Pakor has quite a history in the photo supply business. Glen M. Dye founded it in 1910 with the purpose of making photographic processing equipment. He incorporated two years later under the name Pako Corporation. Dye invented the first motor-driven photo printing machine. Later the company extended into designing, engineering and marketing print machines and film machines.
After a few iterations, the company was sold in 1980 and continued supplying photographic processing equipment to wholesale photofinishers. It was reorganized in 1984 in response to the introduction of the one-hour photo lab.
Pako then formed a joint venture with Copal to sell one-hour photo labs. It created the Phototek division to supply parts for Pako photographic machines as well as offer on-site photo lab service technicians. In June 1988, the division incorporated and its name became Pakor, Inc.
Pakor purchased Photoland Inc. in 2007—a company that provided, among other things, paper and chemistry, including Kodak, Fujifilm and Epson products. It acquired Diversified Photo Supply Corporation in 2014, entering the world of distribution and supplying traditional photofinishing supplies.
“Pakor has certainly diversified over the years, but our roots are still firmly in the photo printing supply business,” said Richard Mast, Pakor’s vice president of Sales and Marketing. “What really sets us apart is the service we provide to customers large and small.
The company’s thriving passport photo business is a case in point. “The passport business is a tremendous profit opportunity that many more outlets should take advantage of,” said Mast.
“Our FastID Biometric Passport Photo System uses all of the new technologies for passports worldwide. The biometric software automatically processes the image to turn it into a perfectly aligned and cropped passport photo for any country. Then it will run a full ICAO compliance and quality check; the results appear on the screen in just a few seconds. The margins on this service are incredible.”
Mast added passport services should not just be under the purview of pharmacies, where much of the business is now. “There’s no reason why other retail outlets can’t offer passport services. In one instance, a local hardware store in a rural area offered the services because it’s so easy to set up and execute,” he said.
But the passport business is only part of the story. Pakor is a powerful distributor in the printing supply business. It is also an authorized reseller for such brands as Canon and Fujifilm. Pakor also offers several quality products under their own Pakor private label. Moreover, they distribute just about anything having to do with printing, from ink and paper to lab supplies and large-format professional printers.
While their product line is broad and complete, service is their calling card. “When a machine goes down, whether it’s in the field or in a retail location, we can respond with same-day or next-day service,” Mast explained. “Our strength is in dealing with retailers of all sizes—from large pharmacies to smaller photo dealers and labs. It doesn’t matter how large they are, we’ll be ready to respond to our customers.”
The same is true of product supply. “Most companies don’t want to deal with the single, small orders. We’re happy to do that for them; we’re organized to respond to all accounts regardless of order size,” said Mast. “We’ve also improved our website and online ordering system to make it as easy and fast as possible for our accounts to receive next-day delivery if they need their supplies tomorrow.”
Mast is optimistic about the future of the printing business. “There are a lot of opportunities out there right now, and the numbers point to people starting to print again. We can deliver the supplies whether they’re printing photo books or on canvas. Moreover, we’re seeing growth in all areas, which is fantastic for our industry.”
Pakor certainly has a rich and storied history. But their strength is in their track record of keeping up with the times, as well as responding when they’re called upon. “Every account is important to us, and we are positioned to serve our customers for decades to come.”