HERMISTON - A move from one side of town to the other resulted in a big expansion for a little photo shop.
60 Minute Photo is now settled into new quarters in the old Starrett's Decor Center on Highway 395 north of downtown, leaving behind the tiny storefront it's occupied since Hermiston Plaza was completed 23 years ago.
"It's exciting," said 60 Minute Photo owner Tammy James. "We were ready for the move."
With careful planning - and the help of 35 friends who showed up to schlep boxes - James and her staff successfully moved the whole operation to its new home in just one day. Using a delivery truck borrowed from Wilcox Furniture, they made the move in three trips. The store closed at 4 p.m. last Saturday, and was open for business at 9 a.m. the following Monday.
Moving a business can be a bit risky, James said. You worry about whether your customers will follow you to your new location, or if they'll find someplace else to shop. To encourage customer loyalty, James printed up discount coupons that said "thank you for moving with us" and included information about the new store. She put up signs at the old location directing customers to the new one. And to make the new place more visible to people driving by, she painted it fire-engine red.
"That's the scariest part of the move," she said. "You hope your customers find you."
James and her husband David bought the business four years ago, after she'd put in 17 years as an employee. The shop offers photo finishing and a portrait studio as well as custom framing and scrapbook supplies and classes. The move allowed the shop to more than double its retail floor space, not only because its new home is bigger, but because there's a whole basement that can be used for storage space, James said.
With the expansion comes some fancier digital photo equipment, a second portrait studio and extra classroom space. The shop employs nine people, including four who are full time, and James said as the business continues to grow she'd like to expand the staff as well.