An iconic Valley photo lab will continue its tradition of providing custom finishing and photo restoration under a new owner in its longtime location.
Phoenix Photo Lab, formerly Colormark, a photography business that began under renowned Arizona photographer Robert Markow following his service in World War II, has been re-opened by Dieter Schaefer with Paul Scotti as general manager, who formerly worked as Colormark’s director of operations.
Phoenix Photo Lab at 2212 E. McDowell Road, just east of State Route 51, opened for business this week, soon after Schaefer signed the lease with Markow’s widow, Bea Markow, who wanted to see the business continue.
The new managers of the business see the bigger picture possibilities by running a mom-and-pop operation they plan to continue with the customer care and quality that Colormark was known for. The shop’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“I saw this as a good opportunity for us to jump in and fill a niche market,” said Schaefer, who was an accountant but left the corporate world after 25 years to turn his photography hobby into a business with Moto Photo and now Phoenix Photo Lab. “A lot of people who came here to have custom photo work done were unhappy to see it close. We plan to continue the business with the customer care, quality and professionalism that it is known for. We want to continue serving the customers who have been familiar with the business and need our services.”
Schaefer, who has owned Moto Photo in Scottsdale for three and a half years, and Scotti bring more than 25 years of photo finishing, custom lab and restoration experience to the facility, which has sat idle since Colormark closed in April 2011. Robert Markow, the lab’s original owner, died at age 91 in 2009, and is considered the “Dean of Arizona Photographers.” His son, Paul Markow, continues to operate a high-end photo studio on the property.
Robert Markow had expanded the business at the current McDowell Road location in the late 1960s when Colormark was the seventh-largest Polaroid film dealer in the country.
Colormark, which had been under the ownership of Massachusetts-based Liska Imaging since 2006, served about 2,000 customers including many from the East Valley but fell victim in recent years to big-box retailers, advancing technology with digital imaging and a slow economy.
However, in what Schaefer described as a “precarious economy,” he and Scotti believe there is a market to serve as a mom-and-pop operation without the corporate red tape as they hope to get many of those customers back.
The large Chromira prints (20 by 30 inches), photo restoration work, Photoshop images, canvas prints, stretched canvas and memorial collages that customers desire for funeral services of a loved one are among some of the services Phoenix Photo Lab will provide.
Scotti also is setting up a Facebook page for Phoenix Photo Lab so Colormark’s fans can take notice. The business also has a website, www.phoenixphotolab.com, and can be reached at (602) 466-1303.
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