Move no ‘snap' de­ci­sion

Iconic photo shop is off to Cooly

Tweed Daily News - - BIG READ | LIFE - Ais­ling Brennan ais­[email protected]­dai­

IT’S been a pho­tog­ra­phers’ par­adise in the Tweed for years, but Wades World Pho­to­graphic store is now on the move.

Af­ter 24 years, owner and pho­tog­ra­phy guru Wade Kelle­her has de­cided to shut the doors on his Tweed store and open north of the border on Grif­fith St, Coolan­gatta, next week.

“Coolan­gatta is start­ing to hap­pen and this area of Tweed is not hap­pen­ing like it used to,” Mr Kelle­her said.

“We can see a big rise in pass­ing trade which is go­ing to be ben­e­fi­cial to Tweed.

“We’re not re­ally chang­ing much, we’re just go­ing around the cor­ner.”

Mr Kelle­her said he’d seen many changes in the area from the win­dow of his Wharf St store and be­lieved now was the time to make a change.

“The other thing that we’ve al­ways bat­tled with is peo­ple and tourists who come to Coolan­gatta very rarely find us,” he said.

“I think Tweed Heads is start­ing to get a lit­tle bit of soul back over the last three years in Bay St, but that hasn’t car­ried across to Tweed Mall. What Tweed Mall used to be has moved to Tweed City.

“We’ve got a great catch pool of loyal cus­tomers from Coffs Har­bour to the Sun­shine Coast who we deal with reg­u­larly, so it’s not about ex­po­sure of our busi­ness.”

While the in­dus­try has had many changes through the years, the in­tro­duc­tion of dig­i­tal cam­eras was a real turn­ing point for Mr Kelle­her’s busi­ness.

“Dig­i­tal cam­eras were just tak­ing off when we took over the store,” he said.

“Con­sumer knowl­edge was noth­ing be­cause it was a whole new world and en­tity peo­ple had to get a grip of.

“The big at­trac­tion orig­i­nally with dig­i­tal cam­eras, and still is, is the in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion of hav­ing a pho­to­graph.

“The down­side of that is that it has de­val­ued what a pho­to­graph is and the whole premise of this busi­ness is that what we do here is qual­ity.

“We could have in­vested a whole lot less in the equip­ment that we’ve got here and bought dig­i­tal equip­ment that doesn’t do a good job, but I know the dif­fer­ence.

“Now 20 years later, we have is­sues where peo­ple come in with im­ages from the early dig­i­tal days look­ing for a copy of it to use and you can’t do it be­cause the qual­ity is so ter­ri­ble. But if they’d paid a few ex­tra cents and put it onto proper pho­to­graphic pa­per, they could have still used it.

“The sad thing is the dum­my­ing down of the in­dus­try. What we want to do is pre­serve a mem­ory, be­cause the pho­tos are me­mories. We’ve had cus­tomers who have had their houses burnt down and they had film in here, so now it’s the only pho­tos they have left. It’s that spe­cial mem­ory you can’t beat.“

Look­ing to­wards the fu­ture, Mr Kelle­her said the pho­to­graphic in­dus­try would re­main strong as long as peo­ple were in­ter­ested in pre­serv­ing me­mories.

“Film is mak­ing a huge come­back,“he said.

“Film sales are go­ing year on year 50 per cent growth in Aus­tralia. There’s not that many in­dus­tries that have that growth.

“I think that our in­dus­try is very much like any of those retro in­dus­tries. There’s al­ways go­ing to be niches for some­thing that is qual­ity, no mat­ter what in­dus­try it is. Whether it’s vinyl or pho­tog­ra­phy or it’s elec­tron­ics, there’s al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple who pro­vide a qual­ity prod­uct.

“We’ll be dig­ging up some dust this week­end. It’s sad in a way, but I’ve seen many changes here over the years.”

❝ What we want to do is pre­serve a mem­ory, be­cause the pho­tos are me­mories.

— Wade Kelle­her


MOV­ING ON: Wades World owner Wade Kelle­her is mov­ing his store to Coolan­gatta.


Wade Kelle­her has spent 24 years de­liv­er­ing qual­ity ser­vice in Tweed Heads.


Wade Kelle­her checks a roll of film.

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