Fujifilm Digital Imaging Service member Neil McConnell, owner of Pillbox Pharmacy, opens a brand new photo retail and studio outlet in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Pharmacist Neil McConnell, his brother Justin and his brother’s wife Sabrina recently opened his second FDIS branded photo retail store in Enniskillen Co. Fermanagh. He installed a brand new Fujifilm DL650 Drylab, a 44” Epson 9890 wide format printer and three Fujifilm DPC10 Imagine kiosks. DISclosure* visited the store and had a chat with Neil about his first lab in his pharmacy in Irvinestown and how this has led him to expand with a specialist photo outlet in Enniskillen.
How long have you run the pharmacy in Irvinestown?
I bought the pharmacy in November 2003 and did a shop refit and rebranded it as PillBox Pharmacy.
What made you buy your first lab there?
When I 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 and 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” 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.
What made you look at a specialist photo retail shop & studio in Enniskillen?
Enniskillen is town of some 15,000 people. 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 this idea for a couple of years but due to time constraints and the recession I was hesitant about going ahead.
How did Justin & Sabrina get involved?
I was still eager to go after a store in town and I was speaking to my brother Justin and his wife Sabrina about it. They said they would be interested in a partnership combining our efforts and giving it a go. Justin and Sabrina are both estate agents and so with their knowledge of Enniskillen along with 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.
Justin and Sabrina had a great vision for what we could offer from the store. They were very focused in the store layout, gifting services and studio. Now they manage the day to day running of the store.
How did Jerry get involved?
Jerry Donnelly got involved after we had advertised for a studio photo assistant. He was actually once our teacher in the local school. Luckily for us Jerry is an expert in Adobe Photoshop and even now still lectures on using it! We have a seemingly endless market for restoration work and Jerry’s expertise in this area is instrumental to its success within the overall business.
What is your vision for the new business?
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 we want to really push this service hard to get this up and going. There are a lot of local professional photographers in the area and we must let them know that we are high quality professional store that they can trust with their printing needs. There is a lot more growth potential just waiting for us to tap into it.
*DISclosure is the e-newsletter for the Fujifilm Digital Imaging Service group
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