Step up to Better Sales

More than half the customers who enter our store do so by way of the stairs from the parking lot.

In a sense, they are a captive audience. Am I going to let them escape my messages during the 30 seconds it takes them to huff and puff their way upstairs? Of course not! On the sides of the stairway is a section of signs - 12" x 18" mini-posters - describing the products and services we offer.

Small6.jpg (15607 bytes)We make these signs in-house. Our digital imaging station is Windows-based, so it's been relatively easy adding accessories - such as a Hewlett-Packard C-1000se ink jet printer, which can handle paper up to 13"x19".

Small4.jpg (31214 bytes)Each poster made here was done using Adobe PhotoShop LE, which was included free when we bought a Nikon scanner.

The product photos were all taken in our back-room studio with 35mm cameras. If memory serves me, and anyone cares - a Canon EOS Elan with a 28-80mm lens and White Lightning Ultra 600 lights. We use a roll of white seamless paper so there's a plain background to put text on.

In Photoshop, we follow the following steps:

  1. Crop tightly to the product.
  2. Make the background a pure white
  3. Enlarge the canvas size to 12 x 18 inches, placing the photo where we want to. (Sometimes we'll select the picture and move it around the canvas)
  4. Compose and insert the text.


Process your Seattle Film in and Hour? We print them on Epson Super B photo paper, which retails for about 50 cents a sheet. We then trim them to fit in an 18" x 12" poster frame.

Notice that although each sign is different, we'vv tried to maintain a common theme.

Each product sign repeats the tag line "We've got that - you've come to the right place."

Each service sign repeats the tag line "We can do that - you've come to the right place."

Photo ID Cards (23216 bytes)The State of New Jersey is unusual in that it issues photo driver licenses to only a few of the drivers (new drivers and youngsters, for example, are required to have a photo license.) It's optional for most, and if you renew by mail you can't have a photo license.

That means our citizens need some form of photo ID, if just to get on a plane.

We make photo IDs by taking a standard Polaroid passport photo. We then gather information from the customer: name, address, date of birth, social security number. We print it on a small piece of security paper (like check stock) and laminate it together and charge $14.99.

Our cards state "Not a license - for Identification Only." We have lots of disclaimers in which we state that "because we are not an official government agency, we do not guaranty that anyone anywhere will accept this card as proof of identity."

We also tell our customers that they should only use this card to supplement official forms of ID such as  drivers' license, birth certificates. So far I've always been able to use such a card, in combination with my license, to get on flights. I do that as a "product test" but always have my passport tucked in my pocket.

Long lens poster (18652 bytes)The lens in question is the Vivitar Series 1 100-400mm autofocus zoom. The subject in the photo is yours truly. The Yankees have not chosen to add me to the roster, however…

Small5.jpg (15696 bytes)

Small7.jpg (17724 bytes) We also have a series of signs that talk about us, personally. To differentiate these from the product and service ads, they are in a horizontal format. The message? That everybody working at our store has a personal interest - that he or she has excellent qualifications - and that they were not working in the mensware or cosmetic department the day before selling you a $700 camera!


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