June 20, 2017 / By tracy mikulec / In Film Photography,Photo Lab Blog

Did you know retail and drug stores are no longer returning your original film?

Who develops film & returns negs?


Have an old roll of film to develop? We can help

Developing old rolls of film

Many retail and drug stores are no longer developing film and the ones that do are no longer returning the negatives, only providing low-quality scans on a CD. Discarding negatives may be okay for the person with a disposable cameras, but not for the film enthusiast or the “found film” people.

Found film is actually a pretty big market for The Darkroom and it’s people finding an undeveloped roll of film in a drawer or the attic. These mystery time capsules can potentially contain images with huge sentimental value. Negatives are the foundation of shooting film and an important part of the traditional printing process. A low quality scan of something sentimental or of an important subject is not an adequate replacement to the original film or “file”.

A List of Who Develops Film and Who Returns Negatives

Costco Film DevelopingCostco film processing chart

Costco film developing

In visiting our local Costco, we discovered that they’re no longer developing film. We were told by a photo lab employee that “we recently pulled their film processing equipment out of every building”.

Walmart Film DevelopingWalMart film processing chart

WalMart film developing

WalMart is no longer returning negatives to save on postage costs and only providing customers scanned images on a CD. In researching, Walmart film developing services vary from each store or region and this may not be a company wide policy. Many of the stores have completely stopped processing film and, like Costco, may be in the process of phasing out film processing entirely.

Walmart Film Developing

Sam's Club Film DevelopingSam's Club film processing chart

 Sam’s Club film developing

In nearly all the stores, Sam’s Club stopped developing film in late 2013. Additionally, they don’t have in-store photo mailers and film development cannot be ordered or purchased online.

Walgreens Film DevelopingWalgreens

Walgreens film developing

Over 800 people a month Google “does Walgreens develop film“. It’s been reported that Walgreens stopped film processing on April 16th of 2015 and is using a 3rd party service. Using this service, Walgreens doesn’t return your negatives and it’s likely this 3rd party service destroys your negatives after scanning them. Walgreens film development cannot be ordered or purchased online.

Walgreens Film Processing

Target Film DevelopingTarget film processing chart

Target film developing

Target removed the Kodak processing machines from many of the the stores and now offers a print-only photo center for those with digital files. This is true with our local Target, but may not be true with all stores.

CVS Film DevelopingCVS film processing chart

CVS Pharmacy film developing

Not all CVS stores develop film and the ones that do are sending direct to 3rd party service. Negatives aren’t returned and orders take about 3 weeks.  Additionally, CVS has stopped online film developing.

CVS Film Processing
CVS Pharmacy processes film, but doesn’t return film negatives

If you don’t develop with The Darkroom, we suggest that you verify with the individual store, whether it’s Costco, Walgreens, WalMart, Target, Sam’s Club, CVS or any other large retailer to confirm the send-out processing service returns your negatives.

Have an update or something to contribute? Please let us know!


9 responses to “Did you know retail and drug stores are no longer returning your original film?”

  1. Kathryn Smith says:

    I am looking for some old negatives to be developed and hoping you can help.
    Thank you,

  2. Carol Rogers says:

    I have many rolls of 35 mm film I need to get developed. I would like to get prints not a CD. Lots of old memories! I hope you can help me.
    Thank you Carol

  3. Melvin Epps says:

    I have an old 620 film camera that I would like to shoot with do you carry 620 film and do you process the film.

  4. Deborah Day says:

    Hello, I too have many 35 millimeter rolls of film that needs to be processed but I only want the prints, no CD. Will the cost be the same if I just get the prints? I’m not even sure that the rolls of film will turn out since they were taken in yes Believe It or Not 1980’s and 1990’s. After divorce they got stored away and I recently moved and found them and had a pretty big box full of them and disposable cameras. Let me know if you think that it’s worth even bothering with them since they’re that old. Thank you thank you, Deborah

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