Two high profile names in the one-hour industry have made career moves:
Bill DiMinno, who recently announced his retirement from Fuji, has decided to re-enter the industry and will join BEF Corp., Allentown, PA as senior vice president of Sales and Marketing, as of October 1st;
Chuck Wolf, a veteran of the one-hour business, has left Ritz Camera for the second time and joined with a former associate to start a marketing and advertising firm to serve retail businesses—including Ritz.
DiMinno retired from his position as senior VP and general
manager of Fuji's photo imaging group in April and is serving as a
consultant to Fuji until Oct. 1st at which point he will take over
his new responsibilities at BEF. He will be reporting to Ed Brewer,
BEF's president and founder.
Asked why he decided to come back to the industry after such a short period of retirement, DiMinno said, "I took a short break after 38 years in the industry and now
I'm looking forward to new challenges. I feel as though I can still make a contribution."
BEF, which started operations in 1983, has been a leading re-builder and re-seller of used minilabs for some years, a segment of the industry that's been in decline as the market for optical labs has shrunk. However, BEF has developed as a strong field service organization of about 100 technicians that serve primarily as a supplement to Fuji's own field service staff.
According to Ed Brewer, DiMinno will be concentrating on servicing existing BEF accounts as well as developing new service business for the firm.
Chuck Wolf, long a major player in one-hour, has joined with Jerry Carbone, former senior VP of marketing and advertising of Wolf Camera, to start Wolfbone Marketing. Wolf founded Wolf Camera in 1974 after leaving his job at Ritz Camera and developed a chain of about 800 locations with the acquisition of the Fox Photo stores. Of the Fox acquisition, he said, "That's when my problems began."
Wolf Camera went bankrupt in 2001 with Ritz taking over the Wolf chain and Wolf joining Ritz as vice chairman.
The new venture, being called Wolfbone Marketing, will open its doors in Atlanta with Ritz Camera and Boater's World, owned by Ritz, as clients, along with two other accounts, Mad Bug Clothing and US Estate Sales.
Wolf said his role would be to work with the Ritz marketing team "giving them creative support and building a better brand name for Ritz." He said his biggest challenge would be to educate the digital shooters and get them to do more printing.
One plan under consideration is to hold Saturday digital clinics at select Ritz locations to show camera owners how to use their equipment and demonstrate the printing options open to them. He said that over 600 Ritz stores are equipped with Fuji Frontiers and DSL lines to offer customers online uploading with orders available for store pickup in about three hours. Store personnel would conduct the clinics, according to Wolf.