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.