Longtime business owner looks to retire

By Lauren Hooks

Woodfin – Studio B owner, Patti Bell, has officially announced her retirement. She began her artistic journey in 1971 as a business student starting a work-study at Lazarus Department Store.

She soon found herself in the custom framing department, where two experienced workers took her under their wing. Bell said this was what initially got her interested in framing, and her journey began as “just a fluke,” noting her placement into the department. She said she didn’t consider herself to be an artist, “but loved art.” Bell soon realized that custom framing was the perfect fit for her, and she has now been custom framing for 50 years and has maintained her business, Studio B, since 1981.
Bell moved to Asheville 13 years ago (with five and a half years in the same location), intending to work towards retirement. She believes that time has officially come. Her two great passions have always been horses and art, and with retirement comes the chance to feed and rejuvenate those passions.

Upon retirement, Bell plans to move to Lexington, Kentucky. Her niece currently manages a horse farm in the Lexington area. Bell is excited to be able to ride more often and said that she might try the equestrian discipline of dressage, which is the “guiding of a horse through a series of complex maneuvers by slight movements of the rider’s body.”

Bell also wants to be closer to her family and making this move will allow for that. She also would like to travel, something that has been difficult while operating a retail store. She would love to experience Milan, London, and the Grand Canyon. She is also looking forward to being able to volunteer, specifically at the Rolex Three Day Event, an equestrian event that is highly watched and populated each year.

Bell says she will undoubtedly miss aspects of the Asheville area: the mountains, the remote areas, and the restaurants as she says she is “sort of a foodie.” As with many passions that become work, Bell is ready to take a step away from the craft of framing so “she can fully appreciate it again.” Her favorite part of framing has been “figuring it out: picking out the colors and frames” to use. She has made many friends, as her business is a destination for frequent repeat customers. She will officially be stepping away from Studio B April 1st and hopes to sell the business as is, for someone to come in and take over. She is located in The Shops at Reynolds Village, so if you have any framing needs, or might be interested in purchasing her business, stop by and see her.

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