Ilford dying (if not dead) in Ottawa. Simon Galley....

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Mike Té, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Hi, Simon; Mike from Ottawa writing...

    This morning I left the house with a photographic shopping list and had to go to the three remaining shops that carry at least some darkroom products. After I'd done my rounds, I ended up being unable to find a couple of products. This lead to a discussion with one of the gentlemen at Galaxy Photo, who have the largest and most varied number of items still in stock. Not nearly enough, I have to add.

    It seems that in order to get any Ilford products, he must adhere to an unreasonable minimum order policy set by the importer, WYNIT of the USA. He says it's nowhere near reasonable given that they're a small retailer and that darkroom practice has become a niche market. The importer apparently, doesn't seem to care as their main focus is electronics...

    Simon, is Ilford able to exercise any influence over that policy? It must be affecting Ilford sales across Canada.

    I argue that, for the importer, making the products available and allowing a small retailer to keep darkroom products stocked in any quantity that meets demand (however small, as long as it exists) gets the photographers into the shop and therefore could generate sales of ALL products.. Many people mix and match their film and digital techniques, so it seems to me that supporting film and darkroom practice can be advantageous from a business point of view.

    Ginn's will soon have no more darkroom stuff (they have no more papers). Henry's, being a big chain, keeps a couple of token boxes of papers and can order stuff in from Toronto, but they obviously don't care to keep up their analog section here in Ottawa. Galaxy seems to want to continue supporting analog photography.

    This level of decrease doesn't make sense. We're a region of well over a million people here. There are still 3 schools teaching darkroom; Carleton U., The Ottawa School of Arts and the School of Photographic Arts. There are at least 3 clubs... Plenty of clients for a small-niche retailer to survive, especially since there is really no more competition!

    Cheers.
     
  2. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Mike,

    Thanks for your note, we appreciate it, I have already spoken to the director responsible for North America, once he has investigated the specific issue I will reply. We have two full time HARMAN technology marketing people based in Canada, so we are obviously concerned at your note.

    Thanks again

    Simon :ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  3. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    I completely agree. I have totally given up buying anything in Ottawa as it is a waste of time even looking. Fortunately, I go to Toronto quite often. The only shop I frequent in Ottawa is Central Camera Exchange for second hand items. I now use Ilford products exclusively although I still have some Kodak and Agfa products to use up.
     
  4. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    At risk at hijacking this thread, I've been having no luck finding Ilforchrome chemistry in Toronto but can at least I can find Ilford's B&W offerings.
     
  5. big_ben_blue

    big_ben_blue Member

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    Same here. The last time I bought something darkroom/film related in Ottawa was around five or six years ago. Nowadays it's a pretty sad affair (well, if you're a musician looking for a wide open space for accoustics, try Ginn's :rolleyes: ). I use Galaxy and Henry's once in a while for my digi gear needs, but the analog side is almost exclusively mailorder now. One can't even get large format film anymore in Canada's Capital (it's all "special order" with matching waiting times).

    Where is the Central Camera Exchange? I was only aware of the old Camera Exchange (did it not fold many moons ago and became a Galaxy outlet?) and the CameraTradingCompany (I have to admit, they are not exactly on on my christmas card list, but that's a different story:mad: ).

    Chris
     
  6. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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  7. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    tmike

    There is one b&w photography school here in Mississauga close to my house. How many are around the GTA who knows.

    EightElm here in Toronto is probably the best place to deal with when photo materials are the matter. It is not big store so they do not care how big/small market is. They have a lot of stuff. Contact them www.eightelmphoto.com and ask to ship you whatever you need.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
  8. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Thanks, Daniel.

    Eight Elm is fabulous. I've been there once and I do have a wish list of some of their products. I'll be making a trip this spring, I expect.

    My main point in my thread though, is how we're not able to get a full range of Ilford products (as well as other analog items) in a store-front setting, in a city of a million people which also happens to be the capital of the country. That importer's policies might be detrimental to Ilford and therefore to analog photography in this region.

    If there is no more visible/viable working source, the myth that film is dead is self-perpetuating.

