Oh, what a world
Tom’s One Hour Photo and Lab, a quaint photo studio on Los Angeles’ Beverly Boulevard, won the heart of Grammy-winning sensation Kacey Musgraves – who gave the shop a huge business boost by setting up a fan Instagram account.
According to a recount posted to Musgraves’ personal Instagram account yesterday (August 29), the country star had been wandering through the neighbourhood with her sister in search of a quick photo op when she chanced upon Tom’s little studio. Tucked away in the streets of Koreatown, the photo shop is “one of those rare mom-&-pop gems”, as Musgraves put it.
“The owner, Tom, was SO adorable,” Musgraves wrote in her post, sharing a series of dreamy photographs taken at the studio. “He not only does film developing but (cheap) and nostalgic portrait sessions too. (He gave us digital files and we edited these but he’ll shoot on film if you ask him to.) Pick your favorite background! He made them all himself.”
The singer later added that Tom’s business hasn’t been doing so well, saying that he’s struggled to keep his business alive over the last few years. Established in 1991, the shop thrived in its early days before the arrival of the digital wave slowed traffic down significantly.
To help boost his business, the Musgraves sisters started an Instagram page dedicated to Tom and his studio. “Let’s keep this charming business afloat!” she urged her fans. The account now has more than 30,000 followers.
The Musgraves sisters’ efforts have paid off: Tom has enjoyed a boost in business, with many fans making appointments for portrait sessions. “Tom’s family has been helping him and celebrating in the shop today,” one update on the appreciation Instagram account read. “They said he is very busy with lots of portrait appointments and wanted me to pass along that he will be closed Monday for Labor Day.” (Take note, Angelenos.)
Tom’s son Nick then personally reached out to Musgraves to thank her for her efforts. “THANK YOU SO MUCH for visiting and supporting us!!! I have listened to your music for so long and it makes me so happy that you graced us,” he wrote in an Instagram direct message to the singer.
In a follow-up statement on the photo lab’s fan account, the country star encouraged her fans and followers to support small local businesses. “There are soo many business just like Tom’s in your neighborhood. You walk past them every day without thinking twice,” she wrote. “Next time, stop in and spend $5. Ask questions. Spread the word. Challenge yourself to go out of your way to support them. You’ll literally be putting food on their table.”
“I know because I grew up with small business owners for parents living check to check,” she added. “You really CAN make a difference. These places are untouched by modern technology and that’s why they’re beautiful. They’re the backbone of this country and they need us.”
Musgraves is currently on her Oh, What A World: Tour II across North America. The trek will conclude at Mexico City in March 2020.