“We’re not a photo lab, we’re a digital output resource.” says Jobe and he’s working hard to reposition The Color Place, so corporations think of it for all their output needs. To help show how they are different now, he is redesigning their web site and the sign in front of their building this year to show how it is a new place.
Photographers now give digital files directly to clients, and Jobe is focused on getting these businesses to come to The Color Place for final output of the image.
This magazine's Photo Imager of the Year in 2003, Jobe says he knew then that photofinishing would be “supplementary,” and was encouraged seeing E-6 processing returning to profitability, then business started to fall, a 25% decline at the end of 2003, and worst, a 50% drop in 2004. It was time to pull the plug.
“When our largest film processing client, where we made three pick-ups a day, phoned and told me, they will be shooting film only once that month, we had to get realistic with the volume,” he says.
The film lab was shut down in November 2004, and they went from having 80 employees to only 64 who are now working at The Color Place.
After 30 years, Jobe admits that it was a tough decision to close off the machines, and no longer have people walking in to drop off film.
The Color Place is now a manufacture says Jobe, going B2B and focused on meeting the needs of regional businesses, large and small. They are lucky that many of them are Fortune 500 companies.
Tommy Morgeson, founder of Digital Photo Imaging (DPI), joined The Color Place after it was purchased by Jobe in 2001. Now Vice President of Production at The Color Place, he says business today can go in two directions, outputting just one to two copies or meeting retail graphic needs.
Just as he did with film, by meeting all the photographers’ needs from photo equipment to processing, Jobe now wants to be the one source for digital outputting. Concentrating he says on printing 10 to 2000 items.
Jobe’s business strategy for The Color Place is still to be full service, one stop solution for any imaging needs. He says he has no trouble with change, they had been scanning and burning Kodak’s Photo CD since the late eighties.
“It’s difficult,” he admits, “most folks don’t like change, but they need to understand what all it can do for you and understand it we don’t change we’re not going to have a business. Look, see and try to understand,” says Jobe.
This means upgrading constantly and trading in equipment for new faster units that can handle larger one Gigabyte files, Morgeson compares it to today’s digital cameras, which are becoming “throw away cameras after a year.
Buying Regent Printing in 1999, he moved their Heidelberg DI digital printer to The Color Place, but today found it could do some requests for printing on plastic.
Customers wanted it, and this year the HP Indigo S2000 has gone online, offering six colors including white ink.