Atomic emitter ensembles couple collectively to the radiation field. Although an excitation on a single emitter may be short-lived, a collection of them can contain a photon several orders of magnitude longer than the single emitter lifetime. We provide the exact conditions for optimal absorption, long-lived and dispersionless storage, and release, of a single photon in a sub-wavelength one-dimensional lattice of two-level emitters. In particular, we detail two storage schemes. The first is based on the uncovering of approximate flat sections in the single-photon spectrum, such that a single photon can be stored as a wave packet with effective zero group velocity. For the second scheme we exploit the angular dependence of the interactions induced between the emitters and mediated via exchange of virtual photons, which on a ring gives rise to an effective trapping potential for the photon. In both cases, we are able to obtain, within current experimentally accessible parameters, high-fidelity photon storage for times hundreds of times longer than the single emitter lifetime.