Kenny Hakimi and his family had just moved to Northern Virginia from New York City when KH Art and Framing was founded in 1986. The family had always been in the art business but had never ventured out to own their own business until his brother’s success in the industry demonstrated to their father that the venture would be worthwhile.
The story of KH Art and Framing begins in the 1950’s in Uzbekistan, the country of origin for the Hakimi family, when Kenny’s grandfather, an influential civic leader in a small Uzbek town, was compelled to move his family out of the country. Fleeing political persecution from the newly founded Soviet Union, the Hakimi family “packed up seven camels” and moved to Afghanistan. In 1974 the family immigrated to New York City, where the Hakimi work ethic was fostered.
“Even at eight years old I had a paper route…we’re just hard workers,” Kenny shared, and this resolve helped found the business that has become a fixture on Lee Highway. And the results have shown. In operation for more than 30 years, KH Art and Framing has established a reliable base of both retail and government contracting customers. And while most of the business has now shifted to custom framing, Kenny and his brother (who co-manages the business) have not given up on finding ways to prosper in the digital age.
“Mainly, the internet has taken over art sales,” Kenny shared. He added, “One of the challenges for us is to change our model away from having sleeves with artwork, to taking these and making them available online on the website and using all the social media aspects…you have to work it like a real job.” You can follow KH Art Framing on Facebook for yourself by clicking here!
It was apparent from the interview and witnessing customer interactions in the shop that Kenny and his family have loved their time serving the Lee Highway community. Throughout the entire interview you could hear his passion for the business and his customers. When sharing a story about a customer who requested a Vietnam era display case, Kenny shared, “The guy was over here crying for literally a half hour.” For Kenny, this was an indicator that, “Wow, we really do have an impact on people.”
4745 Lee Hwy Arlington, VA 22207
Kenny Hakimi & business partner, KH Art & Framing
“My initial heritage is from Uzbekistan. Back in the 50’s, my grandfather, he was kind of like a mayor of a major town…”Kenny Hakimi, owner
“The internet has taken over arts. That’s what it boils down to… it’s more time-consuming [to come into a store]. One of the challenges for us has been to take artwork out of the [physical] sleeve, and make it available online.”Kenny Hakimi, owner
Full Interview on Arlington’s WERA 96.7