Disappointed in Henry's

Discussion in 'Toronto' started by sly, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Out here on the far coast, I usually order from Beau Photo, and have been pretty happy with them. My brother-in-law (who recently dusted off and is testing his Linhoff) mentioned an item on sale at Henry's. I figured if I was going to order it, I'd get some film and paper at the same time, and just pay for shipping once. Couldn't find much on their website (but Beau's is useless too), so I phoned them, and asked for the items I was looking for.
    "Oriental's a brand? Of paper??" "You're lucky we've got some (Ilford) film. It's really hard to get now. Nobody's really making it any more." I told him to forget it, I'd order from Beau.
    Was I just unlucky in the guy who answered the phone, or is this typical of Henry's these days?
     
  2. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    No experience with Henry's sales staff over the phone, but I've been in two of the three Henry's stores in Winnipeg, and they only sell the basics (all Ilford): film, chemistry, paper, and a few sundry items. I used to be able to count on Photo Central (also in Winnipeg), but they have gone the same way as Henry's. I was in PC recently in need of some warmtone developer. The sales person tried to sell me sepia toner!?!?!?
     
  3. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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  4. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    I have had all sorts of problems with Henry's over the years. They say they have something in stock yet when I drive there, they do not have it. They have ordered the wrong things multiple times and the list goes on and on. I now order as much as possible from Big Camera. Rob, the owner is a great guy and gets right back to you and almost always ships the next day.

    He actually is a film shooter himself and is very knowledgeable. He sells some great LF cameras and film in all sizes from 35mm on up, all sorts of papers, both fiber and RC. He also sells a nice variety of chemicals. His prices are very competitive and his shipping charges are nominal, he doesn't seem to inflate them a cent. Sure I have to pay for shipping, but it is a 45 minute ride to the closes Henry's for me so that is gas and time.

    Honestly, since I have started with Big Camera I am not going anywhere else as long as Rob can get what I need. Don
     
  5. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I used to shop at Henry's in Toronto, waaaay back when I was attending college (I'm a grandparent now.) I only considered ordering from them this time because of a sale item useful for analog or digital.

    I'm quite happy to shop with Beau Photo, and will continue to send most of my business their way. I've also used Rob on occasion, when Beau doesn't have what I need. He's great. I'd order from him more often, if I wasn't on the far side of the country. Orders from Beau will often arrive the next day.

    I rarely cross the border, but if I'm anywhere near Seattle, Glazer's is the only reason I'll brave the traffic and actually head into the city. I've avoided mail ordering from outside Canada, if at all possible, since a few nasty experiences with UPS, Canada Customs, and Canada Post.
     
  6. MattKrull

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    My experiences with Henry's staff have been really hit and miss. When I tried to order a B&W contrast filter the kid on the phone said "Why bother, you're just going to scan the negative in anyways, you can adjust the contrast then." *sigh*

    When I was trying to search down Rodinal it took asking three guys in the store before anyone had even heard of it. However, the one guy who did know, knew that it was now sold as Blazinol and gave me the product code to order it (I didn't want to order it right then, silly me). When I tried to order it months later, no one on the phones could find it in the system. I was in there two weeks ago and on a whim asked the girl at the counter if they could order it, and without the product code she was able to find it and order it for me. I got it three days later.

    So basically, Henry's staff are a crap shoot. At least on the digital side they all seem to have a clue (even if they have opinions I don't agree with). It's nice that at Henry's everyone is at least a photo enthusiast; which is more than I can say at any big box store.

    I've had good experiences with US orders through KEH.com (great phone service) and B&H (cheap shipping that has yet to cause any issues with the UPS or customs).
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I don't know anything about Henry's (I'm assuming it is a Canadian chain of photo stores), but the situation sounds normal for this day and age.
     
  8. jaroslav

    jaroslav Member

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    When visiting Canada, I've been told Henry's is the place to go, when you need something 'now'. So I went there, and the guy didn't know what a 'slide film' is. I tried diapositive', E6, even giving names of products, like Velvia, but no, he said he never heard about anything like this.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 4
     
  9. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    Jaroslav: Henry's is the place to go in that it is one of the few full camera chains left. Odd that they didn't know what slide film is, my local Henry's usually has a few over priced rolls in stock (although only in medium format).

