Tuesday, August 21, 2001

A parting shot from the
owner of a photo business

Snapshot is going out of business, leaving 11 people unemployed and a company president thinking of returning to the mainland.

Company President Mike Reid said he overexpanded into the space at 629 Pohukaina St. four years ago and could not find enough tenants to fill the unused square footage.

"The cost of the unutilized space became too overbearing," Reid said.

"We've been pretty well blowing things out (merchandise)" since last week, he said. "I've got to be out of here this weekend."

Frame Arts Hawaii, Sight and Sound, Personal Design Computer Systems and Nails Etc. will stay until landowner Bishop Estate decides its next move, according to Reid.

Snapshot was born 18 years ago in space shared with EMA Office Equipment on Hotel Street, and after a few relocations and expansions wound up on Pohukaina Street.

"We moved over here and that ate my lunch," Reid lamented. "I've worked three and a half years with no paycheck or no income -- except from my mainland investments," he said.

Two other factors accelerating the company's financial woes have been technology and military downsizing.

With digital photography, real estate appraisers, insurance adjusters and architects, mainstays of his business, he said, no longer needed his services.

"That was about 15 (percent) to 20 percent gross dollar volume that went away," Reid said.

Also, "We supplied machinery and supplies to nearly all (the military) photo labs," which have dwindled from 19 to two.

Small independent labs also felt the crunch.

"A lot of these people started suffering and couldn't pay their bills to me. I wound up with $100,000-plus in accounts receivable I couldn't collect," he said.

Reid's employees hope to set up their own shop, which Reid said he would support with an arrangement for photographic equipment.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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