When was the last time you developed a photo, rented a DVD from a brick-and-mortar store, or held a newspaper in your hands?
Between technology (i.e. convenience) and lower-priced options, how are some businesses in these so-called “dinosaur” industries surviving?
“The ones that didn’t evolve are definitely gone,” says Jason Hamelin of the photofinishing industry. Hamelin is the manager/co-owner of The Camera Shop in downtown Traverse City. Between the prevalence of digital devices, online photo-sharing platforms and Facebook, people aren’t developing photos like they used to.
Hamelin witnesses the evolution on a daily basis -- production of small prints (under 8 x 10) is down 95 percent in the last ten years. But he still sees good business in developing large prints for customers.
“We saw the trend back in 2008 and brought in a large-format printer,” Hamelin says.
The Camera Shop still offers traditional film processing and, though Hamelin says he loses money on processing, he does it because he loves film and wants to keep it priced low, especially for younger photographers. “I want them to shoot with film.”
In a list published last year by industry research firm IBISWorld, ten American industries were identified as being on “deathwatch,” including photofinishing, appliance repair, video rental and newspaper publishing.
The “dying industries list” was based on industries that have seen sharp revenue declines, a fall in industry participants and a declining life cycle stage between 2002 and 2012.
Revenues for DVD, game and video rental stores are projected to drop to $2.80 billion by 2017, compared to $5.89 billion last year, as more and more consumers switch to streaming, video on demand and downloading media.
The traditional video rental store is also facing new competition from rental kiosks, such as Redbox (found locally at Meijer and Walgreens). Market analysts say movie rental kiosks now comprise 50 percent of all U.S. video rentals (including online and on-demand).
The local Family Video representative declined comment for this story.
Jeff Owens owns Max’s Service, a major appliance dealer and service center, in downtown Traverse City. He sees a few different issues when it comes to the business of appliance repair – but none is a slowdown in business.
“We are overwhelmingly busy, mostly because we have struggled to find experienced service technicians,” Owens says.
As far as the “buy rather than repair” mindset due to price, Owens says something like a microwave may not be economical to fix these days given options on the market. As far as the major appliances he deals in? The prices just don’t inflate the way other items, such as cars, do, but they also may not last as long as they used to.
So what about that newspaper that lands (or not) on your porch every morning? The newspaper industry has seen revenue decline at an annual rate of 6.4 percent over the past 10 years, primarily due to web-based media – like The Ticker! (NOTE: The Ticker also publishes the Traverse City Business News, the region’s monthly business journal, which continues to see growth in readership and advertising revenue).
Do you still frequent “dinosaur” businesses? Share your stories below.