Keeping Up With Our Neighbors at Blue Moon Camera
In this series, Urban Nest sits down with local PDX business owners to talk shop about what makes their store or business fit so well with Portland. Learn about new neighborhoods, new businesses, PDX community and more!
The Temple of Film Photography in St. John's
Despite the overwhelming conversion to digital everything that affects almost every aspect of our daily lives, there are still a large number of folks (especially here in Portland) that swear by the old-fashioned methods. Blue Moon Camera and Machine is proof that many people just aren't ready to let go of the smooth, matte look of analog film photography, even if there are few more steps involved in the process. We talk with owner Jake Shivery on his experience keeping the tradition of film alive in North Portland:
UN: How long have you been in business?
Blue Moon Camera and Machine opened December 1, 2001. St Johns was a much different place back then.
UN: What is unique about your business?
We are the only fully dedicated all-film, one-stop camera shop that I know of. We only sell film-related cameras, and we offer traditional, non-digital, optical printing services to customers both local and national. We also sell typewriters with the same philosophy – serviced, fully warranted, and ready to go. I like to say that we sell appliances, not antiques.
UN: For you, what is most important about the customer experience?
We concentrate on lifetime repeat customers. Selling the camera is only the first step. We will also sell our customers film, then process that film, then sell an accessory, then repair their camera. We help with materials for home darkrooms. We answer questions, we build relationships. We have a very active customer base, and are pleased that so many of them are so ambitious with their art.
UN: How would you describe the community that surrounds your business?
St. Johns is the perfect neighborhood – a giant residential area flanked by industry and bisected by a commercial strip. It's always had a very small town feel, even though it's only twenty minutes from the center of Portland. We're largely self-contained; there is rarely a reason to leave.
UN: What do you think makes your business a great fit for Portland?
In Portland, issues like shopping locally, recycling, and eating real food are all just common sense. We enjoy a philosophical baseline here not shared by the rest of the country. The population has so many artists and makers, curious students, and folks really interested in the craft behind their art. It's been a very natural symbiotic relationship.
UN: What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I love the St. Johns Bridge. Fifteen years in, and I still think it's the most magnificent bridge in the world.
UN: What part of town do you live in, and what do you love about it most?
I live and breathe St. Johns. I've been here since 2001, and I'm fully entrenched. For the “why”, please see above. I'm never leaving.