The owners of Sarber's Cameras, one of Montclair Village's oldest businesses, plan to retire and are in talks with potential buyers in the hopes of keeping the store open after late September.
"We don't have the financial means to keep the store relevant and to maintain the services and supplies our customers require," said David Sarber, Sarber's chief operating officer. "I just don't have the resources to get the job done."
Events of the last decade, such as the tsunami in Asia, flooding in Thailand and the financial crisis, have caused significant challenges for the business, affecting its supply chain and credit lines.
"It's heartbreaking," said customer Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer who has been shopping at Sarber's Cameras since 1976. "It's been more than a business relationship. They are friends, and the Sarbers epitomize the backbone of the community, and ... I wish them well."
Sarber's Cameras is one of the oldest camera stores in Oakland, founded when Sarber's parents, Peter and Nancy Sarber, bought Oakland Camera Exchange in 1961. The store had been operating on 14th Street downtown since the 1920s.
The Sarbers opened their second location in Montclair in 1964, calling it Sarber's Montclair Camera Exchange. The name was later shortened to Sarber's Cameras. The Village location did so well that the couple decided to close the downtown location the following year.
Over the past few decades, the Sarber family
Today, David runs the operation, along with his wife, Jessica, the company's chief financial officer. Nancy, the mother, is the majority owner and still works at the store (her late husband, Peter, died in 1998).
"If it feels right, it must be right," said Nancy. "This is the right time for David and Jessica. We are in this together no matter what."
"I am very proud of what Sarber's Cameras has provided to our community over the past five decades. It is with a very heavy heart and some guilt that we will no longer be here for our customers," shared David.