RANDALLSTOWN, Md. -- Basics/Metro Food Markets will add its first one-hour photo service in a new photo center department positioned to give the category higher visibility.
The new department, slated for a newly remodeled and enlarged Metro Food store in Glen Burnie, Md., in March, will offer a wide assortment of accessories and cameras.
The photo center will be positioned at the front of the store, next to the banking department, and occupy 120 square feet of space.
"We'll offer all types of photo-processing services and enlargements, cameras and accessories, and try to tie in picture frames. We'll do any type of processing possible, including the one-hour developing," said Rick Rogers, nonfood buyer.
"We're going to try the photo center at this store, and if it's successful we'll roll it out to other stores by adding it as another department," he said.
The nonfood executive expects the pilot installation to last six months. After that, he will review initial test results prior to bringing the section to other stores in the chain.
The photo center will be operated as a separate entity from the customer service area. "We want to let customers know we're serious about film developing," Rogers stated.
Setting up the photo center away from the customer service area clearly establishes it as a separate section, along with other specialty areas in the traffic flow, including a pizza shop and Maryland National Bank banking center, Rogers noted.
The photo center will use a Qualex mini photo-processing unit, "which will give us greater processing capability than a smaller micromini photo lab."
Rogers said that one-hour photo processing that offers a "good price and a quality product in a timely manner" has the potential of attracting a much wider customer base that goes beyond the store's traditional shopper mix.
"The faster service is also popular with mortgage companies and real estate agencies that need pictures of houses developed quickly," he noted.
Creating photo centers where shoppers can bring their film for one-hour or overnight developing, and find related products like cameras, film, accessories, photo albums and picture frames grouped together is a merchandising approach more supermarkets are taking, Rogers added.
"The items by themselves have always done well as general merchandise offerings at food stores. The idea behind taking these products and services and blending them into a single department is to let the customer know we're in the film-processing business."
Roger said photo processing and accessories are good high-ticket general merchandise, while the one-hour photo developing enhances one-stop shopping.