Fujifilm’s FDIS inspires second business opening
Specialist photo retailer and pharmacist Neil McConnell tells us how becoming a successful member of Fujifilm’s Digital Imaging Service (FDIS) inspired him, brother Justin and sister-in-law Sabrina to open a second branded store in Enniskillen, Ireland
“We’ve recently installed a brand new Fujifilm DL650 Drylab, a 44-inch Epson 9890 wide format printer and three Fujifilm DPC10 Imagine kiosks in our new specialist photo retail shop and studio in Enniskillen, a town of 15,000 people. This expands a business I began in November 2003, when I bought and rebranded the PillBox Pharmacy.
When I first opened the pharmacy I bought a Fujifilm PrintPix CX-550 for passport photos. A year later I bought a Kodak instant print kiosk. This got me interested in photography myself, so then I was looking for a quality minilab. I knew that I didn’t want a wet lab as these were too expensive to buy and to run. So, in September 2009 I purchased the Fujifilm DL410 Drylab, a 24-inch Epson 7880 wide format printer and a Fujifilm DPC6 Smartpix kiosk. As time went on I realised that I needed a better quality lab with multiple load options and so in June 2012 I upgraded to the Fujifilm DL450 Drylab.
I am an active member of the Enniskillen Photographic Society and I realised that there was a need for a high quality photo shop in the town. Even though I offer this service just 15 minutes away in Irvinestown, it was clear to me that people wanted their photo services on the doorstep and did not want to travel. I had been toying with the idea for a couple of years but due to time constraints and the recession I was hesitant about going ahead.
After speaking to my brother Justin and his wife Sabrina about it, they said they would be interested in a partnership and giving it a go. They’re both estate agents by trade, and so with their knowledge of Enniskillen’s people and sales skills we were confident that a specialist photo retail and studio shop would be a great success. This was at the beginning of September 2013 and by the end of that month we had a fantastic shop unit. Happily they both had a great vision for what we could offer from the store. And were very focused on the store layout, gifting services and studio. Now they manage the store’s day-to-day running and we even have a resident photographic expert in Jerry Donnelly, once our teacher in the local school and now something of a Photoshop whizz. We have a seemingly endless market for restoring customers’ old photos and Jerry’s expertise in this area is instrumental to its success within the overall business.
Looking ahead, once we get the time we want to market all of our services by means of Facebook and a website. It’s currently word of mouth and leaflets. There are a number of new services we want to introduce and especially tap into the mobile phone market for photo printing and gifting. We also put in a portrait photo studio and so this is a service that we really want to push hard to get it up and running. There are a lot of local professional photographers in the area, and we need to t let them know that we are a high quality professional store that they can trust with their printing needs. There is a lot more growth potential – all we have to do is tap into it!”
Interviewed by Peter Wigington for FDIS DISclosure e-newsletter
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