Camera Craft to close as other longtime Rockford business evolves

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford businesses come and go, but some make lasting impressions with the community.

When you enter Camera Craft in Rockford, you are greeted by a bubbly personality who might know your name if you’ve been there more than once and even the camera you shot with. As the saying goes though, as one door closes another one opens.

This is the hard decision Tom Brady, owner of the camera store had to make after nearly 30 years of ownership.

“We just had our best two years ever coming back from COVID. The most sales, the most profit in 2021 and 2022,” said Brady, “I’m gonna move from behind the counter to back behind the camera. I love taking pictures out in the National Parks, so I hope to do a lot of that.

Camera Craft first opened in 1930, nearly a century ago. Brady spent most of his childhood in Camera Craft when his father was the owner back in the mid-60′s.

He says the store essentially runs in the family.

“All of my siblings worked here so there were eight of us and my own children. There were five of us so they worked here in high school and college,” said Brady.

He says walking away from it, and the customers is beyond difficult. Brady says although he will be saying goodbye to those customers who have also become his friends, he can keep the memories alive through photos. The support he’s received has been outstanding and heartfelt, expressed Brady.

“Like my job brings joy so it makes it really easy to work here,” said Nick Nuraz, who owns Toad Hall, a vintage book and records store.

Toad Hall is another business that has been on the block since 1980 and will soon toast to 50 years. The book and records store offers a variety of vintage items from vinyls to pinball machines, to posters, books and more.

“People are genuinely happy when they come in and find something from their childhood or from 20 years ago, 40 years, ago. Whatever it may be that brings them back,” said Nuraz.

Brady says Camera Craft will remain open until April 8, with everything in the store 50-75% off. Customers are encouraged to stop in as shelves are almost empty.