A couple of weeks ago I hatched an idea necessitated by changing markets and buying patterns, but before I tell you about it, let me give you a little insight to my and Saundra’s views.
Saundra and I loathe Madison/5th Avenue marketing. We hate deception, especially in marketing. What makes this doubly bad is we are naturally observant – it seems like every trip to the grocery store results with some sharp advertising practice that gets under our skin. When they advertise, “Same low price,” we may notice the price is the same, but the customer is getting less product than before, or “New packaging!” distracts from the fact that the quantity is less and the price is higher.
So let’s start heading back to the idea, but not quite yet! The photofinishing industry was dealt a double whammy back at the start of the Great Recession. Not only was the economy in turmoil, resulting in less disposable income, but smartphones were being endowed with all kinds of wonderful digital camera functions and the cloud was fast becoming the repository for family archives via social media and cloud storage sites. The result: people are purchasing dramatically less prints than they used to.
Recently we have seen a tremendous resurgence in film photography. We still process color and B&W negative film in-house. Several years ago we contemplated dropping the service – we sure are glad we didn’t. We have even bought an extra film processor for insurance. Lots of young photographers are finding the joy and the requisite skill of shooting film, and lots of folks our age are finding old, undeveloped film in all sorts of nooks and crannies.
So….. here’s our dilemma. We have two high production minilabs from years gone by that produce chemically processed prints (silver halide prints). These two minilabs were built to handle large volumes of 35mm roll film. Today we use them mostly for scanning film, which they do better than any other scanners on the market, but without running a respectable amount of prints, the chemicals go out of balance, and needs constant tweaking or replacing.
So here’s our idea: For you 35mm film shooters, let’s make it worth your while to print.
For those of you who bring us 35mm film to develop and scan, we will print 4×6 matte or glossy prints with your rolls for 15 cents each. Our machines need paper running through them, and the labor has already been done when scans are made. Please understand, we can only do this for rolls we have recently developed, before they have been cut and sleeved, so you need to make this decision up front, since we are producing these prints at such a low price.
So knowing that Saundra and I hate marketing hype, here’s the straight up deal: between now and Halloween bring it on! For you folks who have been putting off dusting off the camera, we even sell film – come by and grab a couple of rolls – let us help you rekindle the joy of film photography and save more than 25% in the process.