Wallich's Camera Shop & Photo Lab were founded in 1940 by Alphonse Wallich, a German immigrant who had a strong love of photography. Long before "the bridge" was built, Wallich had customers from all over coming to his little shop on Castleton Avenue and soon became one of the largest Leica and Roliflex dealers in the New York area. Wallich installed a processing lab and began wholesale film developing for many of the drug and retail stores in the metropolitan area.

Wallich's main competition on Staten Island was a similar operation down in Stapleton called Weitzmann's Photo Shop. At the time they were the oldest Kodak dealer still in existance and, unlike Wallich's, leaned more towards the newer Japaneese camers like Nikon, Canon, Minolta and Pentex. In the late 1060's, Sal Marino started working there part time - first in the retail store as a salesman and later on as a photographer.

In the early 1970's Sal started a mail order company specializing in model trains. His SMC Model Railroad Center grew to become one of the largest operations of it's kind and in 1974 he purchased part of the old Stapleton Service Laundry to open a retail store. At the time it was the largest train store in the country. Even though Sal was busy shipping model trains all over the world, he still did some photography, but never forgot his love of working in a camera store.

During the summer of 1984 The Advance ran a story --"End of a era -- Wallich's to close". After over forty years in business, Al Wallich's three sons had pretty much run the business into the ground and were throwing in the towel. Sal Marino decided to buy the business and move it into his train store. What he got for his money was the Wallich's name and phone number, 3 showcases and a box of processing that customers had not picked up even after weeks of phone calls telling them the store was closing.

From these beginnings Wallich's has grown into what is now the only custom lab left on Staten Island. In 2000 we installed a Fuji Frontier processor to help move us into the 21st century. We were one of the first labs to be able to print true photographs from digital files and the first to install a wide format poster printer on site. We started using scanners, computers and Photoshop when most photographers never even heard of them.