Why Did Costco Close It’s Photo Centres?

Costco is a very popular shopping destination for many Canadians (and Americans), as they offer many unbeatable prices for groceries (and many other home and business items). In a time of economic uncertainty, finding ways to reduce costs for food has become even more important.

While Costco continues to provide incredible value with groceries, many people were dismayed when they announced the closing of their photo centres in Canada in February 2021. They decided to partner up with Shutterfly and now direct all of their customers looking for photo prints to them.

Why did they do this? The short answer: Costco operates with a business model requiring high volumes to meet their lower profit margins. With the proliferation of smart phones, social media and the digital distribution of photos online, less and less people want hard copy prints of their photos. As demand for prints declined, their photo centres didn’t meet their ‘high volume’ business model. Printing photos has become less mainstream and more niche… and Costco doesn’t like niche services. Just look at the number of people crammed into your local Costco during nearly every hour they are open.

One disappointing side-effect of the closure of these photo centres, is that customers no longer had a physical portal for some of the other services provided by the staff at these photo centres, namely intake for digitalization of obsolete media like VHS tapes, film, and slides. With the closure of their photo centres, Costco no longer offers media digitization in Canada (although they continue to offer it in the USA through a 3rd party called Capture).

Fortunately, there is a great alternative for those in Canada: Transfer to Digital. Not only do we offer competitive pricing, but we do all of the transfers of your precious memories in-house (we don’t outsource it to a 3rd party company like Costco did!). You are interacting directly with the technicians doing the transfers. For those living in Vancouver and Kelowna, you can directly drop off your media in-person at either of our locations, and we also have many people mail us their media as well, from all over Canada!

Besides, while Costco is great, wouldn’t it feel good supporting a local family owned business? Contact us today and transform those old tapes and film reels into something you can share with family and friends!

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