Born from Passion, Creativity and Hard Work
Businesses like Colorchrome do not suddenly appear, fully formed, from thin air. They are born from passion, creativity, hard work, and an idea. For us, that idea first coalesced several decades ago in the mind of a kid who loved taking pictures, John Rhodes. We thought we would spend some time telling you John’s business journey, from the days of pre-digital photography to the technologically advanced company that Colorchrome is today.
John Rhodes, our founder, was determined to start a company from the time he was ten years old. A born entrepreneur, he started with lemonade stands, washing cars, and mowing lawns, but his passion was always photography. His first camera, a gift from his father, was a Kodak Instamatic camera. Over the years, the Instamatic was replaced by a Polaroid, and then the Minolta SRT101 35mm SLR, which he used to take photos as his high school yearbook photographer.
As John grew up, so did his skillset, and before long he used those skills earning money to help pay for college. He landed a job at a local photo lab learning to print wedding and portrait photographs while earning a degree from the University of Georgia in Business Administration and Marketing. After graduating, he worked for three years at Meisel, one of the largest photo labs in the country, quickly moving up through middle management. At the age of 25, he decided to merge his entrepreneurial spirit with his love of photography and burgeoning printing skills by starting his own business. Colorchrome was born.
The Future Comes into Focus
This wasn’t the only new adventure John started in 1983; he also married Betty, his long-time sweetheart, partner, and now co-founder of Colorchrome. Together, they devised a business plan and came up with hundreds of name options, eventually deciding on Colorchrome Atlanta, Incorporated. Of course, their original business model was much smaller scale than what we are today. Originally, our business aimed to be the best at one very specific thing: directly printing color photo enlargements from transparencies, also called “chromes”. Thus, Color + chrome. These prints were used as corporate decorative art that professional photographers would sell. As we grew and became more global, shipping artwork and graphics all over the world, we dropped Atlanta from our name and became simply Colorchrome.
By providing exceptional prints and hands-on customer service, the company began to grow. As our clients wanted more, John would find ways to accommodate their wishes, obtaining new equipment and implementing cutting-edge technologies. John’s business acumen and interest in new technology allowed Colorchrome to ride the waves of a rapidly evolving industry as digital imaging began to gain a foothold. Today, John considers himself not only our President but our Chief Technology Officer. He is always learning to serve our clients better by attending trade shows around the country, networking with fellow business owners to discover the latest and best technology, researching processes and materials, and reading trade journals to stay ahead of the curve.
In the beginning, John’s biggest challenge was balancing his young family and work. Over the years, his children grew up, and were excited to join the Colorchrome team for more than just a summer job. His son, Christian, is the General Manager and John’s trusted right-hand man; his daughter, Emily, works with one of the company’s largest sales teams. “Becoming a family business has made all this a lot more fun,” John says. “It gave us a new sense of purpose. Now there really is a long-term path.”
Today, John says his most significant challenge is the technology side of the business–ensuring Colorchrome has the right technology to give our clients the industry-leading outcomes they deserve. As the industry continues to change and grow, and as our clients’ needs do the same, Colorchrome will be right there at the forefront.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Over the last 37 years, the growing Colorchrome team has been dedicated to the same vision–to provide a quality product and exceptional customer service. Colorchrome is proud to be more than just another vendor. As John always says, “We collaborate with our clients to form a partnership. We want to be our client’s most trusted supplier.”
From small beginnings, Colorchrome now employs over fifty people and utilizes over 40,000 square feet of production and fulfillment space.
As we grow, John continues to lead the team by example with his passion for learning, entrepreneurship and dedication to world class quality and service, instilling those values in every Colorchrome team member. “The teams are problem solvers,” John says. “We offer solutions, not just products.” Our goal is to know intuitively what the client needs even when the client doesn’t. That means asking lots of questions about the project as a whole and genuinely listening. “Uncover the true need,” he adds, “then determine the best solution.”
Want to chat about your company’s art, graphics or framing project? Connect with us! We’ll work together to help you find the perfect solution to suit your needs.