Overland Park Photo Business Celebrates Move to Martin City
By Kathy Feist
On Saturday, May 26, Heartland Imaging KC, a full-service photography shop, will celebrate its move from Overland Park to Martin City with a grand reopening at its new location in the historic bank building at 510 E. 135th St.
The event, which runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will include Betty Rae’s Ice Cream truck, free wine samplings from Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, a Daguerreotype photo booth, discounts on products and a raffle. Fezziwigs, which specializes in wood-crafted decor, will reveal a new handcrafted board game.
The event follows a ribbon-cutting on Friday, May 25 at 10 a.m. hosted by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Heartland Imaging (HiKC) provides high quality photo reproduction in various sizes and finishes, including canvas and aluminum. Other services include photo restoration, scanning, transferring VHS tapes or movie film to DVD, cameras and lens sales, camera repair, event photography, drone video, custom framing and photo accessories. Classes and workshops are offered as well.
The business also provides do-it-yourself photo kiosks for the average person off the street. Martin City visitors can download pictures from their phone, go have lunch, and return an hour later for a high quality photo of any size. With (or without) the help of a professional designer on staff, photos can be cropped or Photoshopped. The customer chooses size and format.
Heartland Imaging offers frames made by Fezziwigs, making it an ideal one-stop gift shop. “We’re like a homebound Shutterfly,” says store manager and photographer Jane Vu. In fact, like Shutterfly, HiKC offers online ordering. In the near future, Vu says they might provide local delivery as well.
Once known as Ritz Camera, Heartland Imaging was located in a big box store off 69 Highway and Metcalf. It was purchased by local entrepreneur Patrick Cocherl, Jr. in 2012. He moved it to Martin City in March. Vu, who has worked at the store for the past three years, comments on the relocation.
“There was great volume at the other location,” she says. “But we’re investing in the future of Martin City, which could be another Westport or downtown Overland Park. There’s a great community vibe here.”
Cocherl is a major investor in Martin City. In 2009 he purchased the red brick bank building, originally to use as storage space for his computer repair business nearby. However, recognizing its historic value, he decided instead to bring back the century old building to its original splendor.
He and his son Ryan began collecting old photos of Martin City as well as antique toys to go along with the building’s Christmas-themed name: the Bailey Bros. Savings and Loan Bldg. from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Decorated with authentic antiques from the time period, it was a locked up museum known more for its role in Martin City’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony where Santa sat and listened to children’s dream lists. The “garage” that stretches behind it was used for warehouse purposes.
In 2015 Cocherl and his son began playing around with ideas for the store. They decided to make old wood-crafted toys and games that had entertained previous generations. “I wanted to bring back a nostalgia that our grandparents used to enjoy,” says Ryan. They named the business Fezziwigs after a character in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol.”
Ryan learned to run a CNC router and soon was churning out toys and games. “The games took off,” he recalls. He produced checkers, cribbage, Chinese checkers, tic-tac-toe, marble solitaire and triangle peg boards, all uniquely crafted with vintage appeal. Eventually he added signs, clocks and frames to the offerings. At first the merchandise was primarily sold online through Etsy or at holiday marts, but last September the retail store opened at the bank building.
When Heartland Imaging moved into the building in March, the two businesses were combined and were newly branded as HiKC. Fezziwigs now operates as a product line under the Heartland Imaging KC name. For more information, go to www.sayhikc.com or www.fezziwigskc.com. Or call 816-492-7974.