Photography business Bat City is expanding as people's passion for film photography continues to grow.
The business will move forward as Blue Hour Photo Lab with Nick Style welcoming new co-owner Haley Robbinem recently.
Mr Styles started Bat City and Ghosty Toasty at the same time at the end of 2018 with the two stores sharing the same View Street premises.
"The cafe is staying but we are separating it a bit. I found myself myself very in over my head with two business growing quicker than my mental capacity was over the last couple of years," he said.
"With some staff changes in the lab and the cafe, I jokingly said to Haley that if he wanted to be part of it, he could buy in and be a partner. He took that joke seriously.
Mr Robbinem has now gone from customer to co-owner.
"There are so many areas of film photog we can expand into," he said "I started thinking how we could develop the businesses and take on more work, more processes, more formats and be more of a lab for professionals but keep that community aspect.
"So I politely said to Nick 'I can't work for you but can work with you'."
The team, along with lab technician Elijah Clarke, has seen an increase of business in 2020 after Melbourne photo labs were forced to close during stage 4 restrictions and the overflow of photo orders came to Bendigo.
"We had particularly big reach during COVID with Melbourne in stage 4," Mr Styles said. "We weren't ready for it at that stage but it has shown us how we can operate. We are planning to start drop boxes in central Victorian towns where people can drop fil to (a local business) and get it to us."
Mr Robbinem said there is a call for more labs that can process film as more people pick up old cameras and return to film photography.
"Part of reason people shoot on film is the nostalgia element," he said. "There's a particular way the film looks and it throws back to what they remember from childhood photography.
"People also like the hands on aspect to it. There's quite a physical input into making photographs.
"As film photography is resurrected as a hobby, our job is to run a lab and resurrect infrastructure to support that hobby. The machinery is still out there to be found. It's been fun, exciting and stressful to resurrect a lab from all these parts and pieces of labs from the '90s."
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