Imaging Depot -- The store for the images after the camera is bought

Sep 24 2010 - 5:30pm

Images

(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The Imaging Depot is designed to also help customers with processing their electronic images.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The Imaging Depot is designed to also help customers with processing their electronic images.

OGDEN -- An old name in photography is bringing a new spin to the traditional camera shop.

On Wednesday, Mat Inkley and his father Ron, founder of the Inkley camera stores, opened the doors to The Imaging Depot, 2501 Grant Ave.

The store, which is housed in the old Greyhound building downtown, is a full-service photo printing and camera store. But it's the images themselves that get most of the attention at this shop.

"Our focus is what to do after the camera is bought," Ron said. "We sell cameras, but their real value is after the camera is bought."

The Inkleys said there is only one other shop in the country similar to theirs, and that one is in New Orleans.

When they decided to open in Utah, they first considered going to the north end of Weber County or setting up shop in Layton.

They also considered other cities, including Salt Lake City and Chicago.

However, the family liked what was going on in Ogden, including the revitalization of 25th Street and the increase in outdoor-related companies coming to town.

"He's an Ogden native," Ron said, pointing to his son. "I'm almost an Ogden native and we really believe in what the city is doing."

Steve Fishburn, Ogden's business development manager, said he is glad to have the Inkleys return to downtown with the new concept.

Fishburn said the owners of the old Greyhound station building have had a lot of interest from potential tenants, but they wanted something unique to move into that space.

"I think Inkleys fits that bill perfectly," Fishburn said. Hopefully the Imaging Depot will bring customers to downtown, who will take advantage of the other businesses in the area.

This is the fifth store the Inkleys have opened in a one-block radius since the company started in the late 1940s.

Ron Inkley opened his first camera shop at the age of 18 in Salt Lake City. His second shop was in Downtown Ogden.

Over more than 60 years of business, he opened 51 stores in all. At its height, there were 29 stores in Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, specializing in cameras and equipment. He sold those stores in 1996.

The family returns to downtown to occupy a building with a history of its own, which is important to the Inkleys, since part of photography is preserving history.

Everyone walks around with a camera nowadays, Mat said, even if it is on their cell phone.

"There are more pictures taken than there ever has been in history," Mat said, "but there are fewer pictures being printed than there ever were before."

People keep their photographs on their phone, on micro disks and on the hard drives of home computers, which will one day die.

"That moment in history is going to be lost," Mat said. "We are helping bring fun back into photography, helping people know what can be done about it and provide people a whole quiver of arrows for whatever they want to do,"

Besides the simple photo prints, the Inkleys made a big investment in technology to bring the latest state of the art equipment to the shop.

The equipment allows the Imaging Depot to collect photos into a hardbound book, or put photos on almost any surface, from a mouse pad to a scarf or even wallpaper.

"It's about making the images come to life," Ron said. "Not just a fleeting moment on a Facebook page."

No matter what the format, keeping the images is important to preserving the past.

"If I lost 95 percent of the pictures on my computer, that would be a disaster," Mat said.

On his computer, Mat has an image of 25th Street taken in 1907 from atop Union Station. He said the image would not exist if someone hadn't taken that photograph and printed it.

Besides photos of grandma and the kids, the Imaging Depot's printing capabilities also extends to serving business needs. From light boxes to large outdoor banners, the shop has on-site printing, which means everything is done in house.

"Anything that can be done with an image," Mat said, "can be done here."

Cameras and camera accessories still have a place, with the store selling cameras and all the gear, such as long-range lenses, camera bags and a wide array of batteries.

Although he has more than 60 years of experience working with cameras, Ron said it is hard to compete with the Internet and national chains. The images themselves are more important to customers.

"We're an imaging store with a camera department," Ron said.

In addition to selling cameras, The Imaging Depot will offer classes on what to do with the camera, everything from basic photography to Photoshop to scrapbooking.

The shop intends to teach and inspire people to use their creativity.

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