The Ernsts are currently adjusting to a refurbished Agfa d.lab1 film-digital processor they purchased from AAA Imaging Solutions last spring for around $70,000 (including taxes and shipping). They’d worked with AAA before, first purchasing a D-Carrier, a bridge technology that converts a film machine to a digital machine, three years ago.
“We sold about a thousand of those D-carriers,” says Bob Noterman, President of AAA. “They were popular for a few years because a new digital machine back in 2001 or 2002 would cost you $200,000 and the D-carrier was just $25,000. Now, though, the digital machines are more affordable. I’ve known Fred and Jamie for twenty years now … every five years or so, we’ve helped upgrade them to a new piece of equipment.”
This latest upgrade is just one part of a progressive new business plan the Ernsts have put in motion this year. Their 1,200-square-foot store already has a bustling portrait studio (their reputation for creative wedding photography services were one of the things that kept them afloat when customers stopped deluging them with rolls of film), but now it’s also equipped with two digital print ordering kiosks and a beverage bar.