Blackpool man expands photo printing business amid lockdown
John Ormston, 52, opened Kodak Express and Cable Express in Highfield Road to offer a range of prints, posters, canvases and photo gifts in-store and online.
And despite the year of trade stoppage thanks to the closures, John’s business is doing well and he has commissioned Blackpool graffiti artist Seca One to do an eye-catching mural on his shop.
John’s older brother, Matthew, suffered brain damage at birth and needed treatment, but loved taking pictures. When he passed away in 2016, John was looking for a place to have some pictures printed and realized there were few places in the area.
He did some research and discovered that Kodak Express Digital Solutions was one of the largest such companies in the world, but with little presence in the Northwest.
He secured a license and eventually found premises in Highfield Road near busy shops and the business opened just before the pandemic hit.
John, 52, who went to Highfield High School, said: ‘My brother loved having his picture taken and loved taking pictures of wildlife.
“After my mother died, I was looking for a place to have some pictures printed and also to look at different photo gifts as keepsakes, and saw that Kodak had over 30,000 stores worldwide but not here.
“In mid-2019 the Megabet bookmakers on Highfield and Orchard Avenue were closing and on lease.
“It seemed like the perfect place.”
John also noticed that there were few stores still carrying the full range of TV, computer and audio cables and mobile phone cables. So he created the second part of his Cable Express business to cater to this market.
“I spent a lot of time talking to manufacturers to get items from source so I could keep prices low to compete with internet sellers, some items I sell 40% cheaper than online stores.
“I have invested up to £100,000 in digital and photographic equipment and can print almost anything customers want. The canvases are very popular and the framed photos.
John, who runs to the store with his friend Nick Tobin, added: “It’s a very thriving part of Blackpool and I hope people will come along while they visit the other stores. The mural is fantastic, it’s an eye catcher and I hope it brightens up the area.
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