Wellesbourne photographic lab in line for national £10,000 business acumen award

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Wellesbourne¹s award winning photographic studio Avon Studios has been voted one of the four canniest High Street photo processing labs nationwide and is in the running for a £10,000 prize to help develop the business further.

The lab and studio, run by Andrew Sheppard, has already won £1,000 worth of goods and services in the first leg of a national business makeover competition run by Fujifilm Image Service.

The four 2004 quarterly winners will soon be battling it out for the grand prize of £10,000 and Andrew is keeping his fingers crossed that his business will be selected.

More than 200 photolabs nationwide were invited to highlight priorities for key areas of their business ­ from customer service to staff training, to the appearance of their shop.

Andrew believes one of his business¹s biggest challenges is competing with large chains and two years ago invested £85,000 in a digital lab to improve his service. He alsorecognises the need to diversify to tackle a changing market and is already planning to take on the mobile phone stores by stocking camera-phones.

He spent his initial prize on software which enables the lab to text customers when their films are ready ­ a particularly effective tool because the majority of Avon¹s photo processing clients are aged between 16 and 25.

If Avon Studios is selected for the £10,000 prize Andrew plans to invest some of the money in a daylight projection system for the shop window.

“We have invested a great deal in the business over the past few years and an injection of an additional £10,000 will be invaluable in helping us realise some of the plans we have for the lab¹s future,” he said.