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Polaroid To Open Retail Stores

Delray Beach, Fla. – Polaroid and Fotobar plan to launch a chain of wireless photo editing and finishing stores this year.

The first of their Polaroid Fotobars is slated to open here in February, and will be followed by at least nine more locations in Boston, Las Vegas, New York and other markets.

The service was first launched online in October at

The 2,000-square-foot “experiential” stores will allow customers to download and edit images from their mobile devices and social networking sites, and have them printed with a wide variety of materials, substrates and framing options to transform them into “premium quality art,” Polaroid said.

The company will employ a proprietary, patent-pending technology to wirelessly transmit customers’ photos to the stores’ bar-top workstations, where they can be enhanced with contrast, red-eye correction, brightness and filter effects.

Consumers can order their images framed, matted and/or printed directly onto a variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo. The orders will be handcrafted and shipped worldwide within 72 hours.

The stores will be staffed by experienced “Phototenders,” and will also feature a multi-purpose studio room that can hold photo classes, private parties and a studio location for portrait photos.

 Polaroid described the stores as “cool” and “hip,” and envisions them becoming “a recreational and entertainment destination in addition to a place to shop.”

Polaroid plans to discuss its plans for the chain at a 75th Anniversary event at its Central Hall booth at International CES next Wednesday.

“Polaroid Fotobar retail stores represent a perfect modern expression of the values for which we have stood for 75 years,” said Polaroid president/CEO Scott Hardy. “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.”

Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, a Polaroid licensee, noted, “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. 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.”