Another frame of mind: New community, new career for new owners

January 2018 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community
Molly Moreland and Scott Bruno, new owners of Silverton Art and Frame (4) (1)

Molly Moreland and Scott Bruno of Silverton Art & Frame. M. Wagoner

By Melissa Wagoner

Molly Moreland believes in providence – and she has more than one incidence in her story to back that up.

“I’m a believer in ‘meant to be’,” she explained. “When you’re on the right path the universe has a magical way of bringing all the pieces into place.”

One of those pieces is Moreland’s life partner Scott Bruno.

“We met at Santa Clara University in the early ‘90s in a Calculus class – he was my tutor,” she laughed.

“But our paths diverged,” Bruno added.

Although the couple remained in contact it would take many years, three sons and the end of a marriage to bring them together for good.

“Sometimes life just does not work out like you planned,” Moreland said.

The next unexpected change came about when Moreland’s ex-husband relocated to Mount Angel to be near his sister, compelling her to make the difficult decision to leave her career aspirations and relocate.

“I’m a very adaptable and resourceful person,” she said.

Bruno was less certain. Formerly firmly ensconced in San Jose, Calif., he was skeptical about moving to such a small place. Now he jokes about how much he enjoys it.

“Coming here has been amazing,” he said.

Although both Moreland and Bruno quickly adjusted to life in their new home of Silverton, replacement careers were not so easy to come by.

With a degree and a 15-year career in public service and diplomacy behind her, Moreland suddenly found herself working in retail.

“But I met a wonderful group of ladies,” she added.

Two members of that fated group were Judi DeSantis and Debbie Farmer, owners of Silverton Art & Frame.

“We struck up a conversation and they started talking about how they were thinking of selling their business,” Moreland said. “But never did it occur to me, ‘Oh, I should buy their business.’”

Although it may not have occurred to Moreland, it immediately struck Bruno as a possibility.

A framer since he was just out of high school, Bruno has worked in scores of art galleries.

“I love the craftsmanship about it,” he explained. “At the end of the day I always knew what I had to show for it.”

Moreland suggested Bruno take a look at the business himself because as she said, “One of the things I didn’t know was about framing,” and a deal was struck almost immediately.

“It makes it sound beautifully simple, and it was,” Moreland laughed, “but it was actually a very intense time.”

Intense partly because DeSantis had recently suffered a debilitating knee injury and Farmer’s husband had become ill.

“We had a contract to buy the business Aug. 1,” Bruno said. “We were going to spend all of July working side by side with them but all of a sudden we received a call saying, ‘We need to hurry this up.’”

Moreland and Bruno embraced the change in plans, taking the reins so that Farmer could have the peace of mind that the business she and DeSantis had run since 1979 would continue to thrive.

“She didn’t have to worry about what was going on here,” Moreland said. “But Debbie was so generous with her time despite Dan being sick. She was just such a patient and positive teacher. And Judi worked alongside us for six weeks.”

Moreland said part of the reason they love their new business is because of the generosity and kindness shown to them by DeSantis and Farmer during the transfer.

“They really treated everyone that came in the door like family,” Moreland explained. “We feel like we’ve stepped into that and we feel like family. The DeSantis family has been so supportive. It was a big leap for this family to take a chance on us.”

Although Moreland came into the business knowing little about framing she has come to love the work.

“She does the bulk of the design work because I’m in the back here framing,” Bruno said.

Moreland also relishes the time she spends with customers and the stories they tell.

“I’ve heard some really cool stories,” she said.

“And some heartbreaking ones,” Bruno interjected.

Either way, both Bruno and Moreland agree that the artwork they are entrusted with is a constant source of amazement.

“We get to work with beautiful things all day,” Bruno said. “Some of it’s very personal. It’s neat to work with the many artists in this community.”

Although they have owned the shop for less than six months Bruno and Moreland already feel like it is home. They enjoy filling it with the items they admire and being a part of downtown.

“We love it,” Bruno said.

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