Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

September 16, 2013

Picturing a new future

VALDOSTA — The son of a successful entrepreneur, it is not surprising to see that Jerome Riley followed in his footsteps.

He began working in his family’s business of Riley Church Pews as a child. Working alongside his father, J.C. Riley, Jerome gained a strong work ethic at a very young age.

“I was able to afford my own school clothes, which was a big deal back then because then I could get whatever I wanted,” says Jerome Riley.

A 6,000-square-foot workshop is where the father and son, along with a small group of workers, built church pews. Not only building them, but also upholstering and delivering them to churches. However, in 2010, the company decided to just sell church pews and get out of the manufacturing business.

Recently, Riley decided to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure. He chose to make a career of his life-long love of photography. His love affair with photography was also inspired by his father.

“My dad was a shutterbug,” says Riley. “He took a lot of photos during his time with the Army.”

With all of the heavy lifting involved in the church-pew business, the transition to photography seemed to make sense as Riley aged.

“My camera isn’t as heavy as those pews,” laughs Riley.

He photographed sporting events when his son began playing t-ball. The positive reactions from fellow parents sparked the idea of a mobile photography studio.

A 36-foot gooseneck trailer formerly used to transport church pews was just what he needed to bring his idea to life.

“No one else bought it, so we took it as a sign,” says Riley.

He began renovating the trailer and brought his idea to life this past March. Using eight different computer screens, parents view Riley’s event photos and choose which photos they would like to purchase. Air-conditioning was recently installed in the trailer to give an even more pleasant experience to customers.

“Sometimes I don’t know if they’re there to look at photos or just enjoy the AC,” Riley says.

He even has a printer on site that allows him to sell various size prints immediately. Along with these prints, he can have images printed on shirts, blankets, mugs, and a variety of other items.

While he works other types of events, sports photography is what he does the most. Thanks to the mobility of his business, he is able to travel to different places and work with various tournament directors. He doesn’t charge anything to attend these events and pays a percentage of the proceeds back to the directors.

Following in the tradition of family business, Riley’s family also helps with his business. His wife, Sonya, edits the photos and adds borders. His sons are showing signs of catching the photography bug. They also have a team to keep things running smoothly. They have two photographers, one editor, three people to help customers with the screens, and one person outside selling merchandise. Both of his parents also helped him to achieve his goals.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140412-TownHallMtg_2 copy 2.jpg Rep. Sharper holds town hall meeting

    Saturday morning, State Rep. Dexter Sharper held a town hall meeting at Crossing Jordan Baptist Church to meet with concerned citizens of Valdosta, share his feelings toward bills on the governor’s desk and to discuss the upcoming Let Us Make Man event.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140412-EasterEggHunt10 copy 2.jpg Kids have an egg-ceptional time

    The Therapeutic Division of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority held hosted the “Egg-ceptional” Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs Children Saturday.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police_Car_2 2 copy 2.jpg Numbers show overall drop in crime in Valdosta

     Responding to what he believes is a public perception that crime is out of control, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress presented statistics to the city council this week demonstrating an overall decline in crime for more than a decade and said the perception may be due to his department’s openness with the media.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140410-Sewage001.jpg City sewage woes continue

    Calculating the total gallons of treated and untreated sewage that the City of Valdosta has spilled into the Withlacoochee River and its tributaries is difficult because it has been going on for over 25 to 30 years.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results