All in the family
Michael Ross may not have been aware of it when he first visited Foto Source in Central Plaza as a newborn baby, but the longstanding business would be like a second home to him.
The 30-year-old worked his first day at Foto Source 18 years ago, taking out the garbage, among other errands. But his connection to the business started long before then, thanks to his father, Terry, who last month retired from his position as manager after nearly five decades with the store.
“As a matter of fact, the day I was born, my parents brought me into the store,” he said, laughing. “(Terry) was the original employee.”
Not too far behind was the younger Ross, who is the assistant manager at the White Rock store, with 12-year veteran Debbie Weir taking over as manager after the duo consulted with owner Ed Reid about promoting from within.
“We both know the company and we both know the industry,” Ross said of the new roles. “It made sense to keep it in hands that already knew the business.”
Born and raised in South Surrey, Ross initially may have been drawn into the business because of his father, but it was a passion for creative arts that kept him there for nearly 20 years.
“I really got into the digital aspect of it, you know, Photoshop and the photo manipulation aspect of it, that’s what really hooked me,” he said.
That knowledge and passion for digital work will be important for the business as the industry changes and evolves away from traditional prints.
“There is a challenge, and right now, the photo industry as a whole is trying to solve that challenge,” Ross said.
Fortunately, while across the country printing has slowly faded, Ross noted, there are still a fair number of people in the community who prefer the traditional route when it comes to photos.
“Luckily for us, being the only camera store in White Rock and South Surrey, we fill that niche. We’re quite lucky that way,” he said.