Though its heyday is behind it, Polaroid is still trying to carve a space in the photography sector, and it’s hoping brick and mortar storefronts might do the
trick. The company has announced that it will be opening several retail stores based on its Fotobar service, which lets users upload, enhance, and print shots from smartphones or cameras. The first store will open during February in Delray Beach, Florida, with at least nine more to follow in New York, Boston, Las Vegas, and elsewhere.
Fotobar opened as an online-only store in October, printing photos from phones or social services like Instagram and offering editing tools and filters. It’s not really all that hard to share, save, edit, or even print photos elsewhere, so physical Fotobars will also be banking on “Phototenders” who can guide users through the process and on evoking the “classic Polaroid experience.” Polaroid is already playing on the nostalgia value of its brand with updated versions of its instant printing cameras, and Fotobar is one of several online retailers experimenting with offline service, but with online competitors and a fairly niche product, it’s a somewhat risky endeavor.