Sometimes the worst thing that can possibly happen happens…and you’re left with the reality that even so, something has to happen next. Retailers all around New Orleans have spent the last year facing that scenario. Some stayed shuttered, took the insurance money, and moved North. Others engaged in a battle with vicious mold spores and re-opened for business.
David Guidry, owner of Lakeside Camera Photoworks is in category two. After watching one of his two New Orleans-area stores be destroyed by Katrina’s category five fallout, he re-imagined his photo specialty business and rebuilt. “Without getting all romantic, when you own buildings and the bulk of your assets are in them, you can’t just get up and leave. It’s home and I like it and I wanted to stay,” says Guidry.
For Guidry, staying meant using insurance money to invest in all new equipment, including a half-million dollar new “digital printing press” called an Indigo from HP. Guidry says the Indigo allows Lakeside to actually invent products, from greeting cards to business graphic materials. He’s also hired digital artists to provide design, video, and professional photography services. “While we are very competitive in hardware, we’re in a commodity game there. That’s less interesting to me in terms of long-term growth. If we can start to create and produce products, that keeps us unique,” says Guidry, now convinced that customer relationships, services, and new imaging products are the future of camera retail.