The fall of film and the rise of digital photography has forced Saskatoon's last independent camera store to close. ((David Duprey/Associated Press))

With the rise of the digital age, the owners of Saskatoon's last independent camera store believe it was only a matter of time until they'd be forced to close up shop.

"I've made a lot of excellent friends." - Bryan Herlene

For Phase 2 Foto Source, that day has come.

"Over the last few years we've been running very close to the edge and we decided maybe this was the time to call it an end while we can do it on our terms," said co-owner John Waddington.

The shop has built a solid customer base over the years by maintaining a sharp focus on product knowledge and customer service.

"I've made a lot of excellent friends, people that came through the door that over the years have become friends of mine," said business partner Bryan Herlene.

Herlene came on board about a decade ago, because of his knowledge of the latest trends in photography. Back then, he recalled, developing people's pictures was a big part of the job.  

"Film was king and there were days when we were getting in more work than we could physically complete in a short period of time. "

Digital kills the developing business 

Then, along came digital photography. For Herlene and his co-owners, it changed everything.

"Now people come in [and say] I've got this phone and I need one print, two prints."

Still, Phase 2 stayed focussed, pushing forward, trying to stay on top of the digital revolution in photography, and doing their best to meet the needs of that loyal customer base.

"I'm feeling proud that we were able to out maneuver the industry long enough to last as long as we did," said Waddington.

Still, Phase 2 will fade out in 2016, closing its doors at the end of January. The last of its kind in Saskatoon — gone.

It will be a sad day for the owners and their customers.

"It's been part of my life for many, many years," said Waddington.

"I've spent since 1979 in the camera business and I love it," added Herlene.