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Longtime photo lab business new opportunity for Minoter

Eloise Ogden/MDN Cutter Flory, new owner of Rainbow Photo Labs in Minot, is shown on March 9 while in process of working on photo that a customer brought in that day. The customer asked for an enlargement of the photo.

Cutter Flory never planned to own a business this soon in his life. The 21-year-old is the new owner of Rainbow Photo Labs, a longtime established Minot business located at 215 11th Ave. SW.

Flory, who was born and raised in Minot, bought the business from Bill and Marie Leonard. The Leonards had been in business for more than 40 years and wanted to retire.

The business is one of only two privately owned photo labs in North Dakota.

The Leonards had hoped someone would continue the business they enjoyed for so many years. That right person – Flory – stopped in the store late last year.

A 2018 graduate of Minot High School, Flory was attending classes at Full Sail University outside Orlando, Florida, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit this past year. The campus was closed down and students went home. But Flory will complete his four-year degree and graduate on May 7. His diploma will be mailed to him.

When he was in high school, Flory said he never took a photography class. “When I watched commercials, everything would run through my head on how they did this. It always interested me. That’s why I went to Full Sail is to learn everything about that,” he said.

“I would make my own short videos and what not for my own family so it kind of just started building slowly,” he added.

At college, he learned about still photography. “I had to know angles, size, aspect ratio and what not,” he said.

Flory didn’t search out to own Rainbow Photo Labs. He explained how it came about.

“I was doing wedding videography and I smacked my camera on a wall and broke the lens. I figured to go get my camera fixed and came here to see if they’d fix it,” he said, during a March 9 interview at the store.

The Leonards were interested in selling the business to someone who had their same interests.

At the store, Bill Leonard, Cutter and Cutter’s mother got to talking about buying the place. “I looked at my mom and said, ‘What are we getting ourselves into?’ I wasn’t ready to own a business. She convinced me to starting off with this as my base since I know how to do most everything in here. I figured I could give it a shot and now here I am. If she wasn’t there, I would never have thought about it,” he said. That was back in November 2020.

Tara Flory works along with Cutter at the business. Her husband and Cutter’s dad, Kory Flory, helps with the business. Their daughter and Cutter’s sister, Gracie Flory, is also planning to do an aspect of the photo lab business. A Minot High School 2020 graduate, she attended college in Bismarck and also takes part in rodeos. She will be working with vinyl – stickers, banners, etc., at the business. As of early March, she was learning that type of work and then will start in the business.

Cutter Flory realizes a great deal has happened in a relatively short time.

“In November we were talking about it, in December we bought it and they (Bill and Marie Leonard) helped us through it,” he said.

Flory said December was a very busy month for the business and he was also learning about the business at the same time. But, he said, every day throughout December, Bill and Marie Leonard were there to help with the business and help him learn.

At the business Flory offers a wide variety of photo services – photo restoration, film processing, scanning photos and negatives, photo printing and enlargements, canvas, posters and banners, prints on metal, prints from phones, video transfer, 16mm’s transferred to DVD or USB, slides and negatives put on CDs and DVDs, sales of film and disposable cameras, passport and business photo sittings and sport team photos. He also plans to get into videography, drone services and photography.

Although digital is very popular, Flory said people bring in film “all the time.”

“Negatives, slides and film – they’re all finding it everywhere,” he said. He said people ask to have the negatives, slides or film put on “DVDs, USBs and all that.” If necessary, he has companies he can outsource to for completion of some work.

In meeting his various customers, Flory said he’s noticed some people are really good photographers but they don’t realize it.

Basically, Flory said he’s open to “about anything” relating to the business.

Rainbow Photo Labs

For more information about Rainbow Photo Labs, visit its website at rainbowphotolab.com or its Facebook page.

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