Woodstock Trading Company, a small hippy store, has been in business in Cherry Hill since 1981. During that time, its little domain on Rt 70 has become crammed with highway businesses and suburban shopping centers. WTC stands out as a unique little island.
Seventy-nine year old Gladys “Mom” Glass, successfully runs the store with her cat, six days a week. Her merchandise includes hundreds of T-shirts, incense, jewelry, beads and all kinds of rock and roll memorabilia, but no paraphernalia. It is not a head shop.
I was visiting because I was curious. I had passed the store while on a assignment and stopped to get some exterior photos. It was closed at the time.
I got another assignment in the same area and knew I wanted to the see inside and meet the proprietor. I expected a bearded guy with a long gray ponytail and a bandana but instead was warmly greeted by Mom who let me take photos and gave me insight into her success.
The fluorescent lighting was bright, but awful , like most fluorescent lighting, so I needed to add my own light, a handheld speedlight with a radio slave. I wanted to add just enough light to highlight Mom. The images were processed in Lightroom and Camera RAW.
The speedlight did the job but cast shadows in a few shots. Adding a little vignetting helps keep the viewers eyes on Mom while also darting into the other areas of the photo. That’s what my eyes do.
It was fun photographing and learning Mom’s success as a retailer for 38 years. It is her attitude. She loves this store, her people and being there. Far from running a sleepy, old store Mom keeps things active with classes, bands and other events. She has a loyal clientele. “We have a lot of fun.” she tells me.
Lesson learned? Business can be tough and change frequently but when you are fueled by a good attitude you have a distinct advantage. You will more than likely need to adapt, maybe frequently like Mom has needed to do, and when you have a good attitude you are resilient. Also keep a speedlite handy.