Framing business grows into art gallery

In Alabama, the two teams scoring the most memorabilia in stores are the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

But some of the best sports-related memorabilia can’t be found just anywhere.

Any Alabama Crimson Tide fan can tell you that a print from acclaimed sports artist Daniel Moore is one of the best pieces of Crimson Tide memorabilia to be had, and luckily for fans, there is a dealer right here in Franklin County.

Cooper’s Framing & Glass, part of one of the oldest family owned and operated business in Russellville, offers quality prints by Daniel Moore.

The prints are sold through the framing business, which is located inside the Cooper’s Body and Glass building that was begun solely as a body shop when the business was first started by Nelson Cooper in 1951.

Owner Randy Cooper, Nelson’s son, said that he’s proud of the distinctive family business that they have. Cooper works alongside his sister, Nanette Cooper Mayfield, and his youngest daughter, Amy Cooper Buchannan. Cooper also worked with his father, Nelson, from the time he was 12-years-old until Nelson passed away this past January.

“Working with my family is one of the things I love about this job,” Cooper said. “Most people wouldn’t enjoy being with their dad on an every day basis, but it was something I really enjoyed.”

Cooper said that once he took over the business in 1985, the framing business just gradually grew.

“We were already dealing with glass because of the body shop,” Cooper said. “We started fixing people’s picture frames that were broken and it eventually led to a full-fledge framing business.”

The Daniel Moore prints, which Cooper’s began selling around 1990, were one of the products that helped Cooper’s Framing & Glass grow into a successful business.

“The first Daniel Moore print I ever got to sell here was ‘The Kick 2’ featuring Philip Doyle,” Cooper said. “But our first big money maker was ‘The Tradition Continues,’ which showed the 1992 National Championship victory.”

According to Cooper, the ’92 championship print was a big money maker for Moore as well.

“Normally Danny only did around 3,000 prints but after he was interviewed on the floor of the Super Dome, he had 6,000 messages from people wanting prints when he got home,” Cooper said. “He ended up doing 19,920 prints to symbolize the year of the win.”

Having a certain number of prints or a special number or person included in his paintings is not something Moore did by accident.

“Danny usually has a significant jersey number or something of that nature in his paintings,” Cooper said. “Just like in the ‘Crimson Legacy’ painting done to celebrate 100 years of Alabama football, the clock in the picture is set at 3:23 for the number of career wins for Bear Bryant, the jersey is number 92 for the championship win, and the play on the chalkboard is from the ’82 Liberty game.”

And Moore still does things like this in his paintings as evidenced in the most recent championship print for the 2009 win called ‘A Crimson Tradition.’

“Danny painted the four other coaches besides Saban who won championships at Alabama inside the championship trophy,” Cooper said. “It’s not something you would really notice unless you were looking for it.”

According to Cooper, it’s those extra things that make Moore one of the most successful sports artists.

 “It’s just those certain elements that make these prints so special to fans,” Cooper said. “Fans remember where they were and what they were doing when one of those key plays that Danny paints took place so really it’s not just a painting, it’s a memory.”

Cooper’s vast knowledge of Daniel Moore facts and trivia doesn’t just come from being a dealer of his prints for the past 20 years. Cooper has a close working relationship with the artist himself.

“Danny is really a great guy and very down-to-earth,” Cooper said. “We’ve known each other through the business and I’ve seen him out different places like Alabama games. We laugh and joke and people don’t believe that I know him that well.”

With original prints that have fetched as much as $75,000 per print, it seems Daniel Moore wouldn’t have time to know dealers on a first name basis but Cooper said that Moore’s business is the epitome of southern hospitality.

“Danny has a very personal business,” Cooper said. “We go and pick up our prints from his studio in Birmingham because we want to make sure that our customers get quality prints that haven’t been damaged in shipping. We know the people there and they know us and their customer service couldn’t be any better.”

Buchannan, who works with Cooper in the frame shop, can attest to the friendly atmosphere at Moore’s studio.

“Daniel Moore’s daughter works with him so we always laugh about all the different aspects of working for your father,” Buchannan said. “Everyone there is very helpful, and when I call them, all I have to say is, ‘This is Amy,’ and they know who it is.”

Even though Daniel Moore is most widely known for his Alabama football prints, he has painted for other sports teams as well.

“Danny has done prints for Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and he’s done some other prints for different sports,” Cooper said. “We have some of these prints here at the shop, but the Alabama prints are always the best sellers.”

Fans in the area who are interested in Daniel Moore prints can browse through their collection at their business on East Lawrence St. and they can also be notified when new prints are available.

“We have an e-mail list that our customers can be a part of and I will let anyone on the list know when new Daniel Moore prints become available,” Buchannan said. “It’s just a service we offer our customers because we know these prints are a really important part of our culture around here.”

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