After 61 years, Ballard Camera is closing

One of Ballard’s longest-running businesses is closing. Ballard Camera on Market St. will be calling it quits on June 30th, owner Bruce Cozens told us today.

He said the photo printing part of the business had paid the bills until the explosion of digital photography. “The switchover from analog to digital was hard enough, but the economy kicked our butt,” he said. The post office in the store shut down yesterday, and odds and ends from the camera shop are for sale. Cozens said they’ll be discounting more items in the coming weeks.

Ballard Camera opened in 1948, soon after the end of WWII. Now years later, it’s surrounded by vacant storefronts: All the Kings Flags (closed), Ballard ExPress (moved) and Scream Barbershop (closed). We asked what’s next for the Cozens family. “Well, find a way to make a living,” he said. (Thanks Stan).


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chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

Well, that's a bummer. That block needs a stimulus package…

Alfred
Guest
Alfred

Got speed?

Trix
Guest
Trix

Not all of us have gone digital. I'll truly miss this place. That block does seem to have more than it's fair share of problems. Sad.

gordy
Member
gordy

I'll miss their little post office and wonder if there will be a new Market St. location for it. It was super convenient and no long lines. Are the scrapbooking things on sale too?

Kathleen Cozens
Guest

Yes the scrapbooks, stickers and all are on sale. Come check it all out.

Kathleen Cozens
Guest

For future processing. film shooters please visit our friends at 60 minute photo on Capital Hill. Our business community is very small and most labs are in the same state as we were. Protect who is left if you want to see film processing in Seattle.

Trix
Guest
Trix

Thanks, Kathleen. Yep. Shop locally.

Watergirl
Guest
Watergirl

So sorry to hear this. We'll miss you.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

We will truly miss you. My kids have a photo from every Halloween taken in front of your store, what a cool community service THAT was!!

Terry Parkhurst
Guest

About six months ago, when Michael Jay Taylor was shutting down Price Photo and selling film for pennies on the dollars, much as I love black-and-white, I balked to buy any. “Where can you get it processed, anymore?” I asked, more as a rhetorical question than one requiring an answer. Mike replied, “Ballard Photo.” Now we won't have Ballard Photo to do that anymore. Price Photo had been in the neighborhood just north of the University district and south of the Roosevelt district, since the mid-1930s. Mike's dad had bought it from the Price family in 1963. Like Ballard Camera, it too had acquired an annex of USPS (U.S. Postal Service). Losing photo shops, where people got advice on how to make their photos better, meet others aspiring to do the same, to the point of really trying to make it an art, as well as a craft, is now on the verge of being lost. Having moved up to Maple Leaf, I find the two camera-driven shops in the Northgate Mall of uneven quality. Tall's is run by a guy who, when I applied there for work late last year, didn't seem to care about my experience as a… Read more »

Mondoman
Guest
Mondoman

Thanks for the pointer; best wishes to your family's future endeavors!

m
Guest
m

This is a loss for those of us who shoot black & white film. If you haven't spent hours dodging and burning, you don't get it.

There is still Panda Labs for my contact sheets, and there is Bill at Camera Techs with whom to have intelligent equipment conversations with, but Ballard Camera's closing indicates a sign of a lost art.

/sigh

m
Guest
m

and @ Terry Parkhurst – Henri Cartier-Bresson, “waiting for the decisive moment…”

Aka
Guest
Aka

Moon photo on Greenwood still open. Kits camera was closed last time I was at Northgate.
As a traditional retouch artist, digital put me out of business,too, after 20 plus years. People are so used to photoshop that most don't even realize that hand retouching on film and prints ever even existed. Sigh.

Free Ballard 4 Real
Guest
Free Ballard 4 Real

terrible news

Kathleen Cozens
Guest

Halloween turned out to be one of our best public service things that we ever did.

I remember the first year that we took pictures and gave out stickers instead of candy. The parents were so appreciative I was really surprised.

Then 8 years ago I became a parent myself and realized the benefit of one less piece of candy in the bag ( for my sake & the kids).

Bruce, Monica and I have watched so many families grow up with halloween pictures every year.
It is amazing to see how the kids changed and the parents got so creative with the costumes.
There was everything from a bath tub and shower to candy bars and train engineers.
Halloween was such a special time for all our families.
Thank You Ballard families for making it memorable.

ninaf
Guest

*sigh*

gooner
Guest
gooner

this is too bad. i hate locally owned business not being able to make it.

i have a serious question though. did they not want to get into the digital game?

i went in to their shop 2 weeks ago looking to buy a new digital camera but they had not a single one.

i can appreciate if this was a 'philisophical' stance that they took b/c digital will never replicate what a skilled photographer can accomplish with film, but given the ease of use and sheer demand for digital, it seems that they should have embraced it. the revenue from that would have allowed them to service their true love for film.

anyway, i am sure i only have part of the story, i was just surprised they had no digital camera's for sale.

randi
Guest
randi

digital is not all that great.

pedal steel
Guest
pedal steel

Ballard had lousy service. I don't know how many times they screwed up my order. Then they had lots of attitude if you mentioned anything. Glad to see this on go

Eileen
Guest
Eileen

I'm so sad. I shoot digital but this lab did a fabulous job at printing my pro photos. I was thrilled to find someone in the neighborhood I could count on. I also suggested the lab to my photography clients. I don't know where to get my prints now?

And it was where my kids got their first passport photos! I recall the staff being very patient and helpful.

Can you move to a smaller space and survive? Plenty of empty storefronts around here.

Billy the Kid
Guest
Billy the Kid

Went in once and thought it was a used bric-a-brac shop selling 20 yr old cameras (and I'm not talking Leicas) on the side. Service was non-existent.

Another biz no one should be surprised failed. Adapt or die.

pattr
Guest
pattr

I think to blame this soley on the digital photo is completely short sighted. The fact of the matter is businesses have to adapt or they go out of business. Simple economics. The store front is dated and unwelcoming. Instead of blaming the evils of technology how about adapting? Keeping up with the times? The store front is ominous at best. Windows are covered up and not inviting. The store needed a makeover at a minimum. How about offering classes or having open houses to explain the wonders of film photography?

Yes it is sad to lose a local business. But please dont blame this all on the economy or the evils of digital photography.

Norm Gregory
Guest

Another member of a dying breed just died –
– Best to Ballard Camera's staff and future endeavors

TriXie
Guest
TriXie

Video killed the radio star. I recall a few years ago when Camera Techs had the discarded 1.3 MP Nikon DSLRs that had been used by the Seahawks photog. They were already over-expensive boat anchors. Today you can get better resolution with some cell phone cameras. I really hated giving up my Canon 1n two years ago, having been pretty much forced into a 5D by the events I was shooting. But the reverse work flow sucks. Now I spend ungodly hours of my life sitting in front of a computer, playing dweeb-tweak with Photoshop. Fine for e-mail, but it's not photography. With the demise of Ivey there are few option left, especially of you want pro quality prints. I did use Capitol Hill Photo for years, as well as Pro-Lab (RIP), Ivey (RIP) and Price (RIP). If Price had fixed their cockamamie credit card machine I would have done a lot more with them. I still have the 10 boxes of paper they were going to use for my 100 rolls of contacts five years ago. They got lazy, they're gone. The few times I shopped at Ballard the service was non-chalant at best and the prices weren't competitive.… Read more »