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Walgreens photo restoration

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  #1  
Old 12-18-2003, 01:09 PM
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Walgreens photo restoration

Walgreens Launches New Fast, Inexpensive Photo Restoration Service
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2003, 01:33 PM
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It would be interesting to see how much actual restoration they would/could do on some of the challenges you've posted, Doug. Somewhere they'll have to draw the line on how far they will/can go.

I'll watch for this in the Seattle area.

~Danny~

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 09-03-2004 at 06:36 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-18-2003, 01:43 PM
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it'd be interesting to see how much they pay these restoration masters. Can you do it on a contract basis as a side job?

Lemme know if anyone knows any more about the employment side of this news.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2003, 03:01 PM
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Being very familiar with the quality of their prescription center services, as well as their corporate headquarters, I wouldn't expect much from the restoration side of the business either. The problem is that the average Joe will probably fall in love with it!

Ed
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  #5  
Old 12-19-2003, 05:33 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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This is interesting.
I may just have to make a visit to my local Walgreens to check this out.

I may even submit something to see the quality of work and turn-a-round time. It's good to know what your competition is capable of producing.

Perhaps after the holidays. I'll report back the results.
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  #6  
Old 12-19-2003, 06:58 AM
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that's my point though, maybe it'd be good to get Walgreens volume of customers and not have to do the work to the level that you're capable of, only what the Walgreens manual demands. It may end up being something profitable.

What does a typical restoration cost for those of you that do it for a living?
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  #7  
Old 12-19-2003, 07:54 AM
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Exclamation Work done here?

Fellows,

Does anyone know for sure if the work is done in the U.S.?

I speculate that the restoration work is done overseas in a Photoshop sweatshop.

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  #8  
Old 12-19-2003, 07:48 PM
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Tend to agree with ExclamPt ---

my guess is the work is not done in the USA ---- the turn around time is what made me think that.

Vikki - I look forward to your findings!
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  #9  
Old 12-19-2003, 09:38 PM
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Hi Jill:

Happy almost ho-ho-ho.

I don't think I'd assume USA, either. Although the image is scanned onto a CD at the store, that image could subsequently be transported to (and from) anywhere via the Internet.

After rereading the press release, the processing location was conspicuous by its absence.

Good point by ExclamPt.

~Danny~
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2004, 08:06 AM
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Maybe This is where they the work is being done

found this in google's group search under " Photo restoration "

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=ph...ws.com&rnum=16

I think I liked the cold war better
RonDon
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2004, 02:20 PM
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Even when figuring the more complex work, it seems it would take upwards of 120 jobs just to pay for Photoshop! Or, maybe they *don't* pay for Photoshop.

Ed
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Old 01-30-2004, 03:43 PM
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"If your example is impressive, we will send you a photo for "test restoration"
to make sure that you can do a real work."

Hmmmmmm - One free image to them !

THEN ----
"we will contact you to discuss pricing (up to $5 per picture, depending on complexity) and other details"

My self worth is complete !!!!

Ed I like your math - but need to add a few more $'s in here --- the computer, internet connection, overhead --- LOL
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2004, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinbNJ
"Ed I like your math - but need to add a few more $'s in here --- the computer, internet connection, overhead --- LOL
Not to mention legal fees to try collecting your $5.00 for the more complex work.

Ed
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2004, 05:26 PM
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What's funny about Ron's link is that the guy is actually a Russian living in Virginia Beach...at least that's who primalana.com is registered to. Anyone want to pose as a Russian and see if you can earn $5 restoring one of his photos? (edit - On second thought, it's probably better not to post the link... )

Last edited by G. Couch; 01-30-2004 at 07:39 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2004, 10:55 AM
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I took one in

Well, someone had to do it.
I took in my photo from Restoration Challenge #44.
http://www.retouchpro.com/challenges...cat/537/page/1
Here's the FAQ's:
You can get it restored and colorized for only $39.99.
It takes about 21 days.
They scan the image on the scanner that's available to all customers. I don't know what kind it was, but will check it out when I pick up the finished photo.
They scan the photo to a floppy disk. Unless it's a high capacity floppy, the file size can be no bigger that just over 1mg, and most likely a jpg.
Although the photo is obviously very old, there was still a studio logo on the back, so I had to sign a release, which also included a hold harmless clause for Walgreen's.
They have a booklet of examples tied to the counter. The examples are very good. The colorings are also very good, and one was extremely well done.

Summary:
If my photo comes back looking as good as their examples, we will all be out of business.

