National Camera downtown location closed

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March 28, 2011 // UPDATED 2:38 pm - April 1, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss
After nearly 30 years at its current location, National Camera’s downtown location has closed. The news of the closure came as an abrupt blow to many of the store’s loyal customers, but founder John Liss is hopeful that it’s not the end of National Camera’s presence downtown.

“I’d like to stay,” says Liss. “And I don’t think you’d condemn the building. But it has to be a safe and healthy place for people to work.” According to Liss, the building requires extensive repairs to both the interior and exterior. One corner of the building is essentially held together with giant metal staples, and cracks in the brick led to water damage to the interior. The electrical system is also in need of significant updates, and the result is a building that needs significant repairs. Repairs that can’t happen while the store remains open.

Both Liss and store manager Megan Boesen say that the city of Minneapolis has contacted National Camera and expressed interest in keeping them in the space or helping the store find a new location downtown. “If I can find a way to finance the repairs of both the interior and exterior, we’ll do them and stay,” said Liss. “The city likes having us there as an anchor in the Theater District. But there are advantages to finding a new space too. The downtown location is the smallest of our stores. If we found a bigger space, we could put a lab in, we could have a bigger footprint. One way or the other, we’d like to be back downtown in six months to a year.”