Arrow Camera Digital Imaging


Locally owned & operated since 1952,Arrow Camera is one of the oldest businesses in Santa Maria. In 1943, Wynn Bullock, the famous photographer, founded Arrow Photo then located at 120 Church Street, Santa Maria.

Hank Datter, bought the business from Wynn Bullock in 1952. In order to facilitate the addition of color processing, the company moved to 207 West Main street which used to be the Santa Maria Times where processing was done in the back of the building. As the company grew, the lab was relocated to 105 South Broadway in Old Orcutt, while the retail business grew on West Main Street.
With a larger lab, Arrow did most of the processing for the camera and drugstores up and down the central coast.

The first one-hour photo-processing lab opened in 1983 in the target shopping center, additional 1 Hour-Processing Labs opened shortly later in the Acorn plaza in Orcutt and Atascadero.
In 1994, with the changes in the photo finishing industry, the one Hour locations were closed.  Arrow Photo then moved from its original location on Main Street to a former bank building with a drive up window at 429 east Main Street. We had a camera store traditional processing lab and digital imaging lab and portrait studio.

In April 2011 Hank Datter died at age 90. The Manager Margrit Holmes who has worked for the Company since 1979 took over the Company to keep his Legacy going. The company relocated to 700 East Main street Suite 103 and is  operating a Quality Photo Lab and Portrait Studio with out the Camera store.For the last fifteen years we have been aggressively working toward the digital age.

Arrow Camera today.
Arrow  Camera is located on the central coast one hour drive drive north of Santa Barbara.We offer Traditional I Hour Processing and printing from digital files on photographic archival paper canvas and metals. Our Large Poster Printer allows us to print archival (approx Years) giant enlargements and in house metal and canvas prints (gallery wrap)

Custom design, collages, pamphlets, flyers and business cards.  General photography from product, corporate, high school seniors, passport and family pictures.  We can manipulate, restore, enhance and create your pictures.  We are dedicated to give you the best quality and fastest Services in town, often while you wait for it.
We are here for you and we can give you support via email text phone call or in person. Our knowledgeable Team is always available for you.

Arrow Camera takes great pride in our high quality production, extensive product knowledge & friendly, professional service.
We are on the leading edge of photography & digital services today, allowing us to deliver the finest results in the shortest possible time.

Our story written by Jennifer Best Santa Maria Times
No successful business person can sit on her laurels and watch the world go by. They work to evolve their businesses as technology and customer needs and desires change. Perhaps in no industry is that more apparent than in the photo business, and at no time more so than this age of the internet.
Since 1952, Arrow Camera Digital Photo & Imaging Center has provided the Central Coast with a variety of customer services, from its initial focus on photo processing to camera sales and service, and now to digital photo production.
“It’s been a challenging road. The photo industry changes so rapidly. You can’t sit in a chair and figure you have it all figured out. You have to be highly motivated. Every day, you have to learn something new,” said Margrit Holmes.
Holmes has owned the business since 2011, but Arrow’s history extends back to 1943 when now-renowned photographer Wynn Bullock opened a commercial photo lab at 120 Church Street.
“We have quite a track record,” Holmes said.
Hank Datter purchased the business from Bullock in 1952, then moved Arrow to the old Santa Maria Times building, 207 W. Main St., where a retail store took over the front while photo processing dominated the back.
By the 1950s, business was booming, and Datter expanded and added color photo processing by adding a facility in Orcutt in the old church across the road from Jack’s Restaurant. Larger facilities and a growing staff meant Arrow was able to provide film processing for camera stores and drug stores up and down the Central Coast.
In 1983, Arrow opened its first one-hour photo-processing lab at Target Shopping Center, with additional quick labs added at Acorn Plaza in Orcutt and in Atascadero shortly thereafter, Holmes said. Then came the digital age
By 1994, with home printers and digital cameras coming onboard, it was time for a metamorphosis. The one-hour locations were closed, and Arrow moved to East Main Street where a drive-up window provided customers quick access.
In the midst of it all came Holmes, who worked for Datter for 30 years before taking over the business following his death, at the age of 98, in 2011.
“Hank really put his heart and soul into the company. I was very dedicated to him, and I couldn’t see closing the company. It's been on the Central Coast for too long,” Holmes said.
The customer base also was too strong, and too deep, to let go, though the advent of the internet brought about fewer and fewer local sales.
“As technology changed and the focus of everything changed, businesses that used to make a go of it couldn’t do it anymore,” said Steve Lewis, retired Hancock College photo instructor. “With the advent of online ordering, you can find the best price and have just about anything you want delivered within two days. A store has to sell customer service. That’s something that’s lost on a lot of people now.”“I knew the only way I could survive in this business was to eliminate the camera store and take the company back to its core: developing and printing film,” Holmes said.
Today, Arrow Camera Digital Photo & Imaging Center provides both old-school film processing and modern digital processing, canvas prints, printing on metal and large prints up to 64 inches wide. Digital workstations also allow customers to bring in everything from digital cameras to thumb drives, even camera phones, where customers can download, manipulate and edit images prior to printing. Color and black-and-white photo paper and film remain available, largely for Hancock College photography students who still learn the traditional photo skills.

“More young people are shooting film. It’s the new, hip thing,” Holmes said.
Arrow staff members can also provide a variety of services including photo restoration, slide scanning and image digitization, video editing, video transfers, and slideshow production for special events. There’s a photo studio, and photographers on staff are available for everything from executive portraits to family photos.
“We encourage customers to bring shoeboxes of photos and slides. We provide fast turnaround times at high quality and reasonably low prices. We’re a small business. We have to do what mass producers cannot, which is provide customer service and high-quality,” Holmes said.
About Us Store Hours ©Arrow Camera 2017
700 E. Main Street Suite 103
Santa Maria CA 93454
Tel 805 922 2928
Owner, Margrit Holmes
The Store 9am - 5.30 pm Mon-Friday
History 10am-5.00 pm Saturday
Old Time Photos