Oklahoma City's only surviving independent camera shop, Epperson Photo-Video, is now part of a six-store chain based in Arkansas.
Bedford Camera & Video purchased the photography store at 3110 N May Ave., which has been owned by Cliff Epperson since it opened in 1972.
Epperson sold the store and retired.
Tuesday, a day after the store changed hands, workers were busy upgrading lights, adding inventory and hanging new exterior signs. Customers already commented on a few changes — like the matching black shirts staff members were wearing — and the store will continue to transform over the coming weeks, said Bedford Camera & Video President Jeff Beauchamp.
Touch-screen computer stations for ordering prints and a children's play area will be added in the center of the store. A classroom will be built to give the public opportunities to learn photography.
Carpet and counters will be replaced and the store's stock will expand exponentially, Beauchamp said. Bedford's average inventory is three times what was on the shelves, and numerous accessories such camera bags will be added, he said.
Signs proclaiming “no public restroom” and “no refunds” were promptly removed, he added.
“We do things differently,” Beauchamp said. “Everything is going to change.”
He said he's excited to join the community and has already joined the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and reached out to the police and fire department on ways they can partner.
Ninety-five percent of the store's staff was retained and Beauchamp says the knowledge and customer service they provide help specialized camera shops compete with big box store and online retailers.
Customers Denise Cramer and her mother, Novelyne Daniels, were ordering wedding photos Tuesday. They hadn't noticed the store's new name but said they hope the store doesn't change too much.
“It's a better place to go when you want quality,” Daniels said. “We live in Midwest City. It's very inconvenient but worth the drive.”
Bedford Camera & Video has five locations in Arkansas: Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Rogers and two in Little Rock. This is their first location outside of Arkansas. Beauchamp said the company is looking into adding locations in Tulsa and Edmond within five years.
Bedford Camera & Video