Come back here in 21 days, and I will post the finished restoration.
Vikki
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  #16  
Old 02-05-2004, 10:59 AM
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Thanks for the follow up Vikki --- now we sit and wait!
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  #17  
Old 02-27-2004, 10:05 AM
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Update

Well, Walgreen's is late getting the photo back. I called them yesterday to inquire when it will be in. The original 21 days I was quoted was misleading, as now I was told that it takes 21 working days. The woman I spoke with told me it was sent out to Qualex, and they haven't returned it yet. It thought that little tidbit was interesting. Qualex is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kodak.

I expect the photo will be in "any day now".
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  #18  
Old 02-27-2004, 10:49 AM
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An interesting sidebar?

I just searched Qualex for jobs using search words "retouching," "retouch," "restoration," and "restore" and got no hits.

This may or may not mean something. But being a cynic, I speculate there are no domestic jobs with these words in their job descriptions.
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  #19  
Old 02-27-2004, 03:12 PM
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They're mainly in the grocery stores and such. They are the one hour photo folks

Info on them at Monster.com

http://company.monster.com/quale/

And their own job website (not a great website to search)

http://www.qualexjobs.com/

This is the section of their company that probably handles the restoration work:

Central Lab Operations (CLO) - an nationwide network of more than 30 wholesale labs which process traditional prints, fulfill digital orders, and produce premium products such as Kodak Picture CD's. Some labs are equipped to produce specialty items such as poster size prints and T-shirts. The labs are usually located in major metro areas such as Boston, Hartford, Baltimore, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, to name a few.

But it wouldn't surprise me to find that they outsource some of the work.

- Noel
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  #20  
Old 03-02-2004, 03:46 PM
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It's here

Well, I finally got my restoration back.
http://www.retouchpro.com/challenges...php/photo/3782

Although they are advertising 14 days or less, and a money back guarantee, it took 27 days and the photo manager told me that if I don't like it they will redo it, but I won't get my money back.
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  #21  
Old 03-02-2004, 04:08 PM
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Not much character left. Overall, the dog faired best. If they'd entered this as a Challenge entry, I'd say "good work, but a bit flat, and a lot of valuable facial detail has been lost".

Vikki: thank you for doing this. It was above and beyond the call, and extremely educational and useful.
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  #22  
Old 03-02-2004, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
It was above and beyond the call
It's always good to know your competition.

Honestly, I'm shocked that this is as bad as it is. I expected much better. Especially after seeing this article:
http://www.detnews.com/2003/decorati...e03-287131.htm

As it stands, I think everything in Walgreen's ads for this service are misleading.
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  #23  
Old 03-02-2004, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikki
It's always good to know your competition.

Honestly, I'm shocked that this is as bad as it is. I expected much better. Especially after seeing this article:
http://www.detnews.com/2003/decorati...e03-287131.htm

As it stands, I think everything in Walgreen's ads for this service are misleading.
I think it was said best when I was viewing your thumbnail of their work and my g/f said "wow those faces are really scary!"

I also want to say I appreciate you doing this, but I'm not feeling a lot of pressure from the walgreens area now

- Noel
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  #24  
Old 03-02-2004, 05:11 PM
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Thank you Vikki. I agree with Doug. But I think the problem is that quite a few people will think it's just great! Probably nobody on this site, but the general public. Will you send it back to see what the results are? Maybe you could tell them what you think it's lacking. I'd be curious to see just how far they would go to satisfy a customer.

Ed
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  #25  
Old 03-02-2004, 06:38 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I couldn't stop myself, and sent an email to Walgreens photofinishing division.
I told them that I was disappointed with the results, their advertising is misleading, and that their quality control was lacking (there was a slip enclosed in the photo envelope for an "inspected by" signature, but the box was empty) .
As far as returning the photo, I don't see the point. I will keep this photo as a reference for those individuals who wonder why Walgreens can offer such a low prices.
It is a shame that some people will, by lack of comparison, think Walgreens' work is satisfactory, or worse yet, represenative of photo restoration in general.
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  #26  
Old 03-03-2004, 04:42 PM
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Vikki,

Out of curiosity, how did Walgreen's handle the photo you gave them? Was it just put into an envelope to send for the work, or was it carefully handled as if it were an original historical document? I'm guessing, but I'd say it went into an envelope. This is one area where those who are actually in quality restoration could make an impression on the client.

Ed
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  #27  
Old 03-03-2004, 05:27 PM
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The photo was scanned right there on the Kodak Picture Maker machine and saved to disk (how much resolution do you think you can fit on a floppy?)
I left there with the original.
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  #28  
Old 03-03-2004, 08:38 PM
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If possible, I try to stay away from Walgreen's. But I think I'll check it out to see if it's available around here, and see what information I can get. Scanning to a floppy doesn't exactly sound like a high quality scan.