    (I know, I know; typical backwoods boring bureaucratic Ottawa... it might be another factor)
     
  9. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    (If you're a consumer, it seems in many cases that talking to the "distributer" goes nowhere. So many retailers seem to be at the mercy of their distributer as if they work for them and not the other way around. I'm a fan of track and field; for years, wherever I lived, I'd make sure that the local news stand carried Track and Field News, "The Bible of the Sport since 1948". I could have subscribed but this way it was "out there" and available to a couple other consumers [who I usually knew, having sent them there]. Sometimes they'd just add it to their list and it would be stocked, but on a few occasions, their "distributer wouldn't carry it". So, I'd go to the shelves to find some ridiculous example, of which there were usually many. Once I found a copy of "Sumo Monthly" [this is a true story] [in Moncton, New Brunswick!]. I argued that more people here would read about track than about Sumo... I won my argument that time...)
     
  10. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    I put my foot where it usually is. I meant Camera trading.
     
  11. big_ben_blue

    big_ben_blue Member

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    @Richard: The Camera Trading Co. certainly has some nice toys (drooling), and occacionally I have a look at their various offerings (although I still hold an old personal grudge from years ago against them). Does anyone know if Eastview is still open? They usually had the most ecclectic mix of products on their shelves.

    @tmike: I'll have to swing by Galaxy to check the availability for large format film. Let's see what they can do for B/W film. I am fine for 4x5 - stocked my freezer to the rim with5$@box deals from when Henry's was still the Focus Center up until Henry's started shipping the close-to-expiry-date film off to their Toronto Outlet Center. Still got boxes of 4x5 TechPan sitting around :smile: .

    Chris
     
  12. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    Thanks, Simon.

    And, of course, thanks for looking into this, Simon.
     
  13. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hi guys in Ottawa, I hope your local dealer decides to get some stock but if he doesn't I'm happy to ship to Ottawa and have many clients in the area.
    As far a having a minimal order with Wynit goes I've never heard that and I order from them every week.
    Is it possible the store just doesn't want to sell the stuff anymore. For most stores they feel that digi is cool and chemicals aren't.

    Also if you're in Ottawa area feel free to come out to the Large Format gathering in May. You can get info in the large format section.
     
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  15. Mike Té

    Mike Té Subscriber

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    That may well be, Rob. It does seem to be par for the course for the photo supply sector here in Ottawa. We've lost an amazing amount of resources over the past 2 years. Now I'm discouraged.... We'll see what Simon digs up.

    Thanks for the invitation.
     
  16. Medusa83

    Medusa83 Member

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    We are having serious issues here in Vancouver as well. The store I work for is having such a hard time getting Ilford products we are only carrying Oriental paper now and I havn't seen a shipment of Ilford chemicals come in in over 6 months.
     
  17. big_ben_blue

    big_ben_blue Member

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    Part of the problem is the complete lack of infrastructure and industry in a larger sense in Ottawa. The supply sector has to supply someone, and the someone isn't here in. In Toronto one can find a studio or photographer on every corner. Name me ONE major photostudio here in Ottawa, just one (the closest one is probably the Lee Valley internal studio). We got a bunch of smaller studios catering to the wedding clientle, and about a handful of dedicated commercial photographers. Most of the commercial folks gave up their studios in the past few years and work out of their homes. There's barely anyone of the serious ones left, aside from the hordes of wannabe's with DRebels (everyone a "pro" in their mind). Sure, the local schools and colleges churn out photographers by the busload, but all these kids are interested are little digicams and most won't pursue a career in professional photography. That complete lack of a viable healthy photo industry had to led to the current situation, where stores only focus on the mass market consumer who wants little more than a P&S for vacation time. Drop by the local pro associations; the portrait oriented one is filled with recent college grads, the commercial oriented one can be counted on both hands. That's hardly an industry, and no industry means no demand, means no need for keeping a supply.
     
  18. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Thanks Rob
    I will check out your web site. Thank God for apug! Our society seems to be evolving into an organism with minimal contact between its elements. Easier to control; I guess.
     
