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Author Topic: The Demise of a Local Camera Store  (Read 707 times)

rmazzi

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The Demise of a Local Camera Store
« on: February 28, 2017, 08:37:33 PM »

Earlier this year I drove over to one of my usual haunts, Crick Camera in Kansas City.  I have been a customer there for years.  Bought 4 cameras, at least 8 lenses and an array of accessories.  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly.  Much to my horror, the store was closed.  Permanently.  After 70 years.  I was lucky enough to see one of the regulars and we had a long chat, shed a few tears.  Roberts Camera had bought the remaining inventory and that was that.  All the staff seem to have landed into new jobs or careers.  It is such a shame and i will miss visiting there regularly and spending money on stuff that will not improve my photography, but i need it anyway.  I don't like buying cameras and lenses on line.  I need to hold them and see how they feel on my hand.  There is still one shop left that i know of in the area.  It is also a good shop with knowledgeable staff and a nice selection of lots of things (but no Olympus unfortunately).   I hope it can last.  I just wanted to post this somewhere to share some sadness in another casualty in part from the impact of online shopping and the changes in technologies.
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Rob C

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Re: The Demise of a Local Camera Store
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2017, 04:35:03 AM »

Earlier this year I drove over to one of my usual haunts, Crick Camera in Kansas City.  I have been a customer there for years.  Bought 4 cameras, at least 8 lenses and an array of accessories.  The staff was knowledgeable and friendly.  Much to my horror, the store was closed.  Permanently.  After 70 years.  I was lucky enough to see one of the regulars and we had a long chat, shed a few tears.  Roberts Camera had bought the remaining inventory and that was that.  All the staff seem to have landed into new jobs or careers.  It is such a shame and i will miss visiting there regularly and spending money on stuff that will not improve my photography, but i need it anyway.  I don't like buying cameras and lenses on line.  I need to hold them and see how they feel on my hand.  There is still one shop left that i know of in the area.  It is also a good shop with knowledgeable staff and a nice selection of lots of things (but no Olympus unfortunately).   I hope it can last.  I just wanted to post this somewhere to share some sadness in another casualty in part from the impact of online shopping and the changes in technologies.


Yes, had the same experience many years ago with my local camera store near Glasgow, Scotland.

With them, it wasn't so much online competition that killed them, but the nonsensical way that business was being done. An example: I bought two Hasselblads and three lenses from them, over the years; one day I went to buy something else for the outfit and the owner told me sorry, he was no longer able to deal with them. On asking why, after so long, he told me that Hasselblad would not supply him at prices at which the big dealers in London were able to sell! If that's not crazy I don't know what the hell is.

Competition is fine, but that competition should come from internal, retailer good housekeeping, not because the makers will give stuff to different retailers at different prices! In essence, those manufacturers are killing the outlets themselves, and not leaving that up to the other retailers to achieve through business competitiveness. Why the manufacturer thinks it makes a better deal to move fifty bodies at low prices instead of fifty bodies at a higher, standard price, I have no idea. Anyone in the market for a Hasselblad was not about to buy a Bronica 6x6.

The loss isn't even just the loss of a convenient local outlet, but as you say, of the hands-on experience that lets you know if something is for you or not. The shop I used was also a Leica specialist, so more than 'blad lost out. The entire photographic community of the area also lost out because the owner of the shop really knew his equipment. Even better, he could have stuff brough in just to examine. And all of it without the inconvenience of hanging about waiting for UPS or any other of those services to turn up at your door, or one near you.

With online, I see it inevitably getting worse and worse.

There are those who say but it's great for the customer! No it's not. You have to accept that business has to work for both sides of any deal. As with the stock-picture business, drive price down too far and you reach a point where the good people just hang up and stop supplying anything, and you are left with the chance arrival of stuff from God knows where. To stay in business, those who thought it clever to cut prices have to cut ever more just in an effort to be the last to die in the race to the bottom.

What it is, is a manifestation of the dissolution of our civilization as is sinks ever more deeply into self-obsession and total disregard for anything or anyone other than the individual. Don't believe me? Look where the concept of family is going.

Rob C

Robert Roaldi

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Re: The Demise of a Local Camera Store
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 05:44:17 PM »


There are those who say but it's great for the customer! No it's not. You have to accept that business has to work for both sides of any deal. As with the stock-picture business, drive price down too far and you reach a point where the good people just hang up and stop supplying anything, and you are left with the chance arrival of stuff from God knows where. To stay in business, those who thought it clever to cut prices have to cut ever more just in an effort to be the last to die in the race to the bottom.

