(Nov. 8, 2019) Two-franchise system no more — resort officials approved the consolidation of its beach photography franchises on Monday, simplifying the bidding process and reducing the overall bid cost.
On Sept. 10, the council reviewed a bid of $76,250 made by Telescope Pictures co-owner Jonathan Cameron for the second beach photo franchise.
At the time, City Clerk Diana Chavis suggested the mayor and city council combine the two franchises, and implement a single minimum bid of $225,000, rather than two bids of $150,000.
“Having a two-franchise system, equal in all respects except for the minimum bid, would have established an unfair criteria for future bidding,” Chavis previously said.
The beach photography franchise was in danger of dying last year, after former Telescope Pictures owner Pat McLaughlin had decided to not renew his contract with the city.
Jonathan and his wife/business partner Sam Cameron were devastated, as they had been involved with the business for decades — he as an employee and she as both a customer and an employee.
To save the beach photography tradition, the husband and wife decided to buy the company from McLaughlin.
Then, last December the couple placed the sole bid for the first franchise, received it, and submitted the second bid the following September.
Telescope Pictures has three offices: one at 209 16th Street, another at 4805 Coastal Highway and the third uptown at 11805 Coastal Highway.
Currently, the Camerons are focusing on recruiting photographers for the 2020 season, and have plans to travel to Europe to meet with J-1 students interested in the business.
Following the council’s decision on Monday, the Camerons will only have to worry about placing one bid in the future to continue their photography services to the resort.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Jonathan Cameron said. “It’s [the franchise change] going to allow us to plan for the future better and invest in our new upper management.”