  19. Shelly Grimson

    Shelly Grimson Member

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    I also want to push for Elm Street Camera in Toronto. They are very keen to keep us supplied and know the products they sell. It's not only price but help and guidance that are really missing at the big stores. We have to support the guys at these places who really stand out for service. They also take the time to get more exotic films and papers that keep our interest. You can get other film and papers there that are not found anywhere else in the city. My two cents...
     
  20. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Eight Elm is a great little store and I can't recommend them enough. I realize I am spoiled living in Greater Toronto, I still remember Travis Nunn who came up from Virginia for the APUG conference, his jaw hit the ground when we paid a visit to Vistek for a slide film replenishment run and saw the corner of darkroom gear, chemicals and paper.

    Unfortunately that does not help those who live in the Ottawa Valley and other parts of Canada. The sad thing will be, when in Toronto, stock up, whatever you can fit in your luggage or car trunk. It's a sad state of affairs if you can't find it in your own back yard.
     
  21. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    When I read posts like this I get angered at the business model existing in Canada. What manufacturers, marketers, distributors and retailers need to know is that THERE IS A MARKET in Canada. A big one too.

    Ooh, I get so anagered with distributors like Daymen et al .. claiming the market is small, while hundreds if not thousands of Canadians shop online at B&H, Adorama, etc...

    Shops like Henry's and Vistek in Toronto are digital pushers. And it's not just with traditional products too. The variety of equipment available to touch, feel, try out and buy in Canada is pathetic. Again with everyone but the market claiming there is no market in Canada.

    Threads like this frustrate me because the business model is a self spiraling one. What Canadians need is a shop that is dedicated to photography - no distributors, not ownerships by electronic companies, but owners who are passionate about photographic equipment, materials and supplies.

    Errr .... I hope you guys in Ottawa get your supplies.

    Regards, Art.
     
  22. tom_bw

    tom_bw Member

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    I also live in Ottawa - it's too bad there is less and less local availability of B+W products. I would certainly welcome more availability in Ottawa!

    That being said, it should be noted that Henry's will ship from their other stores to Ottawa free of charge (with a turn around of a few days). Though less than ideal, it is certainly an option.

    In terms of film, it is also getting harder and harder (I find the best choice for film in Ottawa is Henry's in Kanata). I know the prices for film are substantially higher than other stores in Montreal / Toronto. So, if you order a reasonable amount, it will actually come out cheaper to pay the shipping and order on-line. NOTE: I have also had luck in getting Henry's to match the Vistek prices for film.
     
  23. tom_bw

    tom_bw Member

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    I see you sell Galerie!!

    Thanks Rob: I am happy to see you carry Galerie. My next order is going to you!
     
  24. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    The US director has spoken with our Canadian marketing people, and indeed Rob Skeoch has stated that our distribution ex USA works very well. We are comfortable with the distributioon model, but we are on the phone today doing an audit of product availability in Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada.

    Once again many thanks for keeping a vigilant eye on the market.

    On a 'general' level, talking to photo retailers does work, we have a new account opened recently because people were asking for 'darkroom' and he had never stocked paper and chemistry before, reinforcing what you are prepared to buy does work with most retailers :

    Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  25. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I have PMd Simon on the same problem here in Halifax several times. I think he cares but I sense he is stuck with an arrangement he can't do anything about. Apparently Ilford considers Canada to be North AMERICA which it is becoming less and less philosophically. This arrangement ain't gonna work.
    Mark
     
  26. Darrell

    Darrell Member

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    minimums

    Large minimum orders are not new in retail, however when Ilford is the only game other than smaller players it is time to re-evaluate policy. There is no Canadian warehouse, therefore stock must be ordered from the USA.

    The price of Ilford MG RC paper took a pretty sharp price increase this, year as did the chemistry. The liquid chemicals took a big leap as well, plus as classified as hazardous chemicals they have to be shipped surface freight, which often has problems at the border. Again if there was a warehouse in Canada it may help.

    The other problem is the lack of a level playing field, if I was a large Toronto chain I qualify for a volume rebate, whereas the small local independent retailer, who is more likely the darkroom dealer is not able to be competitive, the catch 22 is the chain isn't interested in promoting chemical paper & supplies. Hell printer ink and inkjet paper is easier to flog..