Local resident Ben Bender had always nursed entrepreneurial aspirations. Now working in purchasing for a pharmaceutical company, he’d been under constant threat of downsizing at his previous job, which only underscored the need for something more self-sufficient. “I wanted to look out for myself and my family, my wife and my two little girls,” said Bender.
The hunt began. He didn’t want just any business. For one, it had to be part-time on evenings and weekends to fit with his current full-time position, and he really wanted something that would be fun and make people happy, because life is already too short.
He came across a completely new franchise called TapSnap, the brainchild of a Vancouver, Canada company DVDNow Kiosks, that specializes in kiosks.
“It’s something fun, that gives back to people and creates memories,” he said.
Launched this April at over two dozen locations across North America, TapSnap is the special event photo booth reinvented as an open-concept, high-tech phototainment system that is instantly connected to social media. It allows event guests to take their pictures with the touch of a finger on the giant 42-inch multi-touch screen, alter their photos with digital props and drawings, and share instantly with social media networks or via email.
For Bender, it was an opportunity for resurrection. His grandfather Benjamin Kadransky founded Mid-City Camera in the 1940’s and a second business Fotorama, both in downtown Philadelphia. His father Joel Bender also owned and managed the business for decades and was a fixture in the city.
“Digital killed the family business,” he said. For many years, the businesses thrived, but with the onset of digital and the big box stores, eventually they sold the business.“TapSnap brings us full circle,” said Bender.
Best of all was the moment when he called several family members to say: “The Benders are back in the photography business.”
And it is a family business again. Bender’s sister Ellyn Cohen is the VP of sales for his local franchise which is serving Philadelphia and the surrounding region.
They've teamed up with several meeting planning companies, such as EBE and Roberts Event Group, who intend to use him as a supplier for their private and corporate events.
“The meeting planners love it, because many similar products don’t work for the corporate market. With TapSnap, there’s no booth, which eliminates a lot of liability issues because it’s open concept, and the sophisticated look of the machine and small footprint means it fits in well at any venue,” said Bender. “Plus it gives their event social media clout because guests share pictures online while the event is still happening.”
He adds that when the event is over, the pictures and online photo galleries remind attendees what a fun time they had while giving the host an important record of the event, with data and information about the people who attended.
Already brother and sister team is tearing up the wedding and bar mitzvah circuit with many events in the works and there’s no rest in sight.
The last week of April is chock-a-block full of events that include a cause very close to Bender’s heart, a charity gala for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Eastern Pennsylvania on April 25 at the VIE party venue.
Also on April 25, they will be at the International Special Events Society’s ReFRESH 2013 event at Lincoln Financial Field.
On April 26, it’s the closing party/cocktail reception for Philadelphia Technology Week, held at Urban Outfitters Headquarters.
And on April 28, it’s the Pennsylvania Bridal Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
It’s all in the name of good fun, and creating memories.
“What’s the first thing people want to rescue from a burning house after they are safe?” said Bender. “It’s your photos. After any type of party the only thing you have is your memories and your photos.”