Musings on our move

About seven months ago, we finally admitted that we'd outgrown our space here on Spring Garden Road. If we were to grow the business, we needed to make a radical change.

Any of you who have been through our building know what I mean—our production is spread out over three very disjointed floors, narrow hallways, and small rooms. Our second floor has become so jammed with work that it's not always easy to find any flat surface to work on. Our staff room diminished to a table and microwave in the corner of our mounting department. The idea of all our production being on one floor? Heaven.

The search for a new space began early in the New Year. We settled on a location on Brownlow Avenue, just off Burnside Drive in Dartmouth. It would require some work (a lot, as it turns out!) to customize, but a deal was struck and a new lab's home was found.

Inside our new home in Burnside. (Before the reno!)

But then, we realized that once we moved our lab to Dartmouth, the Spring Garden Road building would be 75% empty. We debated whether or not we should just pick up and move everything—including our retail store—to Dartmouth. But Atlantic Photo Supply has been on Spring Garden Road for 69 of the 70 years it’s been in business. I have a fond attachment to the downtown, and none of us could bear leaving. So we decided to expand even more—with a new retail store in Dartmouth to complement the new lab, while keeping a renewed (and more suitable!) presence in the Spring Garden Road neighbourhood.

Overlooking the Dresden Row Market at City Centre AtlanticWe found the perfect spot in City Centre Atlantic, otherwise known as Dresden Row Market, home of Pete’s Frootique. Sitting in my office, I can look out the window and almost touch the building we are moving to. Heck, I don’t even have to change parking spots. We'll have access to space for events and activities, too, as well as a brand new store. We're very excited.

Here we are in late June and it’s all starting to move in to high gear now. Over the weekend starting July 13—that’s a Friday, by the way—we will move our lab to Dartmouth. By the following Tuesday (July 17), we expect to be back in full production without much disruption to our customers. Once we get the new lab operational, we'll work on getting the new Dartmouth retail store set up as well. One thing at a time!

A couple of weeks after that, Friday July 27, we will close the store on Spring Garden Road to give us the chance to move all our inventory to our new store at Dresden Row Market and will re-open the next morning, July 28.

Our new store downtown will be just that: all new. Chris Feargrieve at Occam Design/Build has designed a new store for us that incorporates what we love about the old store, with a fresh updated look including new wood cabinetry and inviting new colors.

While our primary lab will move to Dartmouth, we've decided to put a small lab in the Halifax store as well. We are taking delivery of a new Fuji DL600 lab that will give us printing capability of up to 11x17 in size. This state-of-the-art equipment uses a fraction of the electricity of what we have now, with no harsh chemistry and with less space. The quality is amazing!

After the new store opens downtown, we will set about moving the fixtures from our old Spring Garden Road store to Dartmouth. Rather than send them to the landfill, we'll do our best to re-purpose the showcases and cabinets at our Dartmouth store. Once they’ve been given a facelift, we’ll be ready to open our new store in Dartmouth sometime around mid-August.

Initially, our lab will be in Dartmouth but our store will be in Halifax. Customers will need to pick up prints and enlargements at the Halifax store. Once the Dartmouth store opens, customers will have a choice to pick up prints at whichever location is most convenient.

The storefront at 202 Brownlow in Burnside.

We’re looking forward to it. Dartmouth is a whole new market for us and I can’t count how many people have expressed excitement of having the opportunity to shop with us without having to come downtown. It's a great compromise: we're expanding, and we'll continue to serve our classic neighbourhood at the same time.

I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights and long days in preparation for this. I must admit to a little apprehension.  I’ve been working out of this building for a long time now and despite all the drawbacks of working in a building more than 100 years old, I'll miss it. But I have faith that our customers will find us, since we're just around the corner from where we've always been.

Stay tuned! We’ll try and keep you as informed as we can. Look for our new store in Dresden Row Market in about a month and Dartmouth, Here We Come!