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Author Topic: Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography  (Read 10698 times)

Joe Behar

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2009, 11:18:07 pm »

Quote from: Wally
and yet ironically you sell cameras online, and put the URL for your online store at the bottom of each post. How are people supposed to know if the cameras they buy from your online store feel right in their hands, if they like the viewfinder, if it fits well in their camera bag or is the one they are considering buying?

Or do you not really believe what you post? Or you do believe it yet choose to sell online anyway? It really can't work both ways.

Also I wonder how many local Mom and Pop camera stores Vistek being "Canada's Camera Store" have pushed out of business?

I also find this quote said by you to be quite ironic



so when it comes to you selling something walking into a local store and talking to the salesperson is not the way to go. That is why you are here online, because the local store you can just walk into is no good at selling cameras and has no idea what they are talking about, and can't give personal attention.

I am not trying to pick on you, or be a troll I am just stunned by the hypocrisy

No hypocrisy at all Wally,

A few things you should know.

Vistek IS a mom and pop shop. we are a private company and you can walk into the Toronto location any day and speak with the owner, who comes to work every day. As a matter of fact the owner is a former professional photographer.

Yes, we advertise our online presence for a number of reasons. You might want supplies, you might want to compare prices, you might have seen us at a trade show and want to order a product you have seen there, you might have come to the store, seen and tested product and then order online because you want the convenience of thinking about your purchase a while and not make an additional trip to the store.

The reason we have real stores is so that people can come in and touch the cameras they are considering.

As far as your other quote goes, I was referring to MFDB in particular and I stand by my statement. Anyone considering a major investment in MFDB deserves personalized attention by a salesperson that knows the product inside out and backwards. We are quite proud of the fact that we have specialists in a lot of areas that you, as a client can use to get the knowledge and advice you need.

As a final note, my post was meant to tell people that making a decision based only on onlline research is, in my opinion, not a wise move if you can get to store instead.
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ziocan

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2009, 11:33:49 pm »

maybe, there simply were too many stores.
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Jay Kaplan

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2009, 11:53:10 pm »

Back in the early 60s there were at least a half-dozen camera stores that sold professional grade equipment in Baltimore. The two biggest were Service Photo and Coopers Camera Mart. Ritz showed up here in the late 60's or early 70's. At the time their sales people were quite knowledgeable but eventually they became just a "Mall Store" with all that implies.

As recently as two years ago there were only two Coopers and Service Photo. Both had extensive inventory, knowledgeable sales people, and would take the time to work with you. They didn't always have the lowest prices, but I tended to value service and knowledge over price. I like to be able to go to a store as opposed to going online to shop. Last year Coopers' was bought by Penn Photo but still kept their name. Eventually they closed their main store, which was not in the most prosperous part of town but now making a "middle class" comeback. They relocated the inventory to an upscale suburban location and switched the name from Coopers' to Penn.

So now there are only Penn and Service Photo and they still maintain a knowlegeable sales force and Penn will offer comparable prices to B&H if you ask. Still, I think it is important to have a local source when making a "major purchase". If I am going to spend for a camera about what I paid for my first new car in 1967, I want to be able handle it and not judge whether or not it will suite my needs by the online info only. It is the ergonomics and the knowledge that I can just dirve over to the store that are important to me and it is just too expensive to buy a "pig in the poke" online and then have to return it because I was not happy with the "fit".

Just my 2¢ worth.

Jay
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schrodingerscat

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2009, 10:58:41 pm »

Quote from: Joe Behar
No hypocrisy at all Wally,

A few things you should know.

Vistek IS a mom and pop shop. we are a private company and you can walk into the Toronto location any day and speak with the owner, who comes to work every day. As a matter of fact the owner is a former professional photographer.

Yes, we advertise our online presence for a number of reasons. You might want supplies, you might want to compare prices, you might have seen us at a trade show and want to order a product you have seen there, you might have come to the store, seen and tested product and then order online because you want the convenience of thinking about your purchase a while and not make an additional trip to the store.

The reason we have real stores is so that people can come in and touch the cameras they are considering.

As far as your other quote goes, I was referring to MFDB in particular and I stand by my statement. Anyone considering a major investment in MFDB deserves personalized attention by a salesperson that knows the product inside out and backwards. We are quite proud of the fact that we have specialists in a lot of areas that you, as a client can use to get the knowledge and advice you need.

As a final note, my post was meant to tell people that making a decision based only on onlline research is, in my opinion, not a wise move if you can get to store instead.


Hi Joe -

Mom and Pop stores have to have a web presence these days, so you're on the right track. I spend two days a week at one of the last ones left in Northern California and the owner refuses to join the 21st century, and is suffering for it. He somehow manages to hang on despite his attitude, but just barely.

