1601 Harrison Street
Total Investment: $10,000
Total Public Investment: None
Private Funds Leveraged: $10,000
Status: Opening Jan. 11
Projected jobs created: 5
One of the most iconic and architecturally interesting buildings on Harrison Street in Davenport is the latest to be rejuvenated in the city’s Hilltop Campus Village neighborhood. The North Harrison Trust & Savings Bank, built in 1910, will re-open as PhotoFROG, a photography studio owned and operated by Ranae Fenner. The century-old building, constructed in the neoclassical style, was most recently the home of the Hilltop Theatre, but has been empty for several years.
Fenner has been in the photography business for 10 years, but needed to find a new home for her studio due to plans to renovate the Pierce School Mall in the Village of East Davenport (check Doing It in Davenport a little later in 2014 to hear about those plans!) She said she fell in love with the look of the building, including its original tin ceilings painted red and high visibility location at the corner of Harrison and 16th streets.
The original tin ceiling at 1601 Harrison still shines
Fenner specializes in senior class pictures, weddings and family portraits. She will have ample space in the former bank building to build all types of interesting sets for interior shots. The name of her studio comes from her strong reliance on faith – the “FROG” stands for Fully Rely on God – which she had to do after her previous professional career was derailed by a layoff and she took a leap of faith that she’d make it as a full-time photographer.
Now, she has a steady list of clients and shares her space with four contract photographers as well. She feels the building on Harrison will take her business to the next level.
“I like the uniqueness of the building and I like that the City is focusing on the Hilltop area,” she said.
“That attracted me even more. My target clients are in the 17 to 30-year-old range with senior pictures and weddings, and now I’m highly visible to two colleges and Central High School. When my business was in the Village, I relied solely on word-of-mouth. I think this spot will provide so much more exposure.”
Ranae Fenner poses against one of her studio backdrops
Building owner Jim Lind helped Fenner ready the new studio, which features new flooring, fresh paint and other improvements. It also offers off-street-parking around back, off of 16th Street, which will be helpful, Fenner said. She is already working with some clients, and will hold an official grand opening in early January.