Archive for October 22nd, 2006


Another one bites the dust…

Yesterday I went out for breakfast with some people from our church small group. After breakfast, my daughter and I headed to Harvard Square – I wanted to check out Ferranti-Dege, a photographic store. In addition to offering a range of photographic processing services, they also sell new and used camera equipment. I was looking for used lenses for my Pentax K1000. I got there at about 11am and I was surprised to find that the store was closed. Upon closer examination, I found that it had closed for good last week. There were signs in the windows saying that after 51 years in business, the store is now closed and that there’s an auction of their inventory in Newton on Thursday.

2006 has been unkind to photo labs in Cambridge. In April, Zona Photo Lab closed. It seems that they may have moved to Waltham, but nonetheless, they are no longer in Cambridge. Now, Ferranti-Dege is closed, for good, as far as I can tell. This leaves only one place in Cambridge that will develop slide film in-house that I’m aware of.

It seems that the advent of high quality digital cameras has sapped the demand for the services that these labs provide and the advent of online shopping (for said high quality digital cameras) and mail-in photo developing has depressed prices to the point that these small brick-and-mortar establishments just can’t compete anymore. I feel like everyone loses when one of these stores goes out of business. The public loses access to a broad range of services, a place where they can go to hold a real camera in their hands before buying, and, of course, access to a knowledgeable staff, who can answer all kinds of questions.

I guess the take-home message of all of this is that if we want to keep local stores in business, we need to support them, even if they don’t have the absolute best price.


October 2006

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