Leslie has two shops -- Imagine That!, which sells photography-related products and services, and The Mecca -- which is her studio and camera collection as well as store. This is what I love about Findlay -- it's very arts-oriented, with lots of loft and retail space available, allowing specialty places like these to exist. There are many small art galleries, too. Rent in a place like Ann Arbor really stifles that kind of use.
The Mecca is the "film Mecca" where you not only see lots of cameras on display, but they are also being used. Leslie posts here what current models are loaded with film to be used.
We met up with Leslie and Lauren Bagley at Imagine That!, and had a blast at The Mecca talking about photography, film, and what has been going on lately in Ohio. Back at the end of June, there was an event called "Analog Pulse" in Cleveland which was well-attended, and we got to hear about the young people that are using film cameras, and are enchanted by Polaroids. Leslie's film fridge is bulging with Polaroid film, and it would definitely cause legions of 'roid fans to drool...
Needless to say, I was impressed by that film fridge, and I finally bought a package of the Impossible Project b&w Silvershade film for my SX-70. We had a lot of fun looking at the objects in the studio, and here are few more shots from inside The Mecca.kill it and the product line. Leslie showed us the Polaroid 8x10 processor that she bought from Cynthia Davis (of Ann Arbor, manipulated Polaroid fame), and now that the IP folks are once again making the 8x10 film, she is able to use it! Note in the last photo, the cameras that are for sale. Apparently, the Debonair plastic camera is selling quite well, and is a favorite of teenage girls!
Based on what I saw at Findlay, it is possible to make significant sales of film and paper and related supplies if one is willing to try and work with the local colleges, and tap into the "analog camera" segment of today's market. I'm not talking about becoming just another stop on the Lomography bandwagon. It takes some savvy and dedication to sell these things in today's market. If one is able to really make the film world accessible to new users (and recapture old users), by networking on the Internet, working with local groups, and "branding" appropriately, I think it could work in our local area. If brick and mortar stores continue to operate the way they have been used to all these years, then film becomes less relevant and the local clientele suffers, and the store often ends up ignoring film altogether. Making that extra bit of effort to make film stand apart from the digital world could pay off.
We had an enjoyable lunch with Leslie and Lauren at Logan's Irish Pub, and after doing a bit more shooting around Findlay, we said our goodbyes and headed off to our other stops for more photographic adventures. Thanks again to Leslie for being such a gracious host and also for the goody bags! If you are heading to Findlay, you can find The Mecca at 111 E. Sandusky St.