    The only other two real chains left in Ottawa are Vistek (which aims at high end consumers and pros) and Black's (which aims at consumers). Black's is a great place to pick up cheap rebranded fuji film, and I've had great success with their minilab and printing. But you'll never find slide film there.

    The Vistek's website makes them look a bit better than Henry's for people looking for non-mainstream films, but I've only interacted with them on a the phone a few times and was dissapointed (too dissapointed to bother going to the store). Their film prices are just nuts (basically double B&H prices - so long as I buy two rolls, it is cheaper to get from B&H even taking shipping into consideration).

    The best place in Canada I've been in for film was Seneal Camera in Calgary. They carried a wide range of film, and give good discounts for cold-stored expired films. Better yet, when I said "I need an LR44 battery" their response was "you want two right?" not "What's that?"
     
  10. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    Certain does not help the OP's issue of dealing over the phone, as you never know who you are going to get, but in person it is helpful to cultivate a relationship with a live knowledgeable salesman.

    For the longest time I purchased much of my equipment from Fairview Photo in Brantford, as I got to know the previous owner and his long-term experienced staff. Not in Brantford much these days, and the owner sold it, so...

    Currently working with a salesperson knowledgeable in film and digital at Henrys, and find that a good relationship.

    With the current emphasis on digital, young staff, and likely high turnover, little one can do other than try to make it as easy as possible and reduce the opportunity for them to get it wrong. Not ideal, but the alternate is to just complain...
     
  11. Hexavalent

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    The Henry's in Ottawa seems to be more interested in up-selling digital cameras than actually providing service.
    Vistek here still has a couple die-hard analogue darkroom folks on staff - it's a pleasure to talk shop instead of being hearing how brand x super-duper printer inks are superior etc.,
     
  12. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Yes, a personal relationship can help a lot, and just makes the whole thing more human. One of the things I like about Beau, is they have staff dedicated to answering analog inquiries. I know who I'm talking to on the phone, having met them when I've been in Vancouver.
     
  13. spijker

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    My experience with Henry's is not all that bad. Granted, I don't ask them for advise on film or darkroom related things. I do my research online and then check who has the product(s) I'm looking for. Henry's has a good website so I check whether they have what I'm looking for. If it's not on their website, I think that you can safely assume that they don't/won't have it. If it is on their website but not in the store of your choice, you can have it delivered at the store at no additional charge within a few days. This works for me and I still buy things at Henry's without frustration.

    An other decent source for film in Ottawa is Galaxy Camera on Bank St (near Catherine St). They still have the largest selection of (mainstream) film, nothing exotic though and of course not as cheap as the big US stores like B&H. But not to the extend that I won't buy my film there. Overall, Canada is a bit of a sad country when it comes to availability of darkroom materials. Ilford products are still fairly good available but other than that you'll have to shop cross-border. Although Argentix.ca is a new store in that has a refreshing assortments of products. I recently ordered there and it was on my doorstep a few days later.
     
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  15. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I had a problem at Henry's recently when I ordered and paid for a litre bottle of HC110 and got a 473ml bottle. The catalogue number had changed up, so they simply used up the old inventory without realizing that they were gypping their customers. It took over 2 MONTHS, many emails and several phone calls, (some of which were never returned), to finally get it through to them that they had screwed up.
    While staying in Victoria, I went to a great shop called Lens and Shutter, I believe. Knowledgable staff and a pretty good inventory of analogue supplies and equipment. Have you tried them?
     
  16. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I was in Lens and Shutter today. I do shop there when I'm in Victoria. It's 2 hours from home; not a casual drive.

    The store was pretty empty today and the stock was low. I commented, and was told the owner had filed for bankruptcy, and had just been bought out. Not by a big chain, but by a couple who want to keep it going. Will have to see how that pans out. If anyone has any further info on this, us west coasters would like to hear....


    I like to keep my orders local when possible. Was only looking into Henry's because of the sale item I was interested in.
     
  17. hdeyong

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    I'm sorry to hear that, but hopefully the new owners will make a go of it. It was a good shop.
     
  18. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Henrys - once a great shop.
    Now a crap shoot, even when shopping in person.

    My last interaction there was about 5 years ago when I dropped in to buy c-41 120 roll film at their Oakville location. Yes not the downtown store, yes had product I wanted though.
    Did not have a full brick that I asked for , and stung me almost $9 a roll selling me indivudual rolls foil packed broken out from a brick.

