‘Louisiana’s business climate needs help,’ she says.
Member Profile: Staci Albritton, Albritton Photography
When Staci Albritton went away to college at Louisiana State University, she thought she would get away from the family business—her parents owned a camera store and mini photography lab. However, she couldn’t see herself working for anyone else, so six months after graduation, she moved back to West Monroe, Louisiana, and went into business with her parents. That year, 1990, Albritton Photography opened for business.
At first, the business consisted of just Staci and her parents. Staci and her father were the photographers, and Staci’s mother did the books. Over the years, however, the business grew to employ four full-time and two part-time employees. After Staci’s mother passed away and her father retired in 2007, Staci purchased his shares.
These days, Albritton Photography has two divisions: a volume division, which offers photography services to schools, youth sports leagues and dance recitals; and a portrait division, which specializes in high-end portraits of families, children, high school seniors and business professionals.
Staci says the dawn of the “digital era” was one of the biggest challenges her business has faced.
“Not only did my business go totally digital in the way I photographed, the way my artist did retouching, the way my salesperson previewed and sold images and the way my production staff ordered images, but the consumers also now had digital cameras and computers,” she says. “Photographers—or people who thought they could be photographers—popped up everywhere.”
Now, with Louisiana facing a historic fiscal crisis, Staci is also worried about the potential impact to her business.
“I think Louisiana’s business climate needs help,” she says. “Businesses like mine need consumers to have more disposable income. Portraits are not a necessity, so when the economy is slow, portrait sales dip.”
Staci adds that she is most concerned about the state’s budget deficit. She says she thinks legislators should look at reforming the corporate tax structure, collecting sales taxes on online purchases (like those through Amazon), reducing tax credits and analyzing the state’s consultation contracts before adding a penny sales tax increase.
“If consumers are paying more in taxes, that means less disposable income, which means less spending at Albritton Photography,” she says. “If the inventory tax and income taxes are increased, it obviously will hurt all businesses. Those increased costs will have to be passed on to the consumer. It’s all a big cycle.”
Joining NFIB helped Staci have a better understanding of state policy issues, as well a voice to speak out on how these issues impact her business, and she advises other small business owners to follow suit.
“Be active in your local community,” she says. “Get to know your elected officials and let them know how you feel and what you think about issues. Join NFIB because individually we are small, but together we are a force.”