Most people have no idea just how small the margins are on camera gear. Even at list price the store makes about 10-15% on cameras and lenses. Major accessories like tripods are not much better. Next time you're in a M&P shop, add up the value of the stuff you see and calculate what is invested in inventory. The online stores pretty much order from the manu's as their orders come in. That's usually why there is a delay in shipping from the smaller ones, they have to build the order. That is if you don't get grey market junk.

Americans are funny. They want service, but are unwilling to pay for it. In my retail days I had customers screaming ripoff because our price was $20.00 higher than the chain store, but not bat an eye plopping down $100 for tennis shoes that cost $15.00 o bring into the country. I would ask folks what they were going to do when stores like ours disappeared and there was nowhere else to get service from people who knew what they were talking about. When they came in to have us help them figure out how to use the junk they got at ritz, I frequently ended up selling them products more appropriate for their purpose. It's ironic to hear these same people now lamenting the loss that they directly contributed to. And yes, they ALL will eventually go the way of the DoDo if the consumer is not willing to support them. I had a conversation with a major manufacturing rep a little while back and he said that he had well over 300 stores in his territory at one time and now has a little over 50.

Nowadays I guess most buyers just go online for advice, which is mostly like going to Fox for news, judging from what I hear out on the sales floor. The amount of sheer frogwash is staggering.

And sometimes cheap aint cheap, just look at all the only-used-one-time stuff you see on ebait selling for a fraction of the purchase price.

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dseelig

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2009, 12:34:26 pm »

Mom and pop stores are suffering. Not just camera's. Music shops, small sporting goods stores . The killer for many of the small shops is people go ing check out what they want take the time of the service staff and then go order online.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 12:35:33 pm by dseelig »
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mbrost

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2009, 05:13:54 pm »

Quote from: dseelig
Mom and pop stores are suffering. Not just camera's. Music shops, small sporting goods stores . The killer for many of the small shops is people go ing check out what they want take the time of the service staff and then go order online.

Well, my local camera shop is doing pretty good business, even now.  I had expected them to go out of business not long after the digital revolution started, considering that they are not exactly early adopters.  I think it was a little tough for a while, but in the last a couple of years they have expanded and been offering more gear and services.  I think they are at about the same number of employee's that they have always had, and there are people there most of the time when I drop in.  I give them as much business as I can manage, but some things just cost too much there.  However, I did buy the 5D MkII kit from them.  But, not the 580ex II speedlite.  

They don’t have the latest gear and they may not have the best price.  They are a small local shop, so not a lot of floor space and I’m sure they can’t handle the overhead and costs of products that do not sell.  I think they do pretty good business off of film, even B&W.  I take some of my MF there now, well when I shoot that anyways. They are making an effort on the digital front, offering more gear and printing options.  They try and handle both novices and experienced photographers, not just pros or drive thru photo processing.

What they do excel in is customer service, and involvement in the community.  Most of the sales people know my name when I go in, even when I have not been in for many months.  They offer pretty good advice, and want to help you.  No haughty attitudes that I find at some shops that are having a harder time.   So, they get loyal customers.   They also work with local community colleges and promote classes on shooting and printing (dark room).  And even local businesses.  That and they have a fair mix of younger people that love photography.

So, I expect them to be around for quite a while.  

Its not all bleak…
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jeremyrh

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2009, 01:35:00 am »

There are local shops and local shops.

Recently I wanted to buy some lighting gear. I knew more or less nothing about what I needed, and internet shopping wasn't telling me, so I went to a shop where a salesman showed me what they had and how to use it. I will go back.

Another local shop is more high end - Leica etc. I wanted to buy a Gitzo CF tripod in a hurry, so they got my dollar for that, but they treated me like something they found on the sole of their shoe. My next tripod came from the internet.
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DiaAzul

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2009, 03:44:45 am »

There was a time, before superstores-are-us, that a man in a van used to visit us in the local village selling vegetables as there was no store in the area. As time has passed and people became more mobile them they were able to drive to the not-so-local shops. Perhaps we are returning to a time where bricks and mortar are no longer viable in the boonies and camera manufacturers are going to have to fund mobile faires, or travelling demonstration units, to bring advice and products to some of the less well served areas.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/

Rob C

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Loss of local camera stores is an issue for newcomers to photography
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2009, 08:28:25 am »

Quote from: DiaAzul
There was a time, before superstores-are-us, that a man in a van used to visit us in the local village selling vegetables as there was no store in the area. As time has passed and people became more mobile them they were able to drive to the not-so-local shops. Perhaps we are returning to a time where bricks and mortar are no longer viable in the boonies and camera manufacturers are going to have to fund mobile faires, or travelling demonstration units, to bring advice and products to some of the less well served areas.



Fond hope, but I wouldn´t hold my breath. I think it will only get worse, with the internet becoming the only path to anything. A quick look at the High Street tells its own story and unless you are thinking about a targetted pitch to camera clubs - which might be an angle - there is little that makes me think that the days of the travelling medicine man are going to be here again any time soon.

Rob C
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