In recent news, Telus has announced they are closing the last remaining Black's Photo locations. Although not a shock due to the recent marketing and poorly chosen business model, it will still be a shame to loose the 85 year-old, Canadian business.
Twelve years ago I got the chance to meet one of the Black's family brother at an event in Cambridge. He was a charismatic, thought-provoking and brilliant individual that had many great stories to share. His passion for photography was immense and his aptitude for business was awakening. He had told me that he unfortunately had sold his share of the family company to his brother in the 80's, and with a heavy heart had regretted it, but knew it was for the better; both in company and personal interest. He had taken that free time he was given to follow other business passions and lead a happy life. His exuberance on life, family, photography and a quality business model were something I took to heart. His stories, life lessons and advice are still with me to this day.
I grew up, as many of us did, with family photos processed by Black's Photo. The business was run well and customers were treated as family; it was that business model that helped the company grow and gain the trust of their customers. I still have some Black's branded camera equipment from the 80's, as well as a few camera purchased from through out the years. My grandfather even purchased his Kodak Instamatic 25 at the Black's Photo in his home town of Dundas. That very camera is hanging on my office wall, a reminder of both my grandfather and an era of Photography where family businesses like Black's could thrive.
Unfortunenatly after a few buyouts and mergers, Black's Photo will be gone forever due to a poorly managed retail chain. The official story from Telus is that the market has changed too much to survive, but I know from being a part of the photography industry for more then 15 years, that isn't true. I know many smaller and very successful photography stores that are thriving due to their similar business models; excellent customer service, quality products and family ideals.
For those of you in the Hamilton/Burlington area looking for an excellent suitable replacement for your local Black's Photo, check out Bell Arte Camera on Ottawa Street. They will be able to provide you with all the great service, products and support you require. I personally travel from Cambridge to shop from their store due to those ideals.
To the Black's family, I thank you for starting a quality, Canadian business in 1930's and keeping the torch lit for a long as you could. You supplied many families over six decades a reliable, convenient and affordable service that showcased their memories into the glossy wonder of prints.