B&H puts another local camera store out of business (with my help, unfortunately)

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Matt Clara, May 26, 2007.

  1. Matt Clara

    Matt Clara Guest

    Yes, Castle Photo of Lansing, in business for over 25 years, is closing its
    doors. I did buy all my darkroom chemistry from them, but B&H and all the
    rest (meaning Adorama and a couple others) can't be beat for most items,
    including paper, even though it commands a premium in shipping 'cause it's
    quite heavy. Castle Photo was a great resource, though (if you talked to
    the right individuals), and I will miss them.

    The one good thing to come out of this is great sale prices as they seek to
    dump their inventory. I picked up a bunch of stuff there yesterday for
    40-50% off, including this ballhead for my medium and large format
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/sitem/sku=272989&is=REG (cost me $75--they
    normally charged $125 for it). Also, a couple filters, some photo paper,
    two fidelity 4x5 holders, a strobo frame reflective light modifier, and a
    couple other odds and ends. Paid $250 for what would have cost me $450 (at
    their prices, anyway).
    Yes, yes, I know--I'm part of the problem.
    Matt Clara, May 26, 2007
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  2. Matt Clara

    Alan Browne Guest

    We're all part of the problem, but I don't think B&H is the culprit.
    There is a general decline in the number of people who do darkroom work.
    There is a general decline in the number of people who do prints at
    the store. People are getting great (to them) photography from P&S
    cameras and they can send the files to Wal*Merde and drugstore chains,
    and others and pick up their $0.19 prints the next day... this after
    doing whatever suits them in photoshop...

    The two store/labs closest to me have closed, one was an E-6 processor.

    A third store, a Nikon specialist, is now an "Apple Authorized Reseller"
    and the Apple area of the store is about 2/3 of the customer walkin
    area. They also process E-6. They do stock 120 negative but not 120 E6...

    The times they are a changin and it is due to the internet, digital and
    the fast paced lives that people live.

    Alan Browne, May 26, 2007
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  3. Matt Clara

    =\(8\) Guest

    Thats the problem with local shops they don't feel that they have to compete
    with the places on the internet. A local store here closed up after nearly
    50 years because they didn't feel they had to compete. They sold everything
    at suggested retail, all sales were final even if a product was defective
    they wanted you to deal with the maker, etc. I told them that they can do
    that and stay in business and they couldn't now they are gone.

    We have one more store here a Shutterbugs they charge suggested retail for
    nearly everything, they too didn't have a return policy until I e-mailed
    them and told them that without a return policy I would have to continue to
    shop online so they now have a 15 day return policy though the stress that
    it isn't to be used to buy something, test it out and then return it if you
    don't like it. It is incase there is something wrong with the item

    It floors me how many local stores simply don't get it. I will always shop
    online when I can get a better deal. They need to understand this or they go
    bye bye plain and simple. I have no sympothy for businesses this stupid.
    This is a global world now when it comes to shopping we don't have to put up
    with high priced local stores with poor customer policies, support and
    before sale support. Screw'em is what I say if they can't keep up or are too
    worried about the extra couple of bucks.

    =\(8\), May 26, 2007
  4. Matt Clara

    Alan Browne Guest

    So you gave bad advice?

    Alan Browne, May 26, 2007
  5. The real culprit in the demise of the local photo store is Ritz in its
    various guises. In south Florida, where there millions of people,
    there are about 4 real photo stores and all are more than 25 miles
    away (far north or south), if you exclude the Ritz/Wolf ones.
    Oliver Costich, May 26, 2007
  6. Not really. It's all about the bottom line. If a store on the internet or
    local has the best price on items I want they get my money. It's very hard
    for local (in state) stores to compete with on-line merchants since the fact
    that one can order on-line and not pay any sales tax. In most cases, the
    savings alone from this is the dealmaker. And my local store is great, but
    they usually don't have the items I want when I want them. Of course, they
    could order them, but why when I could do the same and have the item sitting
    in my hands the next business day? Local shops are a thing of the past.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, May 26, 2007
  7. Matt Clara

    Paul J Gans Guest

    No. We all are. The world is changing and those of us over 25
    have a hard time keeping up.

    I have no idea what shopping will look like in 2015, but I'm
    quite sure it won't look anything like it does today.
    Paul J Gans, May 26, 2007
  8. Matt Clara

    Paul J Gans Guest

    I agree with you about what is going on, but I think you
    miss something important. A dealer that can order 1000
    of a given lens will get a better price than a dealer who
    orders 5.

    The local guys will always have higher prices than the volume

    That battle has, in my opinion, already been lost by the locals.
    The next battle will be over delivery systems and buying from
    the on-line store with the best reputations *and* the best
    delivery systems.
    Paul J Gans, May 26, 2007
  9. Well... if your local store charges list and didn't allow returns,
    that's pretty extreme; BUT:

    A small local camera store can never really compete on price. The
    economics of purchasing and business expenses make it impossible.
    They'll ALWAYS be higher, and must find ways to justify it; hopefully
    ways that are cheaper than simply lowering the price.

    This can be a better showroom, more knowledgeable employees; heck, even
    a lounge/gallery with free coffee. All trying to win the customer's
    business and loyalty.

    And you know what? None of it means anything. Every year, customers pay
    less and less attention to anything but the absolute lowest price. The
    result is that the customer will never be able to handle cameras before
    purchase, or ask questions after, because the local camera stores are

    Does that make price conscious consumers part of a problem? Not really;
    they're just voting for what kind of buying experience they want, and
    will get.

