Sheila Franklin, who owns the store with her husband David, said dwindling business was to blame.
“In the last two years we just haven’t been able to realize any kind of a profit,” she said in a phone call yesterday. “In fact, we were really starting to lose money and decided it wasn’t going to work. We tried everything, including cutting the store in half with our kind landlord’s permission, which cut the rent in half, but it didn’t do the trick.”
Digital cameras put a real dent in their business, she said. Although Vineyard Photo did a lot of digital photo work, Ms. Franklin said it never equaled the volume they did in film.
“People have a totally different mindset with digital,” she pointed out. “They either don’t print the photos or keep them on their computer.”
Although the store had a lot of commercial accounts, most of those were lost over the last five years, Ms. Franklin said. “We did a fairly large Christmas business but it didn’t sustain us or take the place of doing film,” she added.
The Franklins bought the already established photo business shortly before Mr. Franklin retired. Before they moved from Lexington to the Vineyard, their son Ethan started up the store, which opened in November 1988, and ran it for the first five years.
His older brother Gavin has run the photo lab for 17 years, after moving to the Island from Michigan with his wife Penny and two daughters, Emily and Lauren.
“We have had such nice customers; that’s the hard part of this,” Ms. Franklin concluded.