Duluth’s First Photo Is Closing Its Doors After 28 Years
First Photo located on Duluth's Central Entrance will be closing it's doors next month. A number of reasons led to the closure, including the COVID-19 pandemic. They will stop processing film at the end of March and remain open to sell the rest of the inventory for the first couple weeks of April.
Duluth News Tribune spoke with owners Mike and Cathy Mennes recently about what lead to the closure. The digital age of cameras has led to decreased business over the years. Smartphone cameras have been improving in technology vastly over recent years and film processing has seen a huge decline. Most of the recent business in terms of developing photos has been younger people just trying out film, or getting boxes of old film they found developed.
Also online shopping has caused a problem with brick and mortar businesses such as First Photo. Owner Mike Mennes says that it was difficult to keep inventory of cameras and parts when people would shop online for them.
First Photo first opened in 1992. The shop recently moved just slightly on Central Entrance. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mennes says they lost about 30% of their business. Eventually he decided to stop applying for government small business loans as he knew it wouldn't be enough to keep his doors open.
Also, if you have left film to be developed there over the years and haven't picked it up, this is your last chance. Mennes says there's a lot of people who have forgot their developed photos over the years. After they close next month, that's it. Mike & Cathy Mennes also say they'll miss all of the people they've gotten to know over the years with the business. So if you feel like saying goodbye, now is the time.
You can read more about First Photo history and closure from The Duluth News Tribune.