Magazine Article


A Shoebox of Memories
Retailers discover a niche that digitizes and preserves customers' precious photos for all time.

shoebox of photographs

Even though they're still in the fledgling stage of offering the service, Phillips says they're seeing a "nice profit" on the work they have done. "We are still in the marketing process to build this service into a meaningful revenue stream and identify areas where we can excel with this service as an independent specialty store," she says. "I expect it will take a year to really bring the service from 'new' and 'cool' to 'highly important.'"

Right now, according to Phillips, the buzz is about DVD slideshows for home DVD players. "It's an area where we can offer something really unique to the customer that they might find difficult or too time-consuming on their own," she says. "We have launched photo books, and they're actually getting more play from pros like wedding photographers. T-shirts, mugs, and tins are pretty popular, particularly for family reunions. We have just added collages to the offering as well. We still have a lack of high-speed internet capability in the rural regions, so online ordering is a bit of a battle for us."

Most of her customers are pleased that the service is available to them at F-11. "One customer said the DVD slideshow of the images made her father cry," says Phillips. "I think the service provides an easy way for families to maintain that close connection to their history and to pass it on in a cost-effective way to the extended family. It's also easy to split up the cost of large jobs between family members, and everyone gets an equally good set of images."

I know firsthand how valuable these digitized memories can beómy children may never have the chance to know their Great-Grandpa George, but I have a beautiful DVD slideshow that I can present to them when they're older to keep his memory alive.