Sandrian Camera, a Morristown landmark since the Roaring 20s, will fade to black

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.

Sarah Sandrian outside Sandrian Camera in Morristown, 2012. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sarah Sandrian outside Sandrian Camera in Morristown, 2012. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“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.

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! Abigail Semple, winner of the People's Choice trophy at the 2013 MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, is happy after collecting more prizes at Sandrian Camera. Barbara Fowler looks on. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Abigail Semple, winner of the People’s Choice trophy at the 2013 MorristownGreen.com Film Festival, was happy after collecting more prizes at Sandrian Camera. Barbara Fowler looked on. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“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, left, donates two camcorders for the MorristownGreen.com Film Festival to MG Editor Kevin Coughlin. Photo by Christina Branco

Myles Sandrian, left, donates two camcorders for the 2013 MorristownGreen.com Film Festival to MG Editor Kevin Coughlin. Photo by Christina Branco

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.

Local arts photographers Pam Hasegawa and Judi Benvenuti mounted an exhibition at Sandrian Camera last spring.

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.”

 

 



Comments

  1. Marcy Needle says:

    So sad to see a neighborhood institution close. Barbara has always been so supportive and helpful. From printing photos to buying frames, from help with inoperable cameras to supporting our community, Sandrian’s been here for me. When we recently had my Dad’s 80th birthday party, Sandrian staff worked with me to make a phenomenal poster from one of his baby pics. Sandrian will be missed!

  2. This is extremely sad news. Sandrian Camera was always helpful for “last minute” personalized gifts and photo printing. Staff were very friendly and they will be missed!

  3. Roberta Birmingham says:

    We are SO sorry to have Sandrian close! All the photos hanging around our house were printed there. We always found the quality of the prints to be so much better than other places. Thanks, Sandrian, for the memories. We’ll miss you.

  4. Margret Brady says:

    I always depended on them and they always came through to meet my needs. So sorry to see them go.

  5. patricia esposito says:

    So sad to hear. Will miss you and especially Barbara.

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