Someone You Should Know: Family business helps others preserve memories

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 8:45 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Bob Hanson is the president of Harold’s in Sioux Falls.

“For over 100 years, we’ve been letting people, our family’s been letting other families enjoy their life that they’ve lived and remember it,” he said.

Bob’s grandfather, Emil, opened the family business in Downtown Sioux Falls in 1910.

“We’re a survivor, and there aren’t a lot of us left,” Bob said.

Emil’s sons, Harold and Howard, built the business as things changed in photography. Howard was Bob’s dad.

“Cameras started becoming easier to use. More and more people used them. Film went from black and white to color and became much more popular in the 50s and 60s and 70s,” Bob said.

The Hanson family opened more stores, then kiosks for one-hour photo. Bob worked for the business after college, starting full time in 1969.

“It’s almost amazing to think back. You live through it, and you don’t really know what’s going on,” he said.

Because of the digital age, Harold’s is down to one store on 41st Street in Sioux Falls, mainly run by the fourth generation of the Hanson family.

“It definitely has some challenges, but it’s also really rewarding,” Andrew Hanson said. He is one of Bob’s three kids. Davis, Andrew, and Emily all work at the store. Bob said he’s basically retired but still comes in to the store to work every day.

“Real hard-working, tenacious. He kind of always knows the right thing to do. He’s always right,” Emily Erfman said.

“Very smart business man and lucky to have a good mentor and role model,” Andrew said.

They all agree working in a family business is great but can be tough sometimes.

“It’s great. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. We get to have lunch together every day,” Davis said. “I always kind of joke that there’s no way it’s going to make it past this 4th generation, but it’s a burden but also kind of a- it’s a wonderful thing to try to keep going.”

Harold’s offers a variety of photo gifts, framing, enlargements, and archiving of old photos or slides in a digital format. The store on West 41st Street has been open since the 1950s.

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