There is a great deal of activity on Fort Worth’s Montgomery Street lately, much of it surrounded by barricades and obscured by traffic cones.
The infrastructure upgrades are taking place to accommodate the growth of a new multipurpose arena behind Will Rogers Memorial Center. Which in turn makes the area prime real estate for entrepreneurs such as Jeff Masure, owner of Fort Worth Camera, which has its grand opening this weekend.
Masure has ratcheted up the camera store business model into something that is decidedly new and extremely innovative. The exterior of the new Fort Worth Camera announces the heightened aspirations with a freestanding cement wall punctured with circular openings that mimic camera apertures. This is just a taste of the visual stimulation to come.
The store, designed by local architect Bart Shaw, is spacious and tantalizing. New camera lenses are displayed in a vitrine as if they are priced in carat weight. Behind them is a museumlike display of old cameras from the collections of Masure and his marketing manager, MacKenzie Hughes. The most antique is an 1894 panoramic Kodak, and an assortment of midcentury bodies remind many customers of their first cameras. The nostalgia wall prompts stories from almost everyone who comes in the store.
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Pricey lenses and racks of must-have accessories are expected; what is remarkable is the 48-seat classroom and the smaller 30-seat classroom, the White Glove room where the intricacies of a camera can be explained at length in a one-on-one tutorial session, and a rental studio.
To entice photographers to the store, the exterior has been constructed to offer many different backdrops for photo opps — in the parking lot, up against the punctured sign of white metal, the concrete aperture wall, or in front of the weathered orange stucco of a neighboring building.
Classes, film processing and printing are all offered, and so is a lounge area where customers can bask in the sparkling lights of fixtures that were originally meant for studio use.
Management plans to tap into the neighborhood traffic with events and photographic exhibitions (professionals and customers) in the Canon Image Gallery.
The new store is all about expanding the opportunities for photography and further education of the customer.
“We want to drop the barrier on intimidation,” says Hughes.
But what if all you have is one fabulous shot on your phone? Can you come in and have that printed mural size?
“Absolutely,” says Hughes wagging his phone loaded with photos, “The camera that takes the best picture is the one you have with you.”
Fort Worth Camera
- 1600 Montgomery St., Fort Worth
- 817-335-3456, www.fortworthcamera.com.
- The store is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday.
- Grand opening festivities take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Representatives from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and more will be on hand for advice. Door prizes, giveaways, tour and special deals on used photo gear trade-ins will be offered. Check the web site for more information.