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138-Year-Old Dury’s Camera Store in Nashville Closes for Good

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One of the oldest camera stores in the United States is permanently closing up shop after being devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dury’s, the Nashville camera store that first opened its doors back in 1882, announced the closure through a message posted to its Facebook page by CEO Charles Small.

“After very careful consideration, I have made the difficult decision to close our doors for good,” Small writes. “This is something that when I started working for this company in 1991 I never in a million years thought I would ever be doing.

“In the last eight weeks I have seen our business and lives turned upside down. I have spent countless hours working with advisers and thinking through every angle I could. I have consulted with our board of directors and accountants. Unfortunately, closure was the decision that we reached.”

The store will not be taking any further photo lab orders but existing orders will be available for pickup in the coming days, though some of them haven’t been completed yet and Dury’s will simply be giving those customers recommendations on where to take the order.

“I want to thank all our customers for your loyal support over the years and I am sure we will see you again,” Small says. “I also want to thank our staff for their long years of service. Many have worked for the company for ten years or more and I can not thank them enough for the hard work that they have put in.”

Dury’s started out as one of just 8 original Kodak dealers appointed by George Eastman himself, and the company had stated in business for over a century by focusing on technical know-how, customer service, and low prices.

After suspending operations on March 21st in response to the spread of the coronavirus, Dury’s had planned to reopen on April 6th. That date was pushed back to April 27th, then May 11th, and finally May 25th before the decision to shut down was made.

Brick-and-mortar camera stores around the world had already been reeling from the rise of online shopping in recent years. The closure of Dury’s is almost certainly just one of many exits we’ll be seeing in the coming days, as the evonomic fallout from COVID-19 becomes the straw that breaks many a camel’s back.

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