Enstrom’s broadens horizons with new Cloquet studioIf it’s true, as they say, that “every photograph’s a memory,” then Enstrom Studio of Cloquet represents an entire lifetime. The popular local photography business, part of the 104-year-old tradition that grew out of a small studio in Bovey, recently moved into new quarters at 111 Avenue C in Cloquet’s Historic West End district.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
If it’s true, as they say, that “every photograph’s a memory,” then Enstrom Studio of Cloquet represents an entire lifetime.
The popular local photography business, part of the 104-year-old tradition that grew out of a small studio in Bovey, recently moved into new quarters at 111 Avenue C in Cloquet’s Historic West End district.
And along with Enstrom’s new, improved look comes a renewed commitment to record the life and times of the community in fresh and original ways.
Enstrom’s has studios in Virginia, Bovey and Cloquet and recently purchased one in St. Paul as well.
“We’ve done a lot of new hiring and are adding new photographers all the time, so that’s been a benefit to the community,” said Cloquet Studio Manager Toni Halverson.
Now co-owned by former Denny’s photographer Butch Sobania and Mark Hanson (formerly of Kodak), Enstrom Studio employs 28 full time and 25 part-time employees companywide.
Once known locally as Denny’s Studio, the Cloquet photography business was purchased by Enstrom in 1980.
When Enstrom Studio first learned last spring that the space its Cloquet studio occupied in Southgate Bowl would no longer be available, the company found a new location in the former Gamble Lumber Company building on Avenue C.
“There was a lot of work to be done,” said Halverson. “They had to acid wash the walls and floors and reconstruct it to suit what our needs were going to be, and they did a wonderful job.”
The local branch of Enstrom Studio moved in to its new quarters on June 1.
The move greatly increased the studio’s square footage from around 1,000 square feet to 5,400, making not only for more “elbow room” but a vastly enhanced photography potential.
“We’ve really made use of the original construction of the building as far as the studio goes,” said Halverson. “We kept the natural brick and the original rafters where the lumber was once stored, so we have wonderful backgrounds and great, high ceilings for lighting.”
In fact, this summer Enstrom actually had a high school senior drive his car right inside the studio through the overhead garage door, and the photographer shot him with the car against an all-white background with graphics on the wall behind him.
“We wanted that old, authentic look for the studio, so we can shoot against the natural brick in the back,” said Halverson, “and we’ve even shot photos of a couple of seniors up in the rafters who wanted something a little bit different. Butch always makes the statement, ‘There’s nothing we can’t do,’ and so far he’s hit it right!”
Enstrom’s new Cloquet studio space features a couple of large changing rooms, is completely handicapped accessible and even has a wide screen TV viewing area to view photographs.
Since all of the photography is now digital, many special effects can be created, including spot colorizing, sepia or black and white images.
“Peggy Vacura, the lead photographer in Cloquet, is very excited about the things she does and is a really good photographer,” stated Halverson.
Vacura was also promoted to customer service representative for the company last year and works one-on-one to guarantee quality assurance.
Cindy Bourdages is Halverson’s assistant and in training to become a photographer, and the local studio also recently hired Jen Anderson as a part-time photographer as well.
While the regular hours for the Cloquet office of Enstrom Studio are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon, Halverson said they will try to accommodate people’s time schedules as best they can.
“If you tell me you’re in the military and about to be deployed to Iraq, for example, I’ll bend over backwards for you!” she added with a smile. “We will fit you in, some way, some how.”
Enstrom Studio can be contacted by calling 218-879-9231.More from around the web