    Me, I wish it was otherwise, but my stores closed a long time ago. Much
    as I loved the business, and honor the current survivors, the small
    local camera store is a "dead business walking."
    Scott Schuckert, May 26, 2007
  10. Delivery real isn't a problem since venders like B&H, Adorama, and Cameta
    have set the standards in this department. All three of these guys have my
    stuff in my hands the next business day after placing an order.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, May 26, 2007
  11. With the states pushing online retailers to collect their sales tax (and
    some large retailers already complying), the equation is changing back in
    favor of the locals. I priced several carbon fiber tripods and ballheads
    yesterday in a local store, then compared to B&H. In most cases the
    difference was between zero and $10. And then there is shipping: the
    expense, the delay and the hassle if you are not at home when the brown
    truck arrives. Not to mention that for items like a tripod, where ergonomics
    is so important, putting your hands on the product before purchase is
    True, B&H has a much larger selection, but oddly enough, they were out of
    stock on half of the items that the locals had on the shelf.
    Happy Traveler, May 26, 2007
  12. That last is a big point; one of my rules for myself is that if fondling
    the merchandise in a local store was an important part of the buying
    decision, they deserve the business. If they go out of business, I
    won't be *able* to fondle the merchandise before buying. So bags and
    tripods and such tend to be purchased locally. And sometimes they have
    the right price on cameras and lenses, too.
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 26, 2007
  13. Matt Clara

    Neil Gould Guest

    Actually, most local shops have a large selection of products, too, if you
    include those items that they choose not to keep in their inventory. One
    big difference between the locals and the big box stores is that you just
    don't know what they can get for you because they don't send out a catalog
    of their products.

    Neil Gould, May 26, 2007
  14. Matt Clara

    Lobby Dosser Guest

    I can remember 20 or so years ago reading about what shopping would look
    like Today. Seemingly we were going to go online and design precisely the
    product we wanted - a 2.735 meter long couch, for example - and it would be
    delivered the next day.

    I still need that couch.
    Lobby Dosser, May 26, 2007
  15. Lobby Dosser spake thus:
    Just as I'm still waiting for that backyard nuclear power plant ...

    Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
    of use of the word "****" is incapable of writing a good summary
    and analysis of the Philippine-American War. And vice-versa.
    This is an inviolable rule.

    - Matthew White, referring to Wikipedia on his WikiWatch site
    David Nebenzahl, May 26, 2007
  16. Rita Ä Berkowitz spake thus:
    Yes, why indeed would anyone want that? Leaving aside:

    o being able to talk with a real human being
    o maybe a human being who actually *knows* something about what they
    sell, instead of some marketroid on the other end of the phone
    o doing research on where to get stuff (research you could do yourself,
    but that they'll do for you)
    o possibly giving discounts to repeat customers and those who buy a lot
    of stuff
    o spending money in your own community, instead of enriching someone
    else out of town

    Yeah, other than that, I guess local shops are useless and a waste of time.
    Perhaps; more's the pity.

    Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
    of use of the word "****" is incapable of writing a good summary
    and analysis of the Philippine-American War. And vice-versa.
    This is an inviolable rule.

    - Matthew White, referring to Wikipedia on his WikiWatch site
    David Nebenzahl, May 26, 2007
  17. Matt Clara

    Lobby Dosser Guest

    We have about five. I try to patronize them all. Online you buy what you
    think you need. At the local store the staff help you choose what you
    really need.
    Lobby Dosser, May 27, 2007
  18. Yep. That's one of the things I like about living in Tokyo: lots of stores
    with lots of knowledgeable staff. Lower population densities mean it's
    harder for local stores (for anything other than necessities) to make a go
    of it. (That the local stores here are price and service competitive with
    anything on the net helps also.)

    Our CEO sometimes comes along on my shopping trips, since the camera stores
    either also handle things she needs or are along the way, and the fact that
    the clerks can deal with her nerdy husband knocks her out every time. (The
    other thing that knocks her out is the bevy of extremely well-dressed
    elderly gentlemen leisurely fondling the Leicas in the used Leica department
    that sits next to the used MF corner at one of my favorite stores, not only
    the weirdness of the scene but that the staff had the patience to deal with
    such customers.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, May 27, 2007
  19. B&H gives you what you want. Mom & Pop's Photo Shop gives you
    what you need.

    You can't always get what you want
    You can't always get what you want
    But if you try sometimes you might find
    You get what you need.

    M. Jagger/K. Richards
    Nicholas O. Lindan, May 27, 2007
  20. Not necessary in most cases and paying the extra premium simply isn't worth
    Irrelevant! Getting knowledgeable sales representatives on-line or in
    person is always a crapshoot.
    Hmm! Sounds like a set of training wheels or a crutch is what you want?
    Never be dependant on others to tell you what you need or you'll need
    everything just as long as the sales drone can make a commission off of you.
    This applies to on-line merchants as well.
    TOTALLY IRRELAVANT! I don't believe in passing out subsidies nor do I feel
    I have an obligation to enrich a local merchant. The merchant need be very
    competitive if they want loyalty and a chance at survival.
    Only if they don't meet the customer's needs.
    Good shops have staying power and bad shops, good riddance.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, May 27, 2007
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