Rob C

And so you'd hope that the "free hand" would spot this market failure and someone would emerge to offer a solution, but it's not happening. Is the game rigged? One way or another, it is, imo.

My beef is how Aperture was left to wither and die. It was viable at one point, and the planet could easily have sustained two players, LR and Aperture, and Apple could easily have supported that market segment. But for some reason, they bought into this notion that software should be cheap, they dropped the price, and it died. Keep an eye on the price of LR, if it drops, start looking for a replacement. In the case of software though, we (the royal we) more or less did it to ourselves. We got so used to using bootlegged versions of Photoshop that an entire generation grew up thinking software should be free. Much the same way people think photos should be free.

So who is going to invest the time and energy into developing and supporting pro products that sell for less than the price of a good lunch?
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: The Demise of a Local Camera Store
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 08:50:08 AM »

My beef is how Aperture was left to wither and die. It was viable at one point, and the planet could easily have sustained two players, LR and Aperture, and Apple could easily have supported that market segment. But for some reason, they bought into this notion that software should be cheap, they dropped the price, and it died. Keep an eye on the price of LR, if it drops, start looking for a replacement. In the case of software though, we (the royal we) more or less did it to ourselves. We got so used to using bootlegged versions of Photoshop that an entire generation grew up thinking software should be free. Much the same way people think photos should be free.

So who is going to invest the time and energy into developing and supporting pro products that sell for less than the price of a good lunch?
Software support and improvement is the biggest issue companies face, not the initial development.  I don't think Aperture fit in with Apple's business model which is really linked to hardware that can share media across platforms.  The probably realized that keeping Aperture current required a significant amount of time and money going forward and looked at Adobe's sales figures of LR and PS and figured it was a fools errand to keep it going.  I'm not so sure that everyone thinks software should be free, rather we think it should be reasonably priced.  I've bought LR & PS upgrades over time but since photography is not a vocation I have not gone the CC route. 

I have used a lot of shareware programs since we got our first PC about 30 years ago and if it's something useful, I always pay the developer.  I just had an issue the other day with my home theater computer that mysteriously was running out of space on the system drive.  I found a great utility WizTree that scans any drive an in a couple of seconds shows which folders are loaded up.  In my case it was the Windows\Temp folder on the system drive that had over 45GB of files in it (still a mystery where they were coming from though I think it was something with Windows Media Center).  Great utility that identified a problem and allowed me to fix it right away.  Developer is asking for $10 which I graciously sent his/her way.
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Rob C

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Re: The Demise of a Local Camera Store
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 10:39:33 AM »

Software support and improvement is the biggest issue companies face, not the initial development.  I don't think Aperture fit in with Apple's business model which is really linked to hardware that can share media across platforms.  The probably realized that keeping Aperture current required a significant amount of time and money going forward and looked at Adobe's sales figures of LR and PS and figured it was a fools errand to keep it going. I'm not so sure that everyone thinks software should be free, rather we think it should be reasonably priced. I've bought LR & PS upgrades over time but since photography is not a vocation I have not gone the CC route. 

I have used a lot of shareware programs since we got our first PC about 30 years ago and if it's something useful, I always pay the developer.  I just had an issue the other day with my home theater computer that mysteriously was running out of space on the system drive.  I found a great utility WizTree that scans any drive an in a couple of seconds shows which folders are loaded up.  In my case it was the Windows\Temp folder on the system drive that had over 45GB of files in it (still a mystery where they were coming from though I think it was something with Windows Media Center).  Great utility that identified a problem and allowed me to fix it right away.  Developer is asking for $10 which I graciously sent his/her way.


That's right on the money.

And computer compatibility, please.

For my limited use of PS, I'd have been happy staying with PS6. I can't think of very much that it doesn't give me that I absolutely require. My needs are basic, so staying within its boundaries would have been fine, but then I moved from Windows XP to Vista and now W8.1 and of course, PS6 didn't fit no mo, did it? Not only that went hunting for dodos, but my LaCie calibration tools will no longer work with the new systems either, and my old Samsung cellphone has also been rendered useless for snaps. (But I'm actually pleased about that!). Why? It just drives a sense of hatred for tech companies, and I'm not in the least surprised that folks will attempt to do all they can to repay the compliment and scam them back. What you sow...

Collusion seems to be almost irrefutable from where I perch/slump in my seat...

Rob
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