When Sandrian Camera opened in Morristown, Charles Lindbergh and Babe Ruth were national heroes and talking movies were a novelty.
Talkies are here to stay. But Sandrian, sadly, is about to go the way of Lucky Lindy and the Bambino.
“After more than 86 years in business we are throwing in the towel,” Peter Sandrian told customers via email on Thursday night.
“I have always said that if we can’t continue to serve our customers with the courtesy and care they deserve, we would stop; we can’t afford to continue…,” said the message from Peter and Kathy Sandrian.
The family’s other store in Clinton also will be closing.
Reached at home on Thursday, Kathy was too emotional to talk.
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Peter, who took over the business from his immigrant father, said that “while it’s sad …the good part” for shoppers will be a liquidation sale with great deals.
“We are grateful for the 86 years of serving you, and for the support we have received from our community. We are sorry to go, but make it YOUR jackpot!” Peter wrote.
“Think of it — you won’t be able to just run down to Sandrian’s any more for your photographic needs. It will be more expensive later somewhere else. Come on down NOW, before it’s gone….If we have it, it’s on sale.”
Sandrian Camera, a supporter of the MorristownGreen.com Film Festival since 2010, gamely soldiered on after digital photography, home printers and mobile phone cameras drastically reduced the market for traditional photo printing services over the last 15 years.
Shifting its focus, Sandrian tried to embrace the new technology by offering videotape- and film transfers to digital, prints of digital photos and backups of digital photo collections, and coffee table books from digital snapshots.
The shops could print images on all sorts of novelty items, and also could produce enormous pictures and fine quality prints for art exhibitions.
Myles Sandrian, representing the family’s third generation in the business, told MG in 2010 that the challenge was “adapting to the changes in the technology and being willing to change. That’s the hardest part.”
Friendly service was central to the business.
“We really care about our customers,” Myles’ sister Sarah said during that same interview.
Her grandfather emigrated from Turkey and established the first Sandrian shop about a block from its present South Street location, she said.
Sandrian Camera began as a portrait shop, said employee Barbara Fowler.
“I’ve been there a long time,” Barbara said. “I’ve enjoyed the people. It’s been my social existence.”