Shooting for Perfection
Marietta’s McEver family gives new life to broken camera through cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned values.
At first glance, Peachtree Camera & Video Repair, Inc., looks like any ordinary repair shop–nothing distinctive except perhaps the autographed photos on the walls. But stop and listen to the conversations among the patrons and you might think again, says Allen McEver of his family-owned business.
“People use our shop like the country store I went to when I was growing up. Someone will come in and start talking with another photographer, and before you know it, they’ll talk for two hours. The only thing missing is the potbellied stove,” he says, smiling.
Our Southern hospitality and courtesy have opened many doors for us. Most people appreciate the honesty. -Allen McEver
This homespun quality pleases Allen, who worked on the family farm in Floyd County before crop were lost for the second year in a row.
“In 1971, hail ruined the tomatoes, and army worms ate the corn. So three generations of us moved to Rome, where we got daytime jobs and farmed evenings and weekends until it was no longer worthwhile,” explains the elder McEver brother.
Eventually , Allen and brother Wayne attended technical school, completing evening courses in electronics. Later, an Atlanta workshop hired the brothers to repair cameras. During that time, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and other manufacturers offered ongoing training for those in the field.
The two brothers then opened Peachtree Camera & Video Repair in 1994 after “every camera maker that had a repair shop in Atlanta closed,” Allen says.
Although the McEvers found a niche doing work for regional camera shops, their business really grew when word of their reputation spread among camera enthusiasts.
“Photographers are so passionate about their work. Who is laying their hands on theirs cameras is very important to them. Most develop a one-on-one relationship with the technicians here,” says Allen, adding, “In a business like this, you live on your reputation. You just couldn’t pay anybody for that.”
The McEvers handle cameras and microscopes worth thousands of dollars. People and companies from all over the country trust Peachtree with repairs. Knowing how companies, especially, rely on them, the family tries to fix and return their products within 73 hours.
In a business like this, you live on your reputation. You couldn’t pay anybody for that. –Allen McEver
The company places this same value on all customers. Each year Allen, Wayne, or one of the other technicians attends about 40 camera shows held all over the country. At no charge, they check and clean cameras. By the end of almost every weekend, they take 150 to 200 cameras back to the shop for repairs.
“Our Southern hospitality and courtesy have opened many doors for us. Most people appreciate the honesty,” Allen Says.
Peachtree Camera and Video Repair fixes all sorts of cameras of every make, style, and age. “There’s one professional who shoots waterfalls with a 1905 Century camera. He trusts us to repair this camera,” Allen says enthusiastically.
Many customers come to the shows to sell their old cameras for parts. When the photographers learn that the McEvers can fix them, they feel as if they’ve made a friend.
“The people we meet at shows and in the shop love their cameras, and we get to know a little about each of their lives by the time they entrust us with them,” he says.
Today, Peachtree employs 16 people, most of whom are related by birth or marriage. Allen says the family enjoys working together. Just like the farming community, the camera-repair business relies on each family member to help out.
“In our office we even have a playpen setup for the grandchildren,” Allen concludes. “And how many people get to say they spend good quality time with their mothers?” –Norman Black and Sara Askew Orr
You can contact Peachtree Camera & Video Repair, Inc., at 562 Wylie Road, Suite 6, Marietta, GA 30067; (770)795-8020 or 1-888-539-7824. Website: www.peachtreecamerarepair.com.
“You wouldn’t believe the stories that are told by cameras,” Allen says as he recalls a number of those shared by the photographers he’s met. Here are a few of his favorites.
- The McEvers repaired a Minolta 100 Autocord for an elderly gentleman who had used the camera to photograph President Roosevelt in Warm Springs.
- Repairing a venerable Speed Garflex was a must for a photographer who takes pictures of ballroom dancing.
- One person fell into a lake while composing a better angle for a wedding party photo. A Peachtree technician rescued the cameras from its soggy state.
- During a NASCAR qualifying event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a photographer rushed up to Allen, who was busy servicing cameras. Apparently the gentleman has just been hit by a car; however, he was much more concerned with his broken camera than with the state of his own health. Allen handed over the camera to Wayne, who consequently repaired it. By that evening the dedicated photographer was back from the hospital and on the job again.