University Camera, a fixture in downtown Iowa City, Iowa, will close by April 15, 2017. Longtime industry figure Roger Christian announced retirement plans for him and his wife, Chris, after particularly slow sales in October reinforced his belief the time had come to close the longstanding business (established in 1970). Christian, who had worked in camera stores since 1968, bought the store in 1984 and was very active in the IPI and PRO buying groups, and with Photo Marketing Association.
Christian says declining traffic over the past five years in the college town brought him to the conclusion Iowa City wasn’t going to support a “big-city” style camera store. The closure will leave the state of Iowa with just nine camera stores, and soon to be eight with the imminent closure of Everything Photography in Dubuque, according to KWWL.
“Over the course of the years, we have worked very hard to provide a big city camera store experience in 1,000 square feet, and for the most part we’ve been successful,” Christian told The Cedar Rapids Gazette. “I’d love to have the business continue, but we are a small retailer and we can’t force people to come in here if they can find a better, cheaper or more efficient way to buy stuff.”
The 71-year-old Christian, who had triple-bypass surgery last January, is looking forward to an active retirement.