Widgets Magazine

Palo Alto camera store with Stanford sports link closes

Keeble & Shuchat, a Palo Alto camera store with long-standing connections to Stanford, closed its doors on Saturday after 51 years.

Keeble & Shuchat closed on Saturday after a 51-year run, facing declining sales and greater competition (MELISSA WEYANT/The Stanford Daily).

Keeble & Shuchat closed on Saturday after a 51-year run, facing declining sales and greater competition (MELISSA WEYANT/The Stanford Daily).

The store, opened by Terry Shuchat and Dick Keeble in 1965, created videos for Stanford athletics for three decades in its early years. Keeble & Shuchat is a five-minute drive from campus, with two buildings on California Avenue.

“We have a big connection to Stanford,” said Shuchat. “For 30 years we did all the training films for the football team, traveled to away games … we were out there three practices a week.”

The business made training films not only for the football team but also for the Stanford basketball team. The store also used to regularly advertise on KZSU. Moreover, Shuchat said, Stanford photography students frequented the store in search of supplies.

However, recent technological advances have caused the store’s business to decline. Shuchat pointed out that the severe impact that companies such as Apple and Samsung have had on the camera industry as they increasingly advertise the quality of photos that can be taken by their products.

In an area as tech-savvy as Silicon Valley, it is also difficult to compete with the growth of Internet shopping, Shuchat said. In recent years, customers often visited his store to decide what products to buy before returning home to order them online.

“The camera industry has lost huge volumes of camera sales, and that filters on down to the dealers,” Shuchat said. “It was just time to say goodbye to the business.”

Closing was, according to Shuchat, “a very, very tough decision,” particularly because many of the store’s employees have worked there for 20 or 30 years.

“They’ve been very loyal to me and it felt like I was being very disloyal to them,” Shuchat said.

Nevertheless, Shuchat has fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning a photography store, and for that he is grateful. He said the store’s success likely would not have been possible without Stanford.

“It was the Stanford photography that brought in enough income, that really kept us alive that first year,” he said.

“I consider myself very fortunate. I was able to do what I wanted to do, [and] it was also very successful beyond my wildest imagination,” he continued. “We just have such phenomenal customers. It’s been really rewarding.”

Contact Veronica Kim at vkim70 ‘at’ stanford.edu.