ADDRESS: 133 SW 2nd St, Corvallis, OR
OWNER: Dan Wise
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 6 months
WHAT THEY SELL: Photo printing services, including archival and large format printing, video transfers, film processing, high quality negative, slide and picture scanning and passport and visa photos
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: High-quality photo printing and personalized service that can’t be matched on-line or at big-box stores
“Photography can be complicated but for most it is really about saving memories and having a good time doing it,” explains Dan Wise, owner of one of Corvallis’s newest downtown businesses. And there’s no reason that the enjoyment should stop once you’ve taken the photos. Wise Photo Printing makes it fun to format and print your photos—just the way you want them. On-the-spot customer service is what Dan provides so well, along with a wide array of specialty printing services. Next time you’re strolling down 2nd Street, stop in at Dan’s shop, located inside Mona Lisa’s Custom Framing, which is nestled between Magenta and the Peacock.
Dan, when and why did you decide to start your business? I had done some photography earlier in life, but then I did landscaping for 25 years. It wasn’t until I went back to college and got a journalism degree that I got back into photography. I was editor of the school paper at LBCC for a year, and that’s when I got into digital photography. From there, I worked at Oregon Camera for five years. When they went out of business last year, I had the opportunity to buy their photo printing equipment, so everything here in my shop came from Oregon Camera. Digital photography has really improved over the years, to the point where the quality is fantastic.
Tell us more about your business. What I offer is a service—printing quality photos. I have two self-service kiosks that allow people to print their own photos, and I’m right here, ready to walk them through the process if they need it. We do archival prints on a variety of papers, large format printing, scanning of negatives, and printing on canvas, and I have state-of-the-art software for doing color corrections and restorations of old photos. We also transfer recorded video, such as DVD and VHS, to digital format through Paul Rentz, former owner of Rush Hour Photo. We can also transfer 8mm and 16mm film to DVD. We do a lot of business taking passport and visa photos of all sizes. If you type in “passports Corvallis” on the Internet, my website pops up.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? It’s a great opportunity to let people know I’m here and to have the extra publicity.
What does your business do better than anyone else? I provide personal attention to my customers that they just can’t get on-line or at larger stores. Wise Photo Printing can match the prices of many of the on-line services, especially for larger prints. Those services can’t offer the one-on-one attention that I can, and that makes all the difference. I’m here all the time, ready to help people who may have trouble with the photo printing machines they’ve tried at larger stores. The customer can sit here and see what the printed photo will look like, and I can help them make any adjustments needed to produce a high quality print.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? The main challenge is getting people to know my business is here. Advertising is quite expensive, and it’s difficult to know what works. Getting my name out there is a challenge, which is one of the reasons I insisted on having a storefront with visibility.
What is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for local independents? I’m a strong believer in locally owned independent businesses, and I really like being in downtown Corvallis. It’s an interesting place. But suppliers want to sell things by the pallet-load, and small independent businesses can’t afford that. If we don’t keep the downtown thriving, then we’ll have a monoculture of big-box stores. We need to make sure that our locally owned downtown stores continue to have a niche—businesses that draw people downtown for products and services customers can’t get elsewhere. Otherwise, the future is going to be tough.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you? I like being downtown, and I really like helping people. I enjoy photography. It keeps me busy and interested. I’ve never really owned my own businesses, so this is a new experience.
What is your relationship to the community? What organizations do you support or participate in? spent a lot of time volunteering with 4-H when my daughters were younger. Currently, I’m a member of the Photo Arts Guild, and I help out with their Camera Obscura booth at da Vinci Days. I’m also a member The Arts Center and of CIBA. I’ve donated gift certificates to a number of organizations, and I gave a prize for the best photo in an LBCC fine arts competition.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business.
Quality and service are very important to me, and I hope that translates into a great experience transforming your photos.
(Interview and article by Annette Mills – July 7, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).