R.I.P.: Costco Photo Center

When I recently learned that the Costco Photo Centers were being phased out, I wept along with many other photographers who had counted on them to create beautiful enlargements.  Let me explain why I was one of their favorite customers.

Until I retired six years ago, I was a pediatrician in Palm Beach County, Florida for almost 35 years.  In the 10 years before I stopped working, my wife and I had been traveling all over the world and I would display some of my favorite photos on the walls of my offices.  My patients were often surprised when I told them that the enlargements were done by Costco.

Many years ago, when my young patients and their parents began to admire my pictures, I decided to give them copies of my favorites in simple 5 x 7 cardboard mattes. I would order 500 at a time at Costco every few months.

Many patients would tell me that they posted their “Dr. Kraft pictures” on the kids’ bedroom walls.  I would make a geography lesson out of it for the school-age children.  Each picture came with the assignment to research where the picture was taken.  Some parents even shyly asked if they could have one from my selection basket. 

Gifts for kids in Bali

When we were traveling, I would carry an assortment of these simply-framed pictures to give away to children and adults in exchange for letting me take their pictures.  I have photos of children and adults holding my pictures from our trips to China, Bali, Japan and Peru.  It’s a great icebreaker!  When a hotel clerk or flight attendant has been especially kind, I also give them one of my enlargements.  It’s my favorite way of thanking them for their special service.  They often told me that they appreciated it more than any monetary gift.  

Until Costco decided to eliminate their in-store photo centers, their employees would ask where we were going next and when I was going to order another large batch of pictures.  That is not going to happen anymore since I’m retired, but I do have some new favorites which I will enlarge for my home through mail order.  When our traveling eventually resumes, I will continue to bring some pictures along with me to give out wherever we go.

Now whenever I go to Costco, I see my old patients who remind me of the photos that they still have from their visits to my office.   I am happy to see that this is part of my legacy as their pediatrician in my community.        

My bio

Welcome to SincerelyDrDan.com, my blog which I began to publish online in November 2020.  

I am Dan Kraft, AKA Dr. Dan. I am a retired pediatrician in Lake Worth, Florida where I have lived since 1980. 

I was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1950, the second child to first- generation Americans who also grew up in northern New Jersey.  When I was only two years old, my parents moved to the suburban town of Verona where I lived and enjoyed excellent public schools before going to college. 

I attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before going to medical school at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey for two years.  I then transferred to the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine where I graduated in 1975.  My pediatrics residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine was followed by two years in Baltimore where I attended the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  I received a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health in 1980.  

A job opportunity brought me to Florida.  In 1981, I opened my first pediatric office which eventually became Palm Beach Pediatrics. When I retired in 2014, our practice had 8 doctors and 8 pediatric nurse practitioners working in three offices.  

My “home” for 35 years

I truly loved my work. Those were the “glory days” of being a doctor.  With its very diverse population base, Palm Beach County was a wonderful place to practice medicine. Our loyal and trusting patients appreciated the compassionate care and medical expertise that we provided.  Over the course of 35 years, I witnessed the growth of South Florida.  I still laugh when I remember how many people questioned how I would survive as a pediatrician in an area known for its large retirement population.   Thankfully throughout my career, there was a steady influx of young families.  Over the years, I became an integral part of several generations of families.  I was fortunate to surround myself with excellent and supportive colleagues in my growing practice.  

I decided to write this blog because I always felt that I had so many stories to tell.  Some come from my career as a pediatrician. Since in my later years, my wife, Meryl, and I have had the opportunity to travel extensively, other stories come from my observations during our trips.  Many of the stories that I will share with you simply come from my experiences with the joys and sorrows of life itself.  

You will see that gratitude is a central theme in many of my stories.  I have always believed in “paying it forward.”  From the academic scholarships that I received to the many opportunities to work and travel abroad, I am very thankful.  These experiences have broadened my view of the world and have made me a more appreciative person.  I have learned to utilize my inner resilience which enabled me to accept and survive some of the darker moments of my life. 

To the patients, friends and family members who encouraged me and helped me to become the doctor I always wanted to be, I dedicate this blog.  I sincerely appreciate the very fulfilling career you gave me.  I also thank my wife Meryl for the happiness, genuine partnership and security that she has given me for more than twenty years. 

Please send me your feedback to: dpkmd3@gmail.com  

In the future, I will feature other human interest stories by guest authors. 

Sincerely, Dr. Dan will be a bilingual blog. My friends in my Spanish and French conversation groups are always seeking interesting reading material , so I decided to start a fully English/Spanish blog from the beginning. Who knows where it will go? Maybe even a few more languages in the future!?  For now, it’s just English and Spanish, but you can use the Google Translate option in the sidebar for any other listed language.

Sincerely, Dr. Dan será un blog bilingüe. Mis amigos en mi grupo de conversación en español siempre están buscando material de lectura interesante tanto en español como en inglés, así que decidí comenzar un blog completamente en inglés / español desde el principio. ¿Quién sabe adónde irá? ¿¡Quizás incluso algunos idiomas más en el futuro !?  Por ahora, es solo inglés y español, pero puede usar la opción Google Translate en la barra lateral para cualquier otro idioma de la lista.


Dr. Dan