    That spurred my first B&H mail order. Safer to mail order for me from them.
    When I set foot there when visiting NYC I wanted to buy everything I saw there, and that is saying a lot of stuff.

    For Toronto and the more personal approach for those in the west end, try Film Plus.
    A smaller shop, with Guy and maybe three usually working photographers working to supplement income also there as employees.
    A few are still very keen film users.

    Yes, the location is a bit out of the way to drop in on, but they make a reasonable effort to support b&w.

    Their main push is a as a rental house for camera and lighting and grip gear.
    Not a huge pool, so if your heart is in getting a bit of gear when you drop by to try out, call ahead to book it, and it will be ready to go.
    Good weekend gear rental rate, too.
     
  19. Axle

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    I used to be a big Henry's shopper.
    Used to.

    I loved the folks at the Oakville Store, always friendly, many of the CSRs knew me by name, even could spell my last name without asking, and knew my phone number. When you're dropping off film and picking it up (twice a week) for a year, you get that. They would bring stuff in without any sort of question, back lash, or pushiness. They'd be honest when something wasn't in stock. Even the manager called me "The Film Guy" in fact I met Bill Smith in the parking lot of that store.

    Then the lab they used to process film closed. So I started looking for new labs (settled on Burlington Camera and Toronto Image Works). But they would happily keep me loaded up with film, but soon even that became harder so I switched to Burlington Camera and the Film Photography Project to keep my stores up. I then moved to a new office, in Mississauga. I needed some film before the weekend and wasn't able to get to Burlington Camera so I figured let's just call the Henry's here in Mississauga, it's close to where I work and they should be able to get the film into the store before Friday. I picked some simple items, 5 rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 and 2 of Tri-X in 35mm. When I call them up, I get this. "Kodak Doesn't make film anymore" "Excuse me, yes they do." "Well then they don't make that film stock anymore" "Um...fine, I'll live without ordering from you, and get it from a place that knows their stuff."

    Yep, bye-bye Henry's. It's sad because the people at the Oakville Store were wonderful! I will have to go back and see if any are still around and say hi.
     
  20. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    Axle,

    I have found Burlington Camera good as well.

    If you are in the Mississauga area, there is what looks to be a small Mom & Pop operation at Millennium Photo on Erin Mills Parkway at Folkway just South of Hwy 403. They did some E6 120 processing for me, and offer C41 & E6 for 35mm, 120, 220 (if you still have some...), and 4x5.

    They may not process daily, but can usually get it back in a week.

    Might want to give them a try.

    Hope that helps,

    Len
     
  21. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Downtown Camera (around the corner from Henrys) or FilmPlus (Symington and Dupont area) would be good choices for film and darkroom supplies if Henrys frustrates you. I found the film counter/checkout staff at Henrys were usually young and most likely students studying photography and thus usually had a clue. usually...
     
  22. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Funny how things turn. I remember the first time I went to Henry's - it would have been April of 2005. Between the outlet store and the main store it was a film photographer's paradise. I phoned my wife back home in Saskatchewan from inside the store and chuckled and she said "You found Henry's, didn't you?"

    The outlet store is gone (or moved maybe) and the main store is still fun but the darkroom section is a tiny shadow of what it once was.

    B&H is still pretty fun to visit. I've been twice, in 2008 and last June, and it was pretty special. It probably always will be.

    Beau Photo is excellent. I haven't been in five years but it was exceptional then.

    Incidentally, for those Canadians near the US border who are worried about US shipping to Canada, consider renting a USPS post office box. I recently got one in Raymond, Montana and it has saved a lot of my shipping woes. I drive down about once a month or so to pick up my packages. Raymond is such a small town, the postmaster has no problem with keeping my packages for a few weeks and has promised to email me if I'm overstaying my welcome. :smile:
     
  23. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    I really like Burlington Camera. I have used them for many years.
     
  24. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Too bad I'm at least 5-6 hours from the border, including an expensive ferry ride and dreadful traffic on the lower mainland. I may not be far from the 49th parrallel, but the USA seems a loooong way away.
     
  25. walbergb

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    I find that some vendors won't ship to PO addresses. My alternative is a place called Border Shipping Services about 5 km over the US border in North Dakota. He accepts all types of carriers and sizes of packages. I don't know how common such service places are in other jurisdictions, but it might be worth checking out.
     
  26. dances_w_clouds

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