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Polaroid to launch 'Fotobar' locations

LAS VEGAS – Polaroid will use the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan. 8-11 as a platform to announce its plans for a series of experiential retail stores where consumers can quickly and easily liberate their favorite images from the confines of their digital devices and turn them into museum-quality art.

Polaroid Fotobar stores will be the first of their kind retail destinations designed to capitalize on the meteoric rise in people taking pictures. The goal of these experimental stores is to be cool, hip and make the process of turning peoples’ best pictures into cherished pieces of art both rewarding and fun.

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” said Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar LLC. “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

The company plans to open at least 10 Polaroid Fotobar locations in 2013, the first of which will be a 2,000-square-foot store in Delray Beach, Fla. That store, which is slated to open in February, will serve as a model for all Polaroid Fotobar locations. Future store locations in 2013 include New York, Las Vegas and Boston.

"Polaroid has always been about much more than just taking pictures,” said Polaroid President and CEO Scott W. Hardy. “Polaroid is about sharing life’s most precious and memorable moments. We have been, and continue to be, about self-expression, creativity and fun. Polaroid Fotobar retail stores represent a perfect modern expression of the values for which we have stood for 75 years. We are very excited about the opening of these stores, and the opportunities they will create for millions of consumers to have classic Polaroid experiences.”

A patent-pending proprietary technology will allow in-store customers to select their favorite pictures on their camera phones and wirelessly transmit them to one of the store’s bar-top workstations for quick and hassle-free ordering within seconds. This platform also allows customers to locate their favorite photos and instantly upload them from popular social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Picasa and several others. Uploaded photos can be enhanced on the bar-top workstations using photo-effect technologies such as contrast, red-eye correction, brightness and filters showing users the outcome as they work.

Once the images are uploaded, images can be framed, matted, and/or printed directly onto a variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo. Each Polaroid Fotobar store will be a gallery of its own, with creative, museum-quality pieces on display all around.

The stores will also be staffed by experienced “Phototenders,” each of whom will be a passionate photo enthusiast trained to help guide customers through the process from start to finish. The Delray Beach location will also feature a multi-purpose room that will host photo classes, private parties and include a studio location for portrait photos. Polaroid Fotobar store creators envision the stores becoming a recreational and entertainment destination in addition to a place to shop.

All products created by consumers at Polaroid Fotobar retail stores (with the exception of certain poster products made on-site) are handcrafted and shipped from the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility within 72 hours. Customers may then return to the stores to make additional products for their personal use or as gifts, or use the same service online at www.polaroidfotobar.com.

– From wire services

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