Asked why his business, Right Angle Framing, is superior to the various other frame shops in Hoboken, Pablo Godoy held up a frame that had been lying on the counter in front of him. He pointed out a little nick in the wood here, a small gap between the pieces there, and various other inconsistencies that, while relatively inconspicuous, are glaring errors to an expert in the craft. It wasn’t a perfect frame after all.
Then Godoy revealed the secret. It wasn’t one of his. It had come from another Hudson County frame shop, and the customer had asked him to correct the mistakes. This, Godoy said, is what Right Angle Framing is all about.
“Framing seems like a very simple thing to some people, I think,” said Godoy, who took over Right Angle 18 years ago after buying the business from his former boss, the original owner. “But the devil is in the details, and we pay a lot of attention to detail.”
“The devil is in the details, and we pay a lot of attention to detail.” – Pablo Godoy
Learning by doing
The shop was first opened by former owner Toni Sullivan uptown in 1983. Sullivan agreed to sell the store to Godoy, who she had hired years earlier despite his lack of experience, in 2001, and since then Godoy has expanded the shop in terms of its community involvement and quality.
“I was mostly just walking around, looking for some work,” said Godoy, who had come to Hoboken from Argentina in the early nineties. “I was a DJ at the time, but I was looking for something with a little more peace and quiet. I saw that there was a sign in the window and I fell in love with the place.”
Godoy was lucky that day, too, because while Sullivan was hoping to hire someone with experience, she was not in the office that day. The employee on hand took a liking to Godoy, and before telling him to return when Sullivan was around, he showed him a few basics of framing that he could show off in his interview.
“So I guess when I came back to meet Toni, she thought I was a little better than I was, and gave me the job,” he said.
Still, Godoy learned the trade quickly, and soon found a passion for quality framing. 18 years later, he offers one of the top services in the tri-state area, and has been hired by Steven Spielberg and an entire host of New York Giants.
Since Godoy took over Right Angle, he’s made involvement in the Hoboken community an important aspect of the business. The store makes donations to various community groups. Godoy has given lectures about being a minority small business owner and recently completed Movember along with the majority of his male staff.
He also tries to lighten up Washington Street every Christmas when he and his staff design an elaborate set of window decorations, and supports local artists year-round by hanging their work, and not the standard posters, in his shop.
The effort shows, said Godoy, and the community shows their appreciation.
“Rule number one of customer service for us is that if we don’t go out of our way for the customer, why are they going to go out of their way for us?” he asked. “You need to show that you are invested in them and their community, and then you can succeed.”
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org