The History of Fotomat, Part 3

As time went by, and further advancements in technology, Fotomat was forced to make changes in their product line. 

Fotomat store today old vintage cameraWith the continuing shift in technology and increasing competition, we saw the decline of the physical retail Fotomat presence and the disappearance of the famous Fotomat lettering on their kiosks.   

vintage 1970s fotomat booth at night
It seemed the sun had finally set on Fotomat.  The company was once again forced to make changes.  The main product of Fotomat and their new presence became a virtual one.  Fotomat began offering an online digital photo software on their website:  Fotomat.com. 

Throughout the 2000's, Fotomat worked hard to continue amid a virtual sea of other online competitors and changing technology.  By the first of September, 2009, the software had been discontinued and online functions had ceased.  The website still allows users the ability to maintain online photo albums but recommends that customers begin switching to the Kodak Gallery service.

The History of Fotomat, Part 2

Fotomats thrived and became a public company in 1971 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1977.

vintage 1960s 1970s kodak fotomat boothAmerica fell in love with the ease of Fotomat's drive-thru service and many available locations.
For several years, Fotomat was on the cusp of innovation, offering friendly service at good prices.  Their biggest selling point being the "one-day" photo development.  This, while the competition took two days or longer, helped feed America's love of efficiency.
It seems, however, that all good things must eventually come to an end.  Fotomat's main product, the one-day development, was eventually made obsolete by one-hour photo development that was now wide-spread throughout other retail outlets.


The History of Fotomat, Part 4: Today

And what of those famous, Fotomat kiosks...?

Vintage fotomat booth left vacant

Many have been demolished, relocated, abandoned...

...Or have found new life.

Today Fotomat Store History of
More Pictures of Fotomat Booths
We will continue adding new photos as they are located.  Check back with us often....

Vintage Fotomat TV Commercials

A Collection of vintage television ads for Fotomat:

A Compilation of Vintage Fotomat TV Commercials

A 1980's Fotomat TV Commercial

A 1984 Fotomat TV Commercial

Fotomat Logo and Theme

Pam Dawber in 1980's Fotomat Commercial

Rare!  An old home movie of a Fotomat employee.
Radio advertisement for Fotomat
Fotomat Preferred Customer Card Commercial
1980 Fotomat TV Commercial


The History of Fotomat, Part 1

The Story of Fotomat Begins....

Founded by Preston Mitchell Fleet, of San Diego in 1965,
History of Fotomat PhotomatFotomat Corporation was a once thriving widespread retail chain of drive-thru kiosks located in shopping center parking lots across America.  The stores offered photo development services, film, accessories, and eventually video cassette tapes.  They were one of the first to offer video cassette rentals.  Initially, only Paramount Pictures movies were available.  There were 131 total movie titles offered.  By 1980, Walt Disney Home Entertainment began offering. for the first time, their movie line.
Fotomat Photomat Vintage PicturesAt one time, there were more than 4,000 Fotomats all over the US. Most were found in suburban supermarket and stip mall parking lots.   Fotomat kiosks were easily recognized for their golden yellow pyramid shaped roofs. 
Female Fotomat employees were refered to as Fotomates while male employees were called Fotomacs. Their uniforms were a royal blue and yellow smock for the ladies and a light blue polo for the men.

 (Our Fotomat story continues in Part 2.  Go to the top of the page and select "The History of Fotomat, Part 2.")