In 1972, the company was founded by John McLaughlin in Southern California under a different name. At that time, John and his staff performed both retail photography on the fields and wholesale production in his garage. The business grew steadily for the next ten years, and in 1983 alone, over 100,000 youth sports participants were photographed on film, which was then used to print almost 500,000 individual and team photographs.
The next year John decided to focus on the wholesale production side of the business, and as he says it, “Leave the photography to the photographers.” He embarked on a different kind of business model whereby independent retail business owners would help each other grow in the team sports photography marketplace by sharing their own experiences, ideas and sales strategies with each other, and fostered by the wholesale lab that serviced them – a group photographers association.
At that time, mixing school photography capture (with its multiple film format production) and the emerging wholesale sports processing scene would prove to be ill-fated, and GPA sold off the school portion of the business and returned to its youth sports photography roots.
Specializing in sports photography was exactly what the business needed, and in 2001 GPA moved into an even larger facility in Spokane and the number of families served by GPA and its partner photography businesses grew to over 1.5 million.
Throughout its history, GPA continually led the industry in both production technologies and marketing strategies.
GPA was one of the first labs to produce a Trading Card for youth sports league players, and embraced digital output from its inception, scanning film to jpeg files in order to print “digital” Trading Cards and Magazine Covers. GPA made the successful transition to fully digital output in 2004-05, and continues to implement new technologies throughout its production line.
Over the past ten years, GPA helped photography clients with their sales and promotions by signing cooperative marketing deals with The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Fathead.
Today, GPA continues to develop exciting new products and services for its clientele, including a myriad of online commerce options for both business and consumers. We are dedicated to meeting the challenges of the new millennium and look forward to continuing our history of innovation and growth in the youth sports photography marketplace.