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The Film Drop on First Street in Willmar has been in operation for 30 years. Lynn Jeremiason, who owns the business, has announced it will close in June. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Film Drop announces it will close next month

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WILLMAR -- Lynn Jeremiason, owner of The Film Drop, has announced he will be closing the store at 912 First St. S. on June 3. Jeremiason and his wife have owned and operated the business for the past 30 years. A closure noticed was posted on the door on Monday.

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He said economic conditions, the loss of a major contract and changes in the photographic industry led him to the decision to close.

"Everybody has been going through industry changes,'' Jeremiason said Tuesday. "We went from film processing to digital and we have done a tremendous amount of digital printing.''

But photography has turned into a commodity where people can print their own digital photos for pennies a print at places like drugstores and supermarkets.

"We did a tremendous amount of studio photography in the '80s, '90s and early 2000s, but starting in 2003 or 2004 the digital single-lens reflex camera got so good that so many people felt comfortable with the pictures they were taking themselves,'' he said.

"Their cameras are generally pretty good,'' he continued. "Their pictures are 80 percent as good as ours, but they're pretty good. Every professional photographer is suffering because of that.''

Jeremiason said he became interested in the business after deciding he did not want to farm and he moved to Minneapolis where he got a job mixing Kodachrome chemistry at Paco of Minneapolis in 1972.

In 1980, they searched for a location to start their own business and looked at cities in Wisconsin, Iowa and southern and west central Minnesota before selecting Willmar. Jeremiason credits Carole Vennerstrom, former Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce president, with persuading them to move to Willmar.

The business started in 1981 where Print Masters is located on South First Street. In 1986, The Film Drop built the building where the business is now located. The business started as a 6-hour lab and turned into a 1-hour lab. About a month ago, the business stopped processing film altogether.

"We came in as a mom and pop team, and we got as high as 15 employees. Today we're down to 5 besides my wife and I that will be displaced,'' he said.

Jeremiason said the business thrived for 30 years and he said the community has been really good to them.

"And we felt we were a vital part of the community, but we're just not necessary anymore,'' he said. "We won six national awards for excellence and quality in service from Kodak. It's been a good time.''

Jeremiason said he will probably continue to work with retouching photos and scanning photos and slides and can continue to be reached through the company's website, filmdrop.com and through email.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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