First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Fred Lerner: I’m fine, but the Covid crisis is causing a great deal of stress for many of our employees, friends and family members. I’m spending time talking with people that otherwise would have been spent on business matters.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded 1 Hour Photo.
Fred Lerner: I’ve spent my entire career in the photographic industry. I’m in the middle of my 7th business startup, having made 25 acquisitions, completed one IPO, sold two of my businesses to Kodak, one to Fuji and the others privately.
· United Nations’ Hall of Fame recipient and Board of Director member of the International Photographic Council
· Past President of the Photo Marketing Association International
· Founder and CEO of Kodak Processing Labs
· Featured partner of NBC’s Today Show
· Linkedin profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredhlerner/
How does 1 Hour Photo innovate?
Fred Lerner: We started off building websites to compete with Shutterfly and Snapfish and acquiring our competitors. As users went mobile, we developed a phone app called 1 Hour Photo and connected it to over 18,000 stores like CVS Drug, Walgreens, Walmart and Duane Reade (in New York City) so people can take a photo on their phone and print in 1 Hour….works perfectly!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Fred Lerner: As many people were hesitant about going to stores, we added a “Ship to Home” option!
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Fred Lerner: The most difficult choices I’ve always had in business was terminating someone…which I still find difficult. The other difficult choice I have faced is when I sell my business and leave behind the people that have become like family.