Magazine Article


Joel Paymer of Camera Land

Joel Paymer (l.) of Camera Land shown in 2002, demonstrating ASF's Digital PIC device during a test. Paymer finally broke down recently and purchased a minilab for his store.

Ater years of denying the need to have minilab equipment in his store, Joel Paymer, president of Camera Land, a high profile New York City camera retailer located in the heart of Manhattan since 1957, finally succumbed. He installed a Photo Me DKS-1510 lab last month.

Why? "I had no choice since I had to get into the world of digital output," Joel said. Ninety percent of Camera Land's camera sales are in digital models and he felt the need to offer digital prints to his customers. "Anyone buying a digital camera from me gets a discount card for 20% off all digital prints—forever." The rest pay 39-cents for a 4R.

A 2,000-square-foot store with 13 employees doing in excess of $5 million in volume, Joel has spurned every salesperson from every minilab brand. "Never, never," was his stock response. Rather, he sent his film to the Qualex Fairlawn, NJ, plant which picked up from his store twice a day.

Joel has prospered all these years at Lexington Avenue, between 51-52 Streets, without an on-site lab despite having about seven to eight competitors within a few blocks—all with minilabs. His resolve was weakened, however, when he was used as a test site for the now-defunct Phogenix inkjet minilab and the now-Kodak ASF kiosk with dry film processor. Though they are both gone, Joel's appetite was stimulated by customer response to his digital print services—however short-lived.

For now, Camera Land is only printing from digital input through two Kodak G-3 digital stations connected to the Photo Me lab. Joel said he will be adding a film processor in a few months. Sorry Qualex.

Kevin Donohue, president, and Mark Lawrence, marketing director, of Digital Portal, the importer of Photo Me labs, should immediately be nominated to the Minilab Hall of Fame for their perseverance in selling a minilab to a photo retailer who has resisted the installation of a minilab for all these years. And to the other salesmen who gave up on Joel...?