Tue, Feb. 25

Birthday, anniversary all rolled into one big celebration at longstanding local business
John's Design Center celebrates 25 years in Valley

John Mudersbach was the guest of honor Thursday night during an open house of John's Design Center. The event was organized to celebrate John's 80 years of life and his being in the framing business for 40 years with 25 of those in the same Cottonwood location.

Guests were treated to musical entertainment, cake and lots of door prizes.

"We started in Poway, Calif.," John said. "There was not too many people - maybe 3,000 - there. Now there's 300,000 in the same area."

John said he was in the sign business for 20 years before going into the paint and wallpaper business. A supplier told John that he couldn't make it in the paint and wallpaper business. "So I put art supplies in," he said. "Then people wanted frames."

So the business evolved into framing. "The day I got in the framing business I fell in love with it," he said.

John and his family came to Cottonwood in 1982. "I came here to semi-retire," he said.

But he knew he needed to work a couple of days a week.

Even though there were two other framing businesses in town at that time, John's Design Center got real busy, real fast.

"In 1990 we had 12 people working here," John said. The company did framing work for galleries and museums throughout the United States and shipped work to several other countries.

"We're probably better known outside the state of Arizona than we are in Cottonwood," John said.

John has no plans to retire.

"As long as I'm physically able to come to work, I come to work," he said.

That almost changed a decade ago. "Ten years ago I had some real physical problems," he said. He was told he probably wouldn't live. So he gave the business to his son and daughter.

After three surgeries, and three weeks in the hospital, John recovered and returned to work.

He's still working, every day.

"I have to cut and build 10 to 30 frames a day," he said. But he doesn't seem to mind the work.

"Everybody who works here is proud of what they're doing," John said. "That makes it a fun place to work."

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