In a move likely to tarnish town-gown relations, PrattStore — the modernist art supply shop run by the venerable Pratt Institute — has begun offering custom framing, possibly injuring the business of a local Myrtle Avenue merchant.
“For the past seven months, I’ve been working with a deficit,” said Lurita Brown, the owner of Clinton Hill Simply Art & Framing, a 17-year-old framing shop that sits little more than a block away from the three-year-old PrattStore.
Brown told The Brooklyn Paper that she was already struggling at Myrtle and Classon avenues when, a couple of months ago, PrattStore, near Emerson Place, introduced a custom framing service of its own.
Last month, Brown wrote to Pratt President Thomas Schutte that she was “flabbergasted” that the school would compete with an existing, locally owned business with limited resources.
Indeed, three years ago, Schutte told the New York Times that “[PrattStore] will be a tremendous resource for our students but, because of its location, for the community as well.’’
The store, which Pratt completed in 2005 for $2.2 million, is a stark, gray-silver structure designed by architect Richard Scherr. A recent visit to the second floor of the shop revealed an ample custom framing showroom, adjacent to a large ready-made framing section.
A Pratt Institute’s spokeswoman did not respond to several requests for comment. She said that Schutte was preparing a response to Brown’s Dec. 10 letter.
For her part, Brown remained incredulous.
“What were they thinking?” asked Brown.