Hi-tech photo album

Showbox, a mechanized photo album with 40 moving parts, is poised to revolutionize how Canadians store and view their photographs, says the product's Canadian distributor.Developed by a Swiss designer and first introduced in Switzerland in 1986, Showbox stores up to 40...

Showbox, a mechanized photo album with 40 moving parts, is poised to revolutionize how Canadians store and view their photographs, says the product’s Canadian distributor.

Developed by a Swiss designer and first introduced in Switzerland in 1986, Showbox stores up to 40 four-inch-by-six-inch photos, which can be advanced one at a time for individual viewing.

Holiday launch

Markham, Ont.-based General Films, a wholly owned subsidiary of Home Products, a leading picture frame distributor, is rolling out the product in time for the holiday season with hopes of selling 100,000 units by year’s end.

Derek Attwell, General Film’s product manager on Showbox, says the company believes it could sell more, but its ambitions are being reined in by a supply shortage.

Swiss-made

Showbox, which is the size of a video cassette, is made in Switzerland and distributed to markets around the world.

Since being introduced in the u.s. last fall, the product has chalked up sales in excess of $15 million.

Attwell, who expects Showbox to be one of the upcoming holiday season’s hot-selling gift items, says that before its Canadian launch, he booked orders worth more than $2.5 million.

Distribution

Canadian distribution is primarily in The Bay and Eaton’s departments stores, Hallmark Cards and Japan Camera, with additional distribution in a host of independent retailers.

Attwell says he will work to expand the distribution network to mass merchandisers and other retail chains in 1994, adding future marketing plans for the product centre on the creation of occasion-specific product lines for weddings, birthdays, vacations and births.

The suggested retail price of Showbox is $24.99.