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Peter Thornton

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Well, I'm finally retiring after exactly 30 years to the day in the photo industry.

I opened a Photo Studio on 1st Jan 1978. Like many studios, we began to do our own processing and it all went from there really.

I've had a great time in the industry, met some great people and travelled to some interesting places.

My minilab (Quicksnaps in Kendal UK) is being taken over by Tony Harman who formerly ran Maple Leaf Imaging in Skipton.

Final thoughts:

The photo industry needs to think about the real needs of it's customers. Far too many customers are wandering around in a kind of digital fog, which we are expected to lift for them. Problem is that we are not being paid to do this. My advice to Tony is that he should try to control the "hassle" factor as far as is possible.

I do see a danger that we will go the same way as the colour copying industry. We started with a Canon CLC and it was a good earner for a while. Until Prontaprint prices came down to a level that we simply couldn't match. At the same time, we retained all of the awkward little customers that Prontaprint couldn't be bothered with. We are beginning to see this with the photo trade.

There IS a profitable business in there. Like the sculptor, we have to cut away the crap to expose the bit we want to keep.

Imponderables: How long will Jessops survive? My guess is about 8 months.

Will Boots stay in photo processing? What will happen to Click ?

My advice for what it's worth:

1. Keep your overheads down

2. Understand the true cost of leasing equipment and never roll one lease into another

3. Price every service to make a true profit

4. Keep a very close eye on your accounts

5. Love your customers

6. Join PMA

7. Don't let the bank have your balls

I'll probably still hang around this forum, so see you all around and thanks to those who have helped me along the way.

Peter Thornton

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Peter I wish you all the best. I have enjoyed our many chats. I was thinking to keep our shop to celebrate our 30th birthday in November then who knows. I started training as a photographer in Edinburgh in 1969 with my uncle who I stayed with while at university Cheers Cecil Hughson

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