Ed
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  #29  
Old 03-05-2004, 09:42 AM
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drug store demons

Hi Everyone,

Having Slaved away at London Drugs for several years (ah having to whore oneself to a drugstore to pay the bills), I can tell you all this...
most of the "restoration work" is removing scratches and such in PS.

Mostly it involves using the "clone stamp" alone.

I got stuck with all of it at the location I worked out because I had background in the field. The non mickey mouse stuff was sent to one guy in the company,

No worries for all of us, the level of workmanship is lacking with these outfits. I about died laughing at the "crash course" training that was involved....
of course it does lend to people generally not understanding the difference between quality work and the dreck.
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  #30  
Old 03-05-2004, 10:42 AM
Ken Fournelle Ken Fournelle is offline
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Walgreens

I think the important thing about Walgreens is that it demonstrates there is a huge market out there. Walgreens must have spent millions in market research and testing to decide to implement this service. They also will advertise---get the word out about restoration services. This can be good for independents providing the independents can reasonably be competitive on price and service. Cream rises to the top. If Walgreens does a poor job in restoration their business will suffer. Often restoring someone's cherished photos is a very emotional experience for the custormer or client. It is hard for me to believe that an impersonal service administered by a clerk who has other things to do can compete with the one on one relationship that an independent or small photo service can render. That said, I do think that people will have to look hard at competing with them on price. Everyone should have an answer when asked, "Why shouldn't I just take this to Walgreens?"

I posted this also in the Challenges section also.

Ken
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  #31  
Old 03-05-2004, 01:22 PM
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Wow! and I thought we were hacking at London Drugs!
That Walgreens photo is horrible.
For the first time I do not feel so bad about having had to work at a chain photofinisher, even the stuff coming out of LD was better than that.
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  #32  
Old 03-05-2004, 04:38 PM
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I'm just going to create a photo restoration vending machine...slide your photo in and get a restored version in under 2 minutes! It would not be that hard to create a machine that could do a few automated scratch removals and levels adjustments...put a few machines in the mall and people would love it.
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  #33  
Old 03-05-2004, 05:26 PM
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You'll just have to add a coin slot

I think Hewlette / Packard makes such hardware
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  #34  
Old 03-17-2004, 08:44 AM
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More on Walgreens...I hope it doesn't seem like I'm obsessing on this topic. I'm just curious about who the "artists" are, who do this work.
I never did hear back from Walgreens, although I did see that they visited my website.
Interesting FYI:
I was browsing and came upon a site that has the exact same restoration examples as Walgreens: http://www.phototlc.com/home.html
Looking a bit further into that, I discovered that this company sources it's work to a company in New Zealand, where all the restoration work is done:
http://www.photopages.co.nz/main.htm
Jobs
Article

So, after reading all this, I am wondering if the clerk at Walgreens was incorrect when she said the restoration work was sent to Qualex. It is interesting that the examples from Walgreens are exactly the same as the ones from PhotoTLC/Photopages. My conclusion from this is that Walgreens is using the New Zealand company.

Well, that's that. I think I'll move on now.

Last edited by Vikki; 03-17-2004 at 08:49 AM.
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  #35  
Old 03-17-2004, 09:50 AM
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They're a franchise, and evidently for sale.

It looks similar to hollywoodfotofix.com, only they send their stuff to Peru.
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  #36  
Old 03-19-2004, 04:24 PM
W. Rose W. Rose is offline
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Walgreen Photo

Hi Vikki,
I just noticed your thread on Walgreen and was wondering if you had posted the picture that was restored by their lab.
Would love to see where we stand compared to them.
Thanks, Wayne
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  #37  
Old 03-19-2004, 06:00 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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The photo is posted in the Challenges gallery (I think there's a link somewhere in this thread).
Wait til you see it!
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  #38  
Old 08-22-2004, 02:46 PM
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hey sorry everyone

yep im new and im interested to see the example of this walgreens job is there a link to it somewhere?
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  #39  
Old 08-22-2004, 04:39 PM
W. Rose W. Rose is offline
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Hi Mingus,
Welcome to RP. You can find the link on page 2 of this thread #20 by Vikki.
Wayne
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Old 08-22-2004, 06:41 PM
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thanks

Id like to apologise for that, i didnt do it personaly but i do work for the comany that did it. It is apalling and unfortunatly with the number of images processed there has been some that go through at an annaceptable standard.
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  #41  
Old 08-25-2004, 07:14 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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No need to apologize Mingus.
However, you might want to let your company know this type of work is going out, and that Walgreen's did not respond to my email about this. The reason being, that eventually this could lead to loss of business for your company.
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  #42  
Old 09-03-2004, 05:27 PM
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Not a good example, I agree.

