Norfolk camera store’s expansion puts focus on Richmond

Owner Nick Sutton is expanding his Norfolk-based digital camera rental company into Richmond. (Courtesy of Digital Lens Rental)

Expanding out of Hampton Roads for the first time, a digital camera rental store is lining up its shot in downtown Richmond.

Digital Lens Rental plans to open a location at 1321 1/2 E. Main St. on Nov. 2.

The company offers rentals of cameras, lenses and accessories as well as lighting and video equipment. Its customer base generally ranges from hobbyists to semi-professionals. Though equipment rental is the bulk of Digital Lens Rental’s business, it also does equipment cleaning and repair, as well as limited sales.

Owner Nick Sutton said Richmond’s creative scene made the city a good fit for his company’s second location. Sutton, who’s been a photographer for 10 years, opened his Norfolk store in 2015, seeking to fill a gap left by the departure of other camera shops from Hampton Roads.

“There used to be all these camera stores … but they closed up and went away,” he said.

Rather than get into sales, Sutton chose to focus on equipment rentals. He said the model eliminates the expenses involved in maintaining a retail inventory and entices customers with the chance to experience a piece of equipment without the cost of actually purchasing it.

“We see a lot of customers who already own some gear, a camera body, some lenses, but they don’t want to invest $5,000, $10,000 to buy other equipment,” he said.

Sutton plans to have three employees at the Richmond store, which will occupy a space within The Corner Lofts building.

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