Strategy Session: For the Rausch Family, It’s All About Having Fun

Strategy Session: For the Rausch Family, It’s All About Having Fun


The Rausch family has an amazing history in the photo and hobby businesses.

Don Rauch started the dream when he opened his first store in 1954. He made sure photo and hobby products were side by side, because they both represented the fun people could have—from taking pictures to building models and train sets.

Don continually reinvested in his store as he brought up his five kids, including Steve and Mike. When I asked what they talked about around the dinner table, Mike said, “Anything but the business!”

Steve and Mike made their way through college; one as a chemist, the other a microbiologist. However, those professions didn’t seem to have the fun factor that their dad’s store offered. So, they joined their dad at Colonial and caught the bug. DIR-DOY-2022-Trophy-Colonial-Rausch-family

“We’d wake up on Saturday morning and ask our dad if we could go down to the store,” Mike recalled, “ but we didn’t get paid in dollars.” They’d go home with a model or a train from the other side of the store, while at the same time learning the business inside and out.

Steve’s son Jacob is the next generation of Colonial leadership. He is bringing the store and their customers an entirely new kind of experience. When I asked whether their customers are primarily older men shooting their DSLRs, Jacob said that there’s a whole new generation of customers who are crazy about shooting film and creating content on digital cameras.

“Kids from high school to people my age (early 30s) are having an entirely new experience creating memories,” Jacob explained.

As each new generation moves in to run Colonial Photo & Hobby, there’s a renewed enthusiasm around products and technology as well as creating new kinds of content and images to preserve memories.

Rausch Family Common Attributes

While trying to identify the common thread among the three generations of Rauschs at Colonial Photo & Hobby, it actually becomes quite obvious. . . . They’re all having fun.

They all love spending time with their customers. Further, the combination of photo and hobby products complement each other in so many ways. The Rauschs love to come to work each day, and they continue to evolve with new leadership and new ideas. Colonial-Logo-blue-w-shadow

“Our customers share their memories with us,” said Mike. “They’re proud of what they accomplish, and we’re proud to be able to bring enjoyment into their lives. We just love coming to work. When Steve says he wants to take the day off or has something to do, I’m the first one to say, ‘go ahead. I’ll go to the store!’”

Moreover, with Jacob now at the helm, it’s clear that Colonial Photo & Hobby will continue to identify new and exciting ways for the next generation of millennials and gen Zers to create unique kinds of memories of their own.

Steve, Mike and Jacob Rausch continue to carry on the tradition that Don Rausch started almost 70 years ago. And they’re still having fun. And we’re proud to name them our 2022 Dealer of the Year.