A significant drop in foot traffic due to Covid-19 restrictions has forced Michaels Camera, Video & Digital to close its doors after trading in the same Melbourne premises for 105 years.

The family business will now operate online only, although the media school will remain in operation.

Appointments for special orders, repairs, photo processing and layby’s can be made via email. Gift vouchers, equipment hire vouchers and print and frame vouchers can also be redeemed via email.

The store, located on the corner of Elizabeth and Lonsdale Street, was the largest camera store in the Southern Hemisphere. In July, Michaels temporarily closed its doors due to Covid-19, which was the first time in its history to do so.

The Michaels business was established by the great grandfather of current managing director, Peter Michael, in 1916 as a pawn and gun shop. In 1928, a pharmacy was opened in the building alongside limited photographic equipment.

Peter’s father, Alan joined the family pharmacy business in 1950 but his fascination with photography led to the expansion of the photo department and by 1976, the photographic business represented 80% of total turnover. The pharmacy section was then closed by the family and photographic equipment expanded to three floors.

Michaels received the prestigious Australian Photographic Dealer of the Year award in 1988, 1997 and 2012. The award is based on criteria such as staff expertise, range of stock, store cleanliness, window displays, presentation and adherence to high business principles.

Michaels was contacted for comment but did not respond in time of publication.