts Building with a creative tenancy. They don't have huge plans to change anything - they're keen to work with Park Theatre and the local community - they have better budgets than we ever did so hopefully will be more effective in that respect. I believe they''re currently looking for tenants to take over the old JJ spaces. Not sure what will happen with the Walnut space - be so nice to see a successful cafe in there...
  • Sad to say I did not Kate. Just leave it by the foot of one of the replacement trees and I'll pick it up later.
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