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Floods: Close calls for many

January 13, 2011: Most photo retailers seem to have escaped the ravages of the Queensland floods thus far, though the situation is still unclear and changing from day to day.

PMA provided members with a comprehensive report on the impact on its Queensland members, with many retailers experiencing close calls but remaining dry.

As reported earlier this week in Photo Counter, Emerald Photos is one store which has been inundated, as was the Harvey Norman store in Dalby.

Brisbane has virtually shut down for the next few days, with Phil Gresham, FotoFast, reporting that he let staff go home and closed his doors mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

He moved display department stock (FotoFast operates a separate wide format printing workshop on a lower level of the Brisbane Myer Centre), covered computers and kiosks (pictured above right) and shut down all power.

‘If it doesn’t get over 1974 [levels] we should be OK,’ he said. ‘We’ve sandbagged the lower entrance where the display department is.

‘Home is way above water and we still have power, food and beer!

‘Maybe we’ll get back on Monday, who knows? And who knows what customers we will have?’

With flood waters not reaching the levels of 1974 according to news reports, FotoFast should indeed be back in business some time next week, along with other CBD retailers such as Rainer’s Camera House.

Of more concern is Mark Chapman’s Chapman & Bailey Studio, just 100 metres from the Brisbane River.

PMA reported that the premises had been sandbagged, but larger pieces of equipment were not able to be moved, leaving them susceptible to the flood waters.

The same report noted that Murrays Art & Framing in Toowoomba had been flooded, with considerable losses.

Wayne Styles (PhotoPlus) has reported that Cyril’s Cameras in Toowomba has suffered only slight damage.

Yamba Photo Store is high and dry but with the town cut off and people somewhat preoccupied, business is pretty well non-existent.

Grafton Fast Photos, like the rest of the town, was saved by the levee bank, although it was a close-run thing.

Meanwhile, flooding in Horsham in Victoria hasn’t effected Horsham Camera House, which is well clear of the river. The Horsham Harvey Norman outlet, built on the floodplain, may be vulnerable with another 100mm of rain, but was dry when we called Thrusday afternoon.

COMMENT: Alan Logue (Hutt St Photos, Adelaide) called us earlier in January suggesting that there was probably quite a lot of gear – old kiosks, minilabs, etc – sitting around in photo retailers’ store rooms and garages which could be put back into use by fellow retailers impacted by floods. (It’s great to hear that IPS and Noritsu have come to the assistance of Emerald Photos, which has lost its minlab equipment.) As noted, the situation is not at all clear this week, and it may be that some retailers could do with a helping hand to get back in business. Just an notion at present, and it seems that most in the photo retailing community are so far not in too much trouble. (Well, no more than usual anyway!) But Photo Counter would be happy to assist by acting as a communication hub if the need arises. We’ll keep you posted, as they say.

BELOW: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (Pic: Phil Gresham)

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