Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
What's old is new again at Carman's Foto Source in Stratford.
As of April 30, ownership of the longstanding retail store will transfer back to previous owner Rick Carman from his sister Kim Adair and her husband Paul.
The Adairs purchased and have been the face of the downtown location since 1994, but their involvement with the company started years earlier. They owned the company's original store in Goderich (which in 2011 was destroyed by the tornado), and before that operated the photo lab in Stratford when the retailer was at 68 Wellington St., a few doors down from its present-day location at 44 Wellington.
Paul remembers moving into the new location in 2002, and marvels at how much the industry has changed in that relatively brief period of time.
"We were still selling more film cameras than digital cameras. People were saying (digital's) not going to last," he laughed during an interview Wednesday.
What was once a six-days-a-week job (before Sunday shopping was implemented), developing film soon became a thing of the past.
"If we had a busy Sunday, we could take in more film back in the day than we do probably in two months (now)," Paul added, noting the store now only develops film, mostly from disposable cameras, once a week.
It's not retirement that's calling Kim and Paul Adair, but rather the chance to try something different. Kim is a registered holistic nutritionist and will continue to serve clients out of her home after successfully launching a health and sport nutrition section inside the photo store in 2013. Paul, meanwhile, is turning his attention to one of his other passions, bodybuilding, and plans to work this summer with a friend doing landscaping as well.
"I've only had two jobs since high school," said Paul, who was once employed at the Crane manufacturing plant. "So this summer I'll actually be working outside."
Stratford's Carman's Foto Source is family-run, through and through. Returning owner Rick Carman is the grandson of Eric Carman, who founded the camera shop and photo service franchise in 1972.
Under the ownership change, the store will now be managed by Rick's daughter-in-law Kate Carman, whose husband Jason previously worked there as an assistant manager and will be helping out again on weekends.
Kate worked at the company's head office on Monteith Avenue in Stratford for two years in the accounts payable department, and before that she ran the Harrington House Bed & Breakfast on Water Street for eight years. She told the Gazette she's excited to get started in her new role, one she anticipates will have few hiccups given the years of in-store experience that she's surrounded with.
"Luckily we've had staff that's worked here 10 or more years, so we've been fortunate," she added.