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Calne snappers shut shop
After 22 years in the photography business Ken and Jayne Hall have decided to close their shop in Calne.
Mr and Mrs Hall, who own the Hallmark Photography store in The Pippin, say the onset of online shopping has changed the photography industry.
They say the shop, which sells photography equipment and offers a film processing service, has suffered because most people prefer to search for internet bargains and use digital cameras.
The shop is set to close in the new year but the Halls, who are both professional photographers, will continue to concentrate on studio work as well as wedding and event coverage, which is how they first started in the business.
In 2000, the shop was one of the first businesses in the country to install a digital printing lab, which cost £120,000 at the time.
But Mr Hall said he is now unable to run a business with £40,000 worth of stock when fewer people shop in the High Street.
He said: “We have shared in our customers’ lives through the events they photograph, seen their families grow, shared in their sorrow when life has not been so kind to them and always made time for a chat.
“But people are quite lazy shoppers nowadays. We have always prided ourselves on customer service because, obviously, we cannot be as cheap as the internet.
“We have a regular client basis but that is slowly dwindling.
“Five years ago I might recognise half the people in the town because they were customers.
“Now I think people just come into town to go into the supermarket and drive back out again.
“There is only so long that a business can continue to try to convince customers to give them a try and for us that time has come.”
Hallmark Photography has three members of staff and some of these will be retained part-time for the photography studio, which will be extended into the current shop floor space. The store has also started its closing down sale to clear stock.
Mr Hall said he believed there were quite a few businesses struggling.
He said: “You have hairdressers, nail bars and opticians in town centres because these are things you can’t buy online.
“I think there are a lot of other businesses that are struggling and aren’t admitting it.”