January 11, 2024

Hidden Gems: The New Photo Company

Although The New Photo Company itself has only been on the High Street for less than two years, the shop is a continuation of a Kings Heath photographic legacy. In talking to Supreet, the proprietor of the company, I find out about the legacy of the Suri family in Kings Heath photography, as well as the bright future the Company has ahead of it.

The story starts in India, where a young Pami, (Supreet’s father) first fell in love with photography. He studied photography, before moving to England, where he also began teaching. He opened a mini-lab in Wolverhampton in the late 1970s, but then moved to Kings Heath, with a then 5-year-old Supreet in tow.

At that time, the family shop was a Kodak franchise, but Pami was already known throughout the area thanks to his dedication to serving the community – also shown by his tireless volunteering efforts throughout the years. Supreet’s mother, Nina, also made a large contribution to the success of the company, giving up her career as a social worker in order to single-handedly run the High Street shop when the family opened a second location on Institute Rd, as well as going out of her way to help members of the community. In fact, Supreet still hears stories from customers who walk into his shop of how Nina has touched their lives. Although in this time there was an abundance of photo-processing companies on the High Street, the Suri shops were renowned for their quality, both of images and of service, which still continues to this day.

It’s easy to see, then, how this passion for imaging and photography could be passed down to the next generation, and so when Pami eventually retired, Supreet took over the family business. However, rather than continuing with business as usual, Supreet took it upon himself to modernise and rework the business, casting off the Kodak franchise and reopening the shop in a new location, right in the middle of the High Street.

Supreet and his wife, Kashni, set up the new shop with design at the forefront of their mind from the very beginning. They wanted a unique and warm feeling, which would be different from any other photo store. This focus on the customer’s experience is immediately evident upon stepping into The New Photo Company, with gorgeous prints decorating the walls and old film canisters on display. It’s not all just for show though, The New Photo Company have the substance to back it up, having recently been Gold Certified by German art paper producer Hahnemühle, which Supreet says is his proudest achievement with the shop so far.

A renewed focus on interior design at The New Photo Company

While the business has changed a lot since Supreet took over, expanding with a larger premises and new staff, it still has that quintessentially family and local feel. The friendly staff don’t just do printing as their jobs; they are equally as passionate about the quality service they offer, which allows them to more closely connect with their customers. It might seem trivial, but working with photos, Supreet tells me, requires empathy, as they deal with the largest of life events every single day; births, weddings, funerals and all the precious moments in between. This combination of quality and care is what makes The New Photo Company unique.

As is true of many other businesses on the High Street, The New Photo Company has been hit by economic realities, but in forging a close link with the local community, Supreet reckons he’s found support for his business which he wouldn’t find anywhere else. In order to strengthen this bond, Supreet has ambitious plans to open the studio as an events space, working with local artists to showcase their work, as well as growing the already impressive studio and film development side of the business.

Although the business in its current form is still fairly young, the focus, as with so many of our independent businesses, on passionately serving the local area and community, means that The New Photo Company surely has a bright future ahead of it.

Supreet’s Favourite Businesses: Supreet found it very hard to name just a few favourite businesses, but special mentions went to A Painted Room, The Early Bird Bakery, Gorilla Coffee Café, Harvest, Soul Chicken, and Laylow, an independent masseuse from South Africa.

Contact: The New Photo Company is situated at 151 C High Street, next to Holland and Barrett. You can find their Instagram @thenewphotoco. You can also reach them by phone at 0121 444 0323.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>