I have two labs I use that are thriving...they get orders from all over the world. One supports this forum (Blue Moon). I think both are successful because they do excellent work, but they also really take care of their customers. Customer service is huge. I also think that as any kind of business owner, you do have to pay attention to what is happening around you and adapt. Sorry to hear about labs closing, but I wonder if it has anything to do with how much people shoot film... We are the people that keep film alive!
I guess I forgot to comment on the article...that's what the post is about (oops)... It is sad for her to close her lab, but I think the end of the era is truly the end of her era, not the end for all of us. Digital has brought about huge changes, but not the end. I may be Pollyanna on this, but I truly believe we are in control of keeping film alive. And, I know we (those of us shooting film) are not the "standard" or "average" for what is happening in the photo industry, but we are artists living the dream in my opinion because film is truly beautiful.
I bought and sell 6 Leicas when I was at 20s. Whenever I bought one , I had had no money for film. I have still a Leica and film money but now there is no lab around or cheap quality and expensive. I am taking my last color pictures. I will switch to entire BW , Kodak + HC110 B and FP4 + Pyrocat. This solution is even more expensive but I will get real negs. May be , for 120 and Velvia 50 , Byzantine Mosaic Series , I will send the slides to Germany.
My other exit strategy is using a Bolex and slide film and tiny neg size , shot one by one.
This is the best option. May be I can use a tele , shot a series horizontal , overlap each other and stitch at computer. I want elegantly saturated pictures. May be I can do BW Street also.
If the film chemical prices increases and selection drops ,and no more cheap processing and scan with HQ , I believe 16 or 8 mm cameras will be seen more. At least cinema people have more optiions with ICCs.
I have a couple Minolta 16's and enough film in the fridge to expose a roll a week for 2 years. The 16's are fun.
A well worded intro, and photographs showing morsels of the gone.
It seems a lot of these places are succumbing to the huge increase in real estate values over the last decade or two. When their leases expire, or their owners figure out how much the land is worth, they are gone. There is a lot more money to be made in selling a bunch of condos than processing a bunch of film. Sad to say.
I've never been to Capitol Hill Photo. I've used Moon Photo and Panda, and other than that I've either been processing my film myself or sending it out of state. There simply is no color LF processing in Washington state.
From reading the article, the lab was hanging on by its fingernails for quite some time. It was getting by without having to pay rent, and that's pretty significant. The manager tried to adjust by adding a scanner, but that wasn't enough and the margins were too thin. Now the building is being demolished, and there's nowhere for the business or the machines to go.