Dorian’s Owners Picking Up And Moving On

SPOKANE — The Spokane Fire Department says that the Joel Building is structurally sound and now each of the business owners are deciding if their futures lie in the building or someplace else.

For Dorian’s, they’re most likely leaving the Joel Building.

A ray of hope came for the Mark family, the owners of Dorian’s for nearly 40 years, when some computers were salvaged from Thursday’s fire. Those computers might hold important files to help Dorian’s Studio rebuild and its operations.

The salvaged computers was one positive step after five days of despair that started with a call to operations manager John Mark’s home at 5 a.mj. last Thursday.

“I think my wife can tell you it hit me like a ton of bricks that morning,” he said.

Dorian’s had no sprinklers, though the city had yet to tell the owners if they were necessary.  When Mark realized what was happening, his mind started racing.

“Some of the first things out of my mouth were, we had technicians down there,” Mark said.

They were in the basement doing maintenance on processing machines, which Mark says were off.  That fact is just part of the overall investigation the Spokane Fire Department says is ongoing.

On Monday morning John Mark returned to the Joel Building to assess the damage.

“It breaks my heart to come back here and look at it,” he said.

“We just have no assurances on how long this is going to take or if it’s going to be demolished or if it can be rebuilt, but how long does that rebuilding take?”

Dorian’s lost thousands of pictures as well as equipment used to process photos from across the West Coast.

So while the damage continues to be assessed, Dorian’s is moving on. It has to. 

“We are rebuilding, we are going to be back in business. We are going to do something that will be considered heroic for our industry for how quickly we do it,” Mark said.

“We’re not going away. We’ve been around for a long time. This is a tremendous adversity and we are full of fight.”

The only question is where the studios will be when the company gets back into business. They are already close to leasing a new headquarters elsewhere and John Mark says photography is a volume industry and this is the busiest time of year and Dorian’s needs a home to get a part of that business.