Business: Leedo Frames Supports Local Art

Sarah and Kimberlee Rossi at Leedo Art & Frames

For over 20 years Kimberlee Rossi, owner of Leedo Art & Framing has been making Gilroy a bit more arty. The sign above the store at 7436 Monterey St. sums it up: “Because the earth without art is just eh!” a play on the letters in earth.
Rossi, 57, started working at the business in 1989 and bought it from her boss Charlie Clark four years ago. While it looks like a plain frame shop from the outside, inside, there are works of hundreds of local artists’ works, as close to a museum and gallery as there is in Gilroy.
Besides original art, there are framed collectible autographs and posters, including heavy hitters Joe Montana, Mickey Mantle, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain and Tiger Woods.
“I have the best job in the world,” Rossi said. “If I can take something of yours that means something to you and display it in a way and you smile I have done my job.”
On Yelp, Lorrie R. of San Jose posted a five-star review on March 3, 2017, “I can’t believe I’ve never been here before. I needed a frame shop and I wanted to keep it local. It’s a great place to acquire original art, signed, and numbered giclee pieces, beautiful photography and jewelry
A passionate mother and daughter family business that assist everyone from their heart and soul. Invite you to learn about art and framing.”
Customers come in year-round, but some people find their way there by accident while visiting neighboring businesses and are surprised to find an art gallery. Some are also surprised to see a little furball running around, their pet hamster Hercules, who greets guests when he’s not perched in their aprons.
The name “Leedo” was a merger of the names of the store’s original owners, Lee and Dorothy Pratt. Coincidentally, it also ties together Kimberlee’s first and middle names, Dorris.
Kimberlee’s daughter Sarah, 20, also works at the business. She is almost as knowledgeable about art as her mother having been involved since she was young. They both give in-depth tours of the gallery and can give facts about local artists like docents in a big museum.
There’s Pierre Riche, who makes magnificent bowls and sculptures from bicycle parts and painter Corey Hunter, the grandson of Gilroy Antiques owner Gracie Garcia. One artist is a checker at Safeway and another is Mark Turner, the president of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. One artist painted her piece while she was dancing salsa.
“I wanted to help local artists,” said Rossi, whose store used to only feature famous and nationally-known artists and went local in 2013.
Her daughter Sarah gets excited to see new pieces come in and is often the first to purchase pieces from her favorite artists. They do their best to emphasize community.
“All artists are family to us,” Sarah said.
Leedo Art & Framing will be participating in a new Downtown Gilroy Summer Camp this July, in which children will take courses at various downtown stores. At Leedo, they will get an art lesson and then frame and matte their art to take home.
The program will run July 10-Aug.4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information check downtowngilroy.com.
Rossi believes that downtown Gilroy has improved over the years and will continue if all business owners come together as a community to continue innovate the area. She’s also a member of the Downtown Business Association, which is constantly trying to find new ways to encourage visitors to shop the boutique stores at the heart of Gilroy.
As visitors pick up downtown, parking is at a premium. Leedo offers a back parking lot for loading and unloading art.
Rossi is living the dream as she only works at the business and looks forward to each day to work at her dream job.
Once a quarter Leedo hosts a customer appreciation day with wine, art lessons and a gallery tour. The next one is July 9, 1-4 p.m.
“I remember the first time a customer cried in front of me because it was beautiful,” said Rossi. “That’s the coolest thing in the world, not to make people cry, but for someone to be that overwhelmed.”
One of them was a man who framed the last photo of his wife who had passed away from cancer.
“It’s the neatest club to be in, it’s a very unique, uplifting community and it’s supportive of one another.” Rossi added.
The business is located on 7436 Monterey Street, open from 11am-5:30pm from Tuesday-Friday, Saturday from 10am-2pm and closed Sundays and Mondays.

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