Speaking as a franchise owner for Photopages in another country I would not have given that example back to a customer. I have sent far better examples than that back for a rework. At present I do the QA for my country of residence and that would not have gone through.

I suspect Walgreens may be using more than one supplier.
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  #43  
Old 09-29-2004, 09:25 AM
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How True!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikki
It's always good to know your competition.

As it stands, I think everything in Walgreen's ads for this service are misleading.
Vickie - We had a Walgreens employee come in and apply for a part time receptionist opening last month - she also told us that Walgreens C&R services were very limited and that they (some of the employees) would like to refer the "quality type" work they couldn't handle to us ...

Making the long story short - I did give her the part time job we had open. She worked a total of six 4 hr. days (training time) and quit. We now know that she is the manager of their local area photo departments not just someone who was working at Walgreens part time!

Vickie I think you did an exceptional job of both gaining the information and in your detailed reporting. You are an exceptional person to go to such lengths to help us all be better informed and you have my sincere thanks!

For the rest of you, I'd like to add that if you have a good business in your area - count on it people are probably checking on you as well - and in this case, I do believe that Walgreens went the extra mile to learn all they could about this type of business - unknowingly I aided them!

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators

Last edited by Jim Conway; 09-29-2004 at 09:51 AM.
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  #44  
Old 09-29-2004, 11:13 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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What an interesting story Jim!
I wonder what knowledge she gained that could transfer to Walgreens?

Glad to be of help.

Just a note (if I remember correctly, you are a traditional retouch/restoration artist) ...I've been working with a few traditional retouchers/coloritst lately, and am amazed at the work process. I imagine it would be more difficult for me to learn traditional retouching than it would for them to learn digital. I had no idea what was involved before meeting these individuals. We're sharing our knowledge and skills, and it's been quite refreshing!
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  #45  
Old 09-29-2004, 12:50 PM
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My guess Vickie is this. In looking at their package of prints, it's much like the K-Mart - Sears approach was in the '70's. The name of the game was to break into the market with a super bundle of prints and in store shoots at below production cost. The profits came later when the customer was "upgraded" with services where they could make some real money. A few decades later, K-mart is not babies - it's school kids under the name of LifeTouch. In the '80's Sears went into HS Senior Portrait Photography under another label and Church Photography under still another. I don't know if they are still active at that or not, it's been 25 years or so since I've had studios competing in the school business.

You are correct, we do traditional work here as well as digital and (going way back in time) I'm an airbrush artist among other things. In fact Timemark is a spin off of Bruno Studios founded in Portland during the Lewis and Clark Expo in 1905. "Pop Bruno" came here from Germany and was one of the first airbrush artists in the world. He specialized in photo copy and restoration work for years before the studio started doing any original photo assignments. Happy 100th to us next year!

Back to the subject - the marketing approach that Walgreens could be looking for in the products like those we offer here could be in the photo world in the production of things like "real negatives" (human readable for several centuries) using film recorders, fiber base prints (nothing lasts longer), or in the art world for example with hand oil coloring (replicate the originals), oil paintings from photo originals, etc. I think that with the low cost labor pool available from overseas combined with the lack of restrictions on darkroom chemistry dumping that we face here, given enough money and a decade to work it all out, there isn't much they can't do other than sit down with the client and listen to the "old stories" that go along with every order! That's the part we are really good at! We listen and enjoy those old stories! :-)

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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  #46  
Old 10-13-2004, 06:59 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Interesting news...My sister-inlaw, in town from Denver, CO, told me she gave a photo to her local Walgreen's for restoration. When she returned to the store to pick up her photo, there was only her original photo and a note inside the envelope, stating that they no longer do restorations. The store associate had no idea and was just as surprised as my sister-inlaw.
That's all I have for now.
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  #47  
Old 10-14-2004, 11:43 AM
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Vikki do you suppose that they had too many complaints and decided to drop the service? Sometimes there is a big difference in surveying the market and actually doing the work. It's a marketing vs store manages trap that gets the big businesses into things that don't fit reality! Viva la Edsel!

If this proves to be true, their failure would be a big plus for everyone trying to make a living in the retouching biz.

Jim Conway
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