After 20 years on its namesake street, Peace Camera has moved to a new location in North Raleigh.
The camera shop, which began operating at 421 W. Peace St. in 1996, opened its doors on Friday in the Quail Corners Shopping Center on Falls of Neuse Road. The shop moved from its location in the rapidly developing northern corner of downtown Raleigh, because that site is slated to become part of a new mixed-use development including 400 apartments and ground-floor retail.
After finding out that the company would have to move, staff discussed where the business should go or whether it would be better to just get out of the camera business altogether, said the shop’s buyer Geof Simons.
“There were times when we thought it might just fold up,” Simons said.
Simons said he first heard about a vacant space from All Star Bike Shop owner Jeff Hutchinson, also a Quail Corners tenant, during a chance meeting while on a greenway bike ride.
The Peace Street company, which started life as Southeastern Camera, was a partnership between two longtime employees of Durham’s University Camera, which has since gone out of business. The two partners split ways in 2004 and the store’s owner Todd Jenkins remained at the Peace Street location, taking the street as the store’s new name.
It will retain the Peace Camera name at the new location.
The Peace Street shop, which was packed with almost anything a photographer could possibly dream up, had been holding clearance sales for the last few months to thin stock before it moved to the new smaller location.
“When you’ve been somewhere for 20 years, you get really dug in,” Simons said.
It is one of only a few dedicated camera stores left in Raleigh, and one of the only places people can still get supplies for developing film.
In its new store, the business still made room for chemicals, machinery and paper to develop film, something Simons felt very strongly about including.
“We will continue to support it until we can’t get it anymore,” he said.
Owner Jenkins said he hopes that being in a shopping center will help business. In the few days employees have been in the new location getting the store ready, a few new faces have begun to pop in.
“This location, we’re hoping, will have a bit more walk-in traffic,” he said.
The area around the old Peace Camera location is ground zero for a state Department of Transportation project to replace the Capital Boulevard bridges over Peace Street and Wade Avenue, a three-year project that will reconfigure the street grid.
Several private projects slated to begin in the next few years will bring new apartments, retail and grocery stores to the area, which is near Seaboard Station.
Preliminary construction on the bridge project and an unexpected water main break last week gave the area a taste of the gridlock that is still to come.
“That whole area is getting so turned upside down,” Jenkins said.
On Friday, Peace Camera employees were staying busy, helping customers and unpacking merchandise.
Fuquay-Varina resident Stanley Jackson said he had first gone to the old location on Friday only to find it gone.
When he got to the new store, he was pleased to find ample parking and a new layout that he found easier to navigate.
“This location is wonderful,” he said. “They’ve got room to get around and look.”
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi