1-Hour Photo Shops Are The Disappearingest Business In America


If you think that video stores are the business category that has disappeared the fastest, you’re wrong. If you found an exposed roll of film in a drawer and wanted to find out what was on it, where would you take it? Most likely, your local photo store is gone, and you might have a drugstore or other business that still does a few rolls of film every week.

Let’s look at just shops that bill themselves as one-hour photo developers: analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that there are only 190 of them left across the country. That’s a 94% decrease over fifteen years ago, the final years before digital photography started to become mainstream. In the same time period, 85% of video rental stores closed. Yes, there are still some video-rental stores.

As a person who studied archives and preservation, I’m obligated to point out that while our digital photos are plentiful and portable, they are only as permanent as the cloud service we’ve uploaded them to or the hard drive they’re stored on.

Twilight of One-Hour Photo, America’s Fastest-Fading Business [Bloomberg Businessweek]