Small Business

Lawrence Photo, which has been in business for more than 100 years, to close

Lawrence Photo Print & Frame owner Paul Hudson, seen here Monday with his dog, Tag, said he'll likely be closing his store at 6508 E. Central in the next 30 days.
Lawrence Photo Print & Frame owner Paul Hudson, seen here Monday with his dog, Tag, said he'll likely be closing his store at 6508 E. Central in the next 30 days. The Wichita Eagle

Lawrence Photo Print & Frame, whose founding dates to 1887, will close in the next month.

Paul Hudson, who owns the store at 6508 E. Central, said a financial situation prompted him to close the store on Monday to prepare for an inventory clearance sale.

Hudson also posted a notice of the store's fate on its website on Monday.

"I'm just reeling," Hudson said at his Normandie Center store, the windows of which were covered by cardboard Monday afternoon.

Hudson, who has owned the store for 15 years and worked there six years before that, said since the 2008 recession "we haven't recovered."

While he expanded the business to include digital printing and custom framing, it wasn't enough to offset sales of cameras and camera equipment, where there's "little profit to be realized," he said, and the competition against online sellers for those products is fierce.

The business he has had isn't enough to support Lawrence Photo's overhead, including the 3,000-square-foot space near Central and Woodlawn he moved to in 2013. "We've got more space than we need," Hudson said.

Hudson said by next week he'll have a clearer idea of how he'll proceed with winding down the business. "In the meantime we'll proceed with an inventory clearance sale."

The store most likely will close in the next month. "It could certainly be within 30 days if not sooner," Hudson said.

The business will, however, fulfill its commitments with orders it has yet to fill.

"One way or the other we're committed to (completing) all open orders and special orders with as little disruption as possible," Hudson said.

That includes its commitment as a sponsor of the 2018 Riverfest photo contest, Hudson said. Entries will be judged and winners will be announced on Final Friday, July 27, at a location to be determined.

Lawrence Photo's roots extend to the 1877 founding of Lawrence Drug Store in downtown Wichita. In 1888, Lawrence Drug owner Charles Lawrence signed an agreement with George Eastman to become a dealer for Eastman Kodak. In 1900, Hudson said, Lawrence got out of the drugstore business to focus on cameras and film.

Here is every single one of the posters designed for the Wichita River Festival - more than 40 years' worth.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark
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