Magazine Article


A Man With a Plan

Dave Cordle, Steve Cordle and Rich Cordle
A Family Affair. The second generation, running Cord Camera today (l. to r.) brothers Dave Cordle, VP, and Steve Cordle, President/CEO, and cousin Rich Cordle, VP.
Photo © Diane Berkenfeld

Salesperson assisting a customer in Cord Camera's store
Cord Camera’s camera bar lets customers touch, feel, and preview all of the latest cameras without the need to wait for a salesperson. (All photos except cover image courtesy Cord Camera.)
The coffee bar in Cord Camera in Clintonville
The coffee bar in the corner of the new Scrapbook Studio in Cord Camera’s Clintonville location offers an added level of comfort for die-hard scrapbookers hard at work embellishing and journaling.
Customers editing at Fuji stations at Cord's Camera
Customers can edit, enhance, and print to their heart’s content at 1 of 6 Fuji stations situated within the store’s photo lab. Printers next to the kiosks offer immediate output, while those for later pick-up are routed to the store’s minilab.
Customers scrapbooking together at Cord Camera's studio
Recognizing the inherently social nature of scrapbooking, Cord Camera’s studio features comfortable chairs and custom-built tables so customers can fit all their tools, papers, and embellishments.
Customer surveys scrapbooking merchandise at Cord Camera
A wide range of neatly stocked merchandise in wide aisles takes Cord Camera above and beyond the typical row or two of scrapbooking SKUs found in many stores.
Staff helps scrapbooking customers at Cord Camera
A knowledgeable and certified staff keeps customers informed on the latest trends and developments in the scrapbooking arena.
Steve Cordle and father Jick Cordle
The Cordle Family: Steve Cordle (r.), has taken the reigns from father Jick (l.), who started Cord Camera with his brother Bud 52 years ago.
Custom framing department at Cord Camera
The Cordle Family: A recent addition at Cord Camera is the custom framing department, shown here at the Clintonville location—an ideal compliment to the other services and products Cord offers its customers.

Monthly managerial meetings in between training sessions also help keep everyone on the same page. “All the managers from all our stores come to these meetings, and we get the latest info back to them,” says Imaging Services administrator Phil Kinstle. “Each manager then has a store meeting to bring it to the next level.”

Every employee needs to be certified in one of three areas during their probationary period: CPC (Certified Photographic Consultant)-certified on the sales side, SPFE (Society of Photo Finishing Engineers)-certified, or certified for the scrapbooking area. “Some of the managers here are certified in all three areas,” says Martin. “It’s vital to our success. That’s the only way customers will come back to us, if we get them better pictures and better scrapbooks.”

And it’s the company’s loyal employees that have helped grow the business so successfully over the years, some of whom have been with Cord for more than two decades. ‘We have a strong blend of strong Cord associates who have been here, who know the products, the culture, the customers, and the demographics, and then we have people who have come from the ‘outside,’ like Bill Fletcher and myself, and we’ve put together a team that works well together and challenges each other,” says COO/CFO Gary P. Binkoski.

And it’s evident they all possess the same passion for their work that transcends the usual 9-to-5 mentality. “The neat thing about being in our industry, if you have to work retail, is that there’s no better industry to be in,” says Martin. “The rewards are so great. When you have a customer you sell a camera to, and you help them take great pictures of their children or build a better scrapbook, they come back to you and say thank you. When I first started here in 1986, one of our customers had two small children. I just saw her a few months ago, and her kids are all grown up now and married. You strike up a bond because it’s a more personal relationship. We’re selling a means of remembering the special moments in people’s lives, and we have that through the whole fabric of our store.”