I missed this when it was announced a few weeks ago, but Kurt’s Camera Corral along Central Avenue (aka Route 66) in Albuquerque will close its doors permanently on New Year’s Eve.
In a Facebook post, the store stated:
Albuquerque Business First talked to company president and CEO Kurt Kubie:
“On behalf of our family, I’d like to sincerely thank the people of New Mexico for the great relationships, friendships and memories that have allowed us to thrive for more than six decades,” said Kubié. “It’s been a tremendous privilege to provide good jobs for our employees, give back to the community and help our customers preserve their memories in pictures.”
Kubié’s father Kurt founded the company in the Nob Hill location in 1950. The business grew for decades, with as many as three stores operating at one time. The Nob Hill store’s retro sign is still a landmark of the neighborhood.
In the end, the rise of digital photography was too much for the Kurt’s site at 3417 Central Ave. in the Nob Hill area to overcome. Kubie’s told KOB-TV:
“The way people capture important moments in their lives has changed from film to digital to iPhones, and prints aren’t being made. […] Posterity ain’t what it used to be. People don’t give it that kind of importance that maybe we did.”
Kubie told the Albuquerque Journal revenues dropped so much, he became an unpaid “volunteer” at the store, then stopped collecting rent from it. Those things still weren’t enough.
Kurt’s Camera Corral had a second location on Juan Tabo Boulevard in Albuquerque, but it closed recently, too.
The property will be for sale early next year. There’s no word what will happen to its iconic neon sign.
UPDATE 3/10/2016: The Kurt’s Camera building now is up for sale.
(Hat tip to Tim Anderson; image of Kurt’s Camera Corral by Erin Stevenson O’Connor via Flickr)