Snappy Photo to shut its doors

The age of digital cameras and increasing competition from
discount photo labs have forced the closure of Snappy Photo, a
member of the local business community for 20 years.
Gilroy – The age of digital cameras and increasing competition from discount photo labs have forced the closure of Snappy Photo, a member of the local business community for 20 years.

“We’re sorry to see the business close, but there’s not much choice,” owner Jim Johancen said. The store will permanently shut its doors to the public at the end of the day on Jan. 29.

Johancen, 48, said the business has suffered most from the advent of digital cameras, which allow modern consumers to manipulate and print photos from home computers.

“More and more do it themselves and don’t need our help anymore,” he said. He also believes Costco, which offers an assortment of printing services, also siphoned off some “higher-end clientele” in recent years.

Specialty services such as computer imaging, printmaking from digital cameras, photo restoration, and transferring old movies to videotape or DVD were the reason Snappy held out for 20 years, according to Johancen.

“It just takes thousands and thousands of that type of customer, and it’s not something that you do everyday,” he explained.

Snappy Photo opened 20 years ago in the Nob Hill shopping center, before moving to its First Street location seven years ago. Johancen also had a store 10th Street location that closed 10 years ago.

At the height of its success, the store had four locations – two in Gilroy and one each in Morgan Hill and Salinas, Johancen’s hometown.

While disappointed in having to close the business, Johancen said he wouldn’t miss the daily commute.

Johancen’s next business venture will involve opening a series of Maui Tacos. He said he bought the franchise rights for Monterey County, which allows him to build four restaurants in the area. The first restaurant will open April 1 in Salinas.

“I wanted to thank the City of Gilroy for their loyal support in the last 20 years,” Johancen said. “It’s been a great business in a great town. I certainly will miss a lot of the customers.”

Serdar Tumgoren covers City Hall for The Dispatch. Reach him at 847-7109, or at [email protected]

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