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Meet Mike Norkin of Cherished Memories Photography in Lake Elsinore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Norkin.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mike. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart when I was a young teenager, I found ways to take photos and videos and sell them. As I matured and got into high school, I was hired by my school to provide photography services for teams and programs on campus. When I was 21, my dad died and I suddenly realized our family didn’t have a recent family portrait. I was devastated! I had been working as a photographer for a company in Manhattan Beach for 3 years at the time and we had 1 opportunity to take a full family photo but a member of our family didn’t show. While we did get photos taken, they were not complete.

Eight months later, my mom died. I still had no family photos. The little inheritance I received from my family went into the creation of my company, Cherished Memories Photography, with the sole intent to ensure that no family went without beautiful family portraits. To this day, we offer our services for free to families who have a member recently diagnosed with cancer.

Shortly after the formation of my company, I was approached to become a Rotarian. I joined Rotary at the age of 23, this ignited the passion I never knew I had to help others.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My road has been full of potholes along the way. From learning how to start and fund a company, to getting customers in the door, to a divorce from my high school sweetheart, the past 17 years have been a ride. Everyday is a new challenge with my growing business. On top of that, my family has been growing. After my divorce, I re-married a few years later and then welcomed my first daughter into the world in 2011. After trying for 2.5 years for a second child, we finally brought our second daughter into the world in 2016. Between managing my business, family time, philanthropic endeavors and volunteer opportunities, I need 36 hours a day to accomplish my goals.

My company was founded in 2001. Literally, September 10th, 2001, the day before 9/11. My first business license stamped by the city of Torrance was actually 9/11/2001.

We are a full service photography company specializing in high volume portraiture for schools and corporate customers. We have done work for many publications and professional sports teams throughout the years. My images have graced the front pages of many newspapers as well.

We are a customer service oriented company. We call it customer service centric! We know we aren’t perfect but what sets us apart is what we do to fix it. We deal with over 60,000 kids a year, we are bound to make a mistake. What we do once we find out about the mistake is what sets us apart!

I’m most proud of the fact that, we started this business in a 3 car garage in 2001. Today, we have 2 offices, 34 employees, we make a positive contribution to the community that we serve and our brand means something special to many of the families we service.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I have no regrets! I love what I do, how I do it. We have been extremely blessed with great mentors, friends, family and staff. Most of our customers are amazing and we very much appreciate them. I can honestly say, if I could do it differently, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Those experiences have allowed me to be here, right at this moment, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

To be facetious, it would be nice to have an extra bag filled with cash laying around, as running a business in California isn’t for the feint of heart, but I am extremely proud of where we are and what we have accomplished.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mike Norkin

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