True confession: Even with photography being a personal passion of mine, I had not been inside of a photo retail business in years. Just like you, I wish I was more consistent with printing, archiving and sharing my photos and creating artistic projects with them.
I recently made a trip to Bourbon Country (Derby hats, anyone?) in historic Louisville, Kentucky to visit The Print Refinery™. I grew up in Cincinnati, not too far away, so the horse farms and historic charm of the homes and boulevards were heartwarming! The first thing I noticed when walking into the store was how open and collaborative the PR team was with two customers, one obviously a new customer interested in a cool merchandising display, and another a repeat customer who was happily dropping off a box of treasured family photos to be digitized. The creative energy was felt immediately!
The store layout just invites you in to create. Project worktables are spread throughout the space – designed to encourage collaboration. PR team members sit and collaborate with guests by spreading large print projects or hundreds of family home movies out on the tables. It’s a great atmosphere for discussing a commercial signage project or just getting a few prints made from your phone.
PR’s command of retail merchandising is on point and the branding is fresh and modern. For consumers today, it’s all about the experience and personalization in how they create products that express their own style and PR taps into this so well. Photography is an incredibly meaningful way to treasure moments, especially when you can get help from a professional! Yet creating photographic and print projects online just don’t offer the same experience. There is something so compelling about a business that becomes a local community hub and leaves a lasting impression with each and every guest.
Born of the IPI Member Network, the leading trade organization in the photo + print industry, The Print Refinery™ (PR) is a vibrant retail destination and merchandising masterpiece serving passion and professional projects across commercial printing, digital photography, and DIY channels. PR was developed to breathe new life into the creative print market with a unique brick and mortar experience. PR builds a local community with an in-store experience that inspires the creative use of photographs, imagery and video through education and collaboration. They explore unique and limitless print and photo solutions for archiving, décor and gift giving. PR is equally dedicated to serving the high demand for commercial printing and B2B graphic solutions – a key aspect that brings lucrative margins and increased revenue.
I enjoyed touring the original concept location in Louisville, owned by Shari and T.K. Broecker. T.K. graciously shared his retailer perspective with me while I got hands on with the photo products and services.
“The tools and support from The Print Refinery™ development team make it easy for us to focus on what we do best – interact with guests and create masterpieces.”
Owners of The Print Refinery™ licensed businesses, like T.K., also appreciate the comprehensive marketing benefits, team training and overall business support they receive as part of ownership. He valued this as a huge time saving for those without extensive marketing experience. Signature products and programs such as the “Make it. Share it. Love it.” Gallery Wall system and The Gather Box professional archiving kit really connect with photo lovers and family historians.
I know all about wearing too many hats while running a successful independent business. Early in my career, I owned an art gallery where I quickly discovered just how many hats an independent business owner wears. Imagine the constant challenges to scale and grow! The right tools, resources, and partners make all the difference in building a successful business.
A supportive community is everything for retailers in this artistic maker market and finding an innovative brand with a team that is passionate about what they do – that’s a business partner worth exploring! As a retailer in today’s competitive business and social marketing landscape; the benefits of an integrated, brand building partner are invaluable for growth.
I continue to be most impressed with this model! The Print Refinery™ is an exceptional opportunity for anyone who wants to turn their creative passion into a profitable business. (Derby) hats off to a great concept!
About GINGER HARTFORD
STRATEGIC MARKETING, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, ART & DESIGN LEADER
As a career veteran of the art and design industries formerly with Larson-Juhl, a global Berkshire Hathaway Company, Ginger is recognized as a highly accomplished strategic marketing and business development leader in the BUSINESS OF DESIGN.
As a patented inventor of design technology, she also has keen insight into emerging visualization tools and social media trends. Ginger’s extensive experience includes business development, product design, integrated marketing and branding with leading national retailers, international online art marketplaces, the designer community and major channel brands across home furnishings, art & framing, and photography.