Well, I like freestyles prices, and they carry everything I need. They are polite on the phone, and answer all my questions. Even going out of their way to find information for me.
I don't know if they refrigerate the film before it gets to me, but I live 2 days by Fedex away, so its warmed up by the time it gets here anyhow.
I certainly will not buy any film products from them. I just go to buy chems. I may not even do that soon because my orders are increasingly becoming larger from Freestyle. I may just order everything at once and try to save on shipping. I have moved about an hour away from that store now, and it actually costs more to drive to the store, than to get it shipped across the country. Go figure.
The urging to "buy local," has some foundation, but it's got to be subject to the same conditions you'd always adhere to when patronizing a business. Being local doesn't exempt a shop from proper conduct.
I ordered 20 assorted Ilford films and 10 Kodachrome 64 (yes, in stock :) ) from a UK intenet dealer last week, it was here next day at prices well below usual retail. Expiry dates were 2013 for the B&W and 11/2010 (final batch) for the K64.
I'd suggest that these are the kind of dealers who are supporting analogue and deserve our support.
I suppose I should miss the little family camera shop, but there again, over the years, I've been sold or offered quite a lot of out-of-date film, caked-up chemicals and faulty equipment by these friendly local stores........
I have a local Calumet store, their film is stored cold, and the prices are really only a small bit higher than B&H. So I support them enthusiastically.
Another local store ditched their film fridge. I stopped buying film there. Plain and simple.
my local store fired me very unethically. their film prices aren't stellar either. I stick with freestyle.
"I don't know if they refrigerate the film before it gets to me"
Probably what we're seeing is the final stages in the breakdown of a distribution system, a combination of increased internet takeup and market volume decrease.
I can only speak for the UK, but the trajectory is probably similar in the US - some years ago there were attempts by major photo material manufacturers to facilitate smaller dealers handling a wider range and more quantity of stock - so having seen a problem looming they attempted an overhaul, working with the existing system to make it more productive. As time went on that initiative failed.
Where we are now is that the smallest dealers are now of no consequence, and are being increasingly marginalised, while the biggest gun of all is starting to be brought out of the armoury - manufacturers direct sales.
The situation in the UK is maybe more distorted than the US, as here over 20 years a very large proportion of independent high street shops were brought into one enormous company, which worked out badly in the long term.
So don't blame your small independents too much, they've been badly treated in recent years, and are playing with a very poor hand of cards.
I don't blame them at all, and it's regretable when anyone's business fails through no fault of their own, or even through not moving with the times.
Originally Posted by Martin Reed
But not all of the small businesses were perfect...a local shop fobbed me off when my first "expensive" camera (bought after saving up for two years as a student) was continually faulty (and it was them who persuaded me to have that make, rather than my original choice...no doubt a bigger profit margin...)
Another sold me faulty chemicals which ruined holiday film from a one-off student trip (I checked the batch number with Kodak....eight years old!)
And, as for outdated film....either they don't mention it, or say "it doesn't matter"...
It's a wonder that I didn't give up on photography...