Fred and Jamie Ernst, Co-ownwers, Quick as a Flash, Vacaville, CA
Considering that a third of the nation’s specialty camera stores have been shuttered in the last five years, running a successful digital imaging shop today is already proof of a strong survival instinct. But Fred and Jamie Ernst, the married owners of the Quick as a Flash in Vacaville, California, have survived more than most. Fred is 86 years old, Jamie, 80. Their 19-year-old business is the only one of six photo specialty shops in Solano County to have kept its doors open. Such dogged success during the film-to-digital industry transition could very well be due to the fact that the Ernsts have been through professional shakedowns before, more than once.
“I started off in the printing and copying business in Oakland back in the 1950’s,” says Fred. “Every time new technology came out, the market would change radically and I’d get wiped out. I’ve learned to stay open to a total makeover of my business every few years.”