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Photo Specialty Retailer Expanding, Keeping Roots in Indy

Posted by jpellman on June 11, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (June 11, 2014) - Roberts Distributors, L.P. d/b/a Roberts Camera, a retailer of photo, video and electronics equipment, announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating up to 35 new jobs by 2018.

The homegrown-Hoosier company will invest $2.54 million to lease, renovate and equip a 35,000 square-foot facility located at 220 E. St. Clair St. in Indianapolis. As part of the expansion, the company will move its flagship operations, currently located at 255 S. Meridian St. in Indianapolis, to the new location. The expansion, which is expected to be complete by mid-September, will allow Roberts Camera to grow its online sales channel, UsedPhotoPro, and offer a larger variety of product lines and equipment, as well as provide a wider range of photography experiences and classes as part of the expansion.

"Roberts Camera has long been a staple in Indy and we are happy they chose to grow here," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "Roberts Camera's growth and success will hopefully pave the way for other companies to expand their e-commerce opportunities and take advantage of Indy's ideal location for logistics and distribution."

Roberts Camera, which currently operates a facility in Indianapolis and one in Carmel, plans to begin hiring sales, marketing, warehouse, distribution and photo specialty positions at the end of the year.

"We are thrilled to be expanding in our hometown. We have always been an Indiana company and believe in the quality of the local workforce," said Bruce Pallman, operating partner and owner of Roberts Camera. "We want to expand in an environment that supports small business. We are excited about what this new location offers in terms of growth opportunity and helping us continue to evolve with this ever-changing retail marketplace."

Founded in 1957 by Robert and Rose Pallman, Roberts Camera sells photography equipment, including cameras, lighting, storage and accessories as well as offering photo printing services. Having done business out of its current downtown Indianapolis location since 1970, the company is among a handful of major photo specialty stores in the United States and serves customers at all levels of photography.

"With Indy's central location and accessibility, Roberts Camera's new e-commerce distribution center is a natural fit for this expansion," said Brian Gildea, vice president of Indianapolis economic development at the Indy Chamber. "The distribution industry has seen rapid growth in e-commerce in recent years which bodes well for the future of this booming sector in Indy for years to come."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Roberts Distributors up to $150,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $18,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Indianapolis supports this project at the request of Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber.

"Long-standing Indiana institutions like Roberts Camera know that Indiana's strong workforce and low-tax business environment set the scene for success," said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "Roberts Camera has a long history here, from its roots as a general store to its current focus on photography. This expansion is just a snapshot of the growth Indiana's economy is enjoying from its strong business climate, all made possible here in a state that works."

Roberts Camera is the most recent company to announce growth plans in Central Indiana. So far this year, 50 companies have chosen Central Indiana for new investment and job opportunities, accounting for more than 7,500 projected jobs for Hoosiers in the years to come.

About Roberts Camera
Roberts Camera opened its doors in 1957 in downtown Indianapolis as a wholesale store that sold everything from jewelry and watches to appliances and cameras. In 1970, Roberts Distributors moved to its current location of 255 S. Meridian Street, where the focus of the company went from wholesale and jewelry to a photo and electronic specialty store. Today, Roberts prides itself on a wonderful staff with extensive knowledge about photography and the products, as well as great customer service. Roberts has been family owned and operated since the start and has been run by Bruce Pallman, Managing Partner, for the past 40 years. For more information, please visit: http://robertscamera.com. Connect with other photographers and stay up with the latest photography news by Liking us on Facebook via facebook.com/robertscamera, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with @robertscamera.

About Indy Chamber
The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 3,000 businesses representing 230,000 employees in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. In 2012, the Indy Chamber merged with Indy Partnership, Develop Indy, and Business Ownership Initiative. For more information about the Indy Chamber, visit IndyChamber.com.

About IEDC
Created in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence. Victor Smith serves as the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Eric Doden is the president of the IEDC.

The IEDC oversees programs enacted by the General Assembly including tax credits, workforce training grants and public infrastructure assistance. All tax credits are performance-based. Therefore, companies must first invest in Indiana through job creation or capital investment before incentives are paid. A company who does not meet its full projections only receives a percentage of the incentives proportional to its actual investment. For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Bruce Pallman (Roberts Camera) - 317.636.5544 or bpallman(at)robertscamera.com
Ashley Elrod (Indy Chamber) - 317.903.9825 or aelrod(at)indychamber.com
Katelyn Hancock (IEDC) - 317.234.2294 or kahancock(at)iedc.in.gov