Feb 14, 2013 9:52 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Jim's Campus Camera focuses on closing next month

A longtime downtown San Luis Obispo business plans on shutting its doors next month, after 42 years of business. The owner of Jim's Campus Camera said the struggling economy is not why it's closing up shop, but with the way photography is heading, the owner, Dennis Johansen, said it's a good time to leave.

Photography is not just Johansen's business, for him, it's a way of life.

"Well I was trained as a photographer, I was a combat photographer for the United States Army in Vietnam in '68 and '69," said Johansen.

After moving to San Luis Obispo with his friend Jim in 1970, Johansen and his wife took ownership of Jim's Campus Camera, and never looked back.

Johansen said, "San Luis Obispo is a wonderful place to have a business."

Johansen said he's managed to keep his store a downtown staple for over 40 years, and he's seen the evolution of cameras shift in focus from film, to digital.

He said, "The cameras have changed a great deal, obviously film is pretty much disappeared, although Cal Poly and Cuesta both have film programs."

Sales associate Blaze Syka said people nowadays are preferring smaller, lighter cameras, and how convenient for some, that there's one on almost every phone.

Syka said, "they can be very useful, I mean, there's a time and place for them."

Though Johansen is closing up shop because of retirement, not because of dwindling sales, he said this new wave of mechanics is the right time for him to leave.

Johansen said, "The digital has been here for quite a while, and it is the medium now, what's going to follow digital is hard to say because the technology is moving very, very rapidly."

He believes there will always be a need for a camera, but they probably just won't look like the traditional ones that everyone is used to, in the future.

Johansen said he wishes other small camera shops the best of luck, and said the best advice he can give from one owner to the next, is to be prepared for change.

He said, "things do change, and we'll all roll with the punches."

Johansen said they are not selling or trading the business, they are simply closing. He said starting next week, they will begin their liquidation sale. Jim's Campus Camera will officially close its doors on March 30th.

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