In a direct move to bolster the photo specialty retail channel, the boards of directors of both the MotoPhoto franchise system and the Independent Photo Imagers (IPI) buying group have voted to merge the two organizations as part of a unique national co-branding initiative.
Under the plan, the 150 MotoPhoto franchised retailers in the U.S. and Canada would join forces with the over 400 members of IPI, which comprise approximately 600 storefronts in the U.S. and Mexico.
"For many years, groups like MotoPhoto and IPI were competitors in a marketplace that pitted photo specialty dealer against photo specialty dealer," said Harry Loyle, President & CEO of the MOTO Franchise Corporation, the parent company of MotoPhoto. "But now with services like one-hour photo finishing and digital processing having entered the mainstream, a merger between MotoPhoto and IPI is vitally important to give photo specialty the firepower it needs to take on the mass market channel."
"Linking up with an established national brand like MotoPhoto allows IPI's members to reap the benefits of MotoPhoto's retail marketing savvy and consumer programs and services," said Brent Bowyer, President and CEO of IPI. "IPI, in turn, will be able to harness our organization's purchasing power built through established vendor relationships and privileged pricing."