The small camera shop in every shopping district is probably a thing of the past. There isn't the business in traditional product to support a shop in every town and village, it appears that they cannot sell enough, be price competitive on the full range of digital equipment or people would rather buy online or at an electronics store. Service in many Camera shops has often been confoundingly bad and people seem to not put a high value on service anymore.
It seems that B&H, Robert White and Calumet have the formula for success. One big store or in Calumet's instance multiple big stores and a good catalogue/online business.
It would seem that there would be a niche for the small *good* shop to move toward kiosks, one hour process, scanning, and quality machine prints. S/he could then service the consumer who wants prints from his/her disposable or digital thing as well as offer service to the pro's doing weddings, and portraiture and using DSLs, 35mm and MF. I could be wrong...
Last edited by jd callow; 09-29-2007 at 01:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Slightly off topic, but it illustrates the conundrum faced by the high street retailer.
Earlier today I was sitting in an opticians waiting for my wife to finish an eye test when a young couple entered, he, clutching his eye test prescription, was apparently searching for frames for his first pair of glasses, and was rather taken aback at the prices. The assistant was doing her best to interest him in their budget range, but he still found these expensive. “Never mind” said his partner “you show me the pair you like best, and I will get them made up on the internet at a discount for you”. I was left wondering for how much longer I will have a local opticians; the assistant wasn’t too impressed either.
One quite interesting thing about this saga, is that it has made a few appearances in the financial section of my local newspaper.
The basic content of the articles is to point out what a difference a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) can make to a business.
The story was a warning for shareholders in general, to carefully check out any business they have shares in whenever a new CEO takes charge.
Jessops has featured at least three times, regarding the role of a CEO in todays business environment. One story, which I think was the first a few months ago, also mentioned the CEO of the company involved in the Agfa Photo saga. The theme was more or less along the lines of, the rapacious cash hunting CEO.
Collectively, I think what you're all noting is the irreversible changes to the consumer model.
Most of us here are "of an age" that we can remember independent local shops specializing in such areas as photographic gear etc., musical instruments and sheet music, bookstores, TV/Audio shops (and, Ham Radio stores ) etc. etc.
But we're now well into two or more generations of folks who consider retailing to be either big box stores or the alternative of web-shopping.
Seeing the closure of once-favorite shops is a bit like watching dinosaurs die off - sad but unstoppable. And I have to admit that I'm part of it, as I bet you are too.
As a film camera user - in the past several years the only gear I've bought has been lightly-used offerings on eBay and a couple of new Cosina Bessa R2S's with lenses etc. on Steve Gandy's site. And ditto for almost all of my film purchases other than a few "emergency" buys of consumer stuff at a Walgreen's or Target!
It's not just the price (although that's a big part of it) it's also the convenience of 24/7 shopping.
I tend to buy online simply because of being out in the sticks a very long way away from supplies of, saysheet film etc. However, I do buy quite large amounts of stuff at the likes of Silverprint, Mr Cad etc when I am down the toon.Of course thanks to the net, the little guys like Silverprint can now have a global presence.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
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Another Jessop's story!
I went down to Hereford at the weekend, partly to view the photographic exhibition on there (called Photofest). Hereford is lucky to have an independent photography shop as well as Jessops. I popped into Jessop's first, hardly any analogue stuff at all now just a few chemicals and a couple of packs of Ilford 10x8 25 sheets hidden under the counter. Hereford has a good art college which still runs traditional b&w courses, so that surprised me.
A customer asked the young lad in there if he had any negative filing sheets -- he then had to go and ask someone what they were and if they had any. Then he brought the person some sheets for slides :rolleyes:
I moved on to Melgray's, the independent. Loads of second hand stuff as well as a reasonable selection of chemicals, Ilford paper, Paterson tanks, reels, trays, etc. They are obviously the recommended supplier for the art college. A customer asked the young lad in there if he had an Olympus OM-2n? Yes was the answer, also they had an OM-2sp and the young salesman, early 20s or so, then went on to outline the differences between the two. The contrast between the two similarly aged salesmen couldn't have been more defined.
Melgray's got my business that day.
In a way you can't blame them for having thought that 'traditional' photography was a dying market and that digital was the way to go. Most of the art colleges don't teach traditional methods any more (or if they do it's a tiny part of the course), go to pretty well any club and you'll be told that all they do now is digital photography (or computerised image manipulation as I think of it!), and most of the pros are digital. Let's be honest - Are there genuinely enough of us still buying stuff on a regular basis to keep them afloat when the likes of Calmuet, Firstcall etc, who don't have the overheads of a multiple high street outlet chain, can undercut them and still maintain higher profit margins.
Originally Posted by FrankB
And another one!
My dad's Pentax Spotmatic F stopped working the other day, I suggested it might be worth getting a new battery as he hadnt changed it for decades. My dad said he hadnt changed the battery for so long he had forgotten it had one.
Off he went to Jessops (which used to be a nice independent shop in my youth) and asked if they had a battery. The lad looked it up on the computer and told him it was obsolete, their was no replacement and that was that.
Dad rang me up a few days later, really quite upset ( he had had the camera since new); was his spotmatic redundant? I did a quick search on the internet and found modern replacements 3 for a pound, ordered them and told him never to go to Jessops again.
I lecture in Manchester and many of us are trying to reverse the digital in education trend, often seen as the cheaper route by managers. In response to many requests from the industry we ensure that the students we turn out are fully conversant in both film and digital. I have recently joined APUG after I realised I've spent the last 3 years producing substandard work on digital, so my non commercial shoots are back to film.
Originally Posted by wiggy
In terms of shops I removed Jessops from my recommended suppliers list some time ago because of their attitude and general lack of knowledgeable staff. Jacobs is way up there as well as PFD, a great small and very friendly wholesalers in Manchester who make very good tea!
I must admit I'm rather sad about Jessop's. I trained in Derby in the early 80s and used to travel to the original store in Nottingham which was like a step into photography heaven for me in those days.