"One thing our father wanted us to do is to get experience in the outside world first," Pat recalls. "So I became a pilot in the Air Force after graduating from college. I was stationed in Enid, Oklahoma where I was an instructor pilot for P38s. But I eventually got out of the Air Force and came back to work in the business."
Dennis, meanwhile, went on to earn his MBA after college. After working for awhile as a business manager at another company, he too eventually came back to Idaho Camera.
"We're very proud that we've been able to move from one generation to the next," Pat notes. "Lots of companies aren't able to do that. It's a feat. We're two brothers who can totally trust and work with each other. Dennis and I are totally different guys, but we mesh together really well."
"We both have solid business backgrounds and we're both capable of working in all aspects of the business. But we're different people," Dennis adds.
To play to their strengths, Pat works mainly in personnel related aspects of the business and Dennis focuses on administration. Kathy, who both Pat and Dennis say takes after their father, specializes in sales. "She's just like dad," Dennis says. "She really relates to people and that helps in sales. And dad was the world's greatest salesman. It was amazing to watch him with customers."
With all that family history in the business, the $64,000 question is whether Idaho Camera will pass on to another generation as well.
Though Pat and Dennis both have children, they firmly believe their kids should make their own decisions on what to do with their lives.
"My oldest son, Michael, is going to college at the University of Oregon and works at the business during the summers," Dennis says. "But we'll see where his interests take him. Like our father, we believe it's very important for the next generation to be independent before they decide on whether they want to come back to the business." - D.H.
Most photo retail stores will sell you the camera while other
photo labs will handle your processing. Then, of course, there are
camera stores that specialize in repairs or those that tout their
digital printing. Idaho Camera, believe it or not, puts all those
services under one roof.
"We've got a pretty large lab, a Konica QD 21 for digital, a Fuji enlarger, an Agfa machine for a variety of things, including APS and E-6 slides; a Noritsu for B&W. And we can also do inter-negatives and duplicate slides. We offer a pretty complete gamut of services there," Dennis says about Idaho's Service Center, located adjacent to their camera store on Orchard Avenue.
The Center does all the processing for Idaho's five stores with deliveries made three times daily. Dropping film off at any of the stores will get you same-day processing. If you come by the Orchard Avenue store though, you can get one-hour service.
Customers who want their digital images printed nearly instantly only need to visit one of Idaho's five stores and pop their memory card or CD into a Fuji Aladdin on the floor. A few minutes later and their images will come shooting out on the attached dye-sub printer.
In addition to processing, the Service Center at Orchard also handles all of Idaho's repairs with a staff of three full-time repair specialists who work on traditional and digital cameras and audio-visual and video equipment. "We service everything we sell," Dennis says. "If we can do it in-house, we will. If by chance, we can't, we'll cover all the expenses of sending the equipment to the manufacturer for repair."
"And we'll loan them a camera in the meantime," Pat adds. "Our father started the repair service at the very beginning and this is something we've carried on. And the guys in [the repair center] keep pretty busy because we're the only ones who offer that in the Boise area."