The one remaining local photo store is quite frank in saying that the only reason they carry any traditional materials is to supply the local colleges. If I want something besides T-grain emulsions and RC paper, they'll be happy to order it - at nearly double the price I can get it over the Internet. They seem to prefer that I order from someone else, so I do.
I see the same kind of posts on my music forums. There are still local music stores, but they are having a harder and harder time. Kids come in and try out several brands of saxophone, for instance, decide which they like, then order it from the Internet in order to save $50 on a $500 instrument. This is very foolish as the local music store would include any needed adjustments in the price.
We're in a market that's changing very much. Who knows how it will shake out.
Last week I went to Service Photo to purchase some items; and to my surprise they are now stocking Oriental fiber paper as well as some other items that were not offered before. Service Photo is making a strong effect to provide film, paper and chemistry to all traditional photographers in the area. I will and recommmend everyone in the Baltimore area to support Service Photo.
3838 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21211
Agreed. It really isn't all that different from what's been going on the past 10 years in retail, excluding apparel. Small retailers selling big ticket stuff are getting squished...
Originally Posted by juan
Dedicated brick and mortar camera stores - even those that largely sell digital photography products - are having a real tough time as far as I can tell. I can name at least one Boston-area retail store that has told me that their used equipment (like many they have an eBay storefront), digital photofinishing, and framing departments are the only things that keep them in the game.
One of the larger retailers in the Boston area (not the one named in the example above) recently opened a store in Kenmore Square in Boston which seemed like a good idea in light of the fact that it's directly across the street from the New England School of Photography and is in a very heavy foot traffic area. But it's been a bust - NESOP instructors have already been telling their students for years to order the stuff off the web from B&H and Freestyle and to pool their purchases to get volume discounts and save on shipping.
Even Adorama and B&H have been steadily branching out into other areas, such as high-end Audio/Visual and now even do a pretty good business selling desktop and laptop PCs to small businesses. Makes sense, as people increasingly order digicams from amazon.com and similar.
And shopping through amazon.com does have the one advantage in that you will have no trouble whatsoever returning the product. The proft margins ain't great even on digicams - so it isn't worth their time to challenge it. You just can't expect to walk into a brick and mortar store and return a $1,500 camera as it were a $5 pair of socks. I don't care what return policy is on the wall - you get an interrogation.
That all said, I see no reason why companies with good distribution that have taken pains to establish themselves as specialists in analog photography products (J&C, Freestyle, etc.) shouldn't continue to reap good returns from these product lines as long as they remain available. Those of us who are looking to stick with analog for the long haul have a pretty good awareness of where to get these products now - and it ain't Bestbuy.com or Amazon.com.
The market has decidely changed. One of our local camera stores went out of business after 45 years. The last few years I went in there, all they wanted to sell me was digital equipment - but, they found out the hard way that they can't compete with WalMart just down the block selling some of the same items. The stores have to be different to make it, and many aren't willing to step ouside the box.
Originally Posted by aldevo