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10-12-2017, 04:04 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I sold cameras at the retail level all the way through the 1980s. I was there, I watched it happen.
I don't think anyone was saying the decline in B&Ms (and this is indisputable) was due personally to you, Wheatfield.

Small local high-quality boutique book stores or fresh food suppliers *can* survive against mass-distribution models, but it's very hard. They need to be special.

10-12-2017, 05:59 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
there are only 3 camera stores here in Montreal, a city of 3 M people
Simon's Cameras in Montreal just closed this past summer after 87 years in business, but I wouldn't count them as one of the three mentioned above. They were once a major store in this city.

Added: Two of the three do carry Pentax stock.

Last edited by cpk; 10-12-2017 at 06:06 PM.
10-12-2017, 10:53 PM   #33
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Camera stores have to sell a ton of cameras to make a profit with the small margin cameras have. A mark-up of 10% is common. Stores that sell mail order are more likely to have enough volume. That being said, I was talking to a local camera store owner and he said he hasn't heard anything from Pentax for a while. He sells other brands mail order.
10-13-2017, 04:24 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
Simon's Cameras in Montreal just closed this past summer after 87 years in business, but I wouldn't count them as one of the three mentioned above. They were once a major store in this city.

Added: Two of the three do carry Pentax stock.
I forgot about Simon's. I was thinking of Camtec, Photo Service and Lauzon. Any others? They all carry Pentax fortunately but getting accessories is sketchy.

10-13-2017, 06:57 AM   #35
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Simon's wasn't much in the end, depressing actually, given its past. In my added comment I was thinking about Photo Service and Lauzon; I don't remember Camtec having much Pentax, but I could be wrong. I first dealt with Photo Service back in 1966.
11-01-2017, 05:31 PM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbeaton Quote
Yes it sounds bad but lets face it, brick and mortar stores are disappearing - another massive chain just went bankrupt (Sears Canada) - there are only 3 camera stores here in Montreal, a city of 3 M people - electronic stores are thinning their stock. I think Best Buy, another big chain is moving to online sales. Maybe Ricoh/Pentax is just working with that reality. Anything that can fit in a mailbox or be safe dropped or picked up at the local PO is online fodder so who needs regular stores? I've bought more than $1000 of telescope accessories this year, all online sales. Its just way easier and convenient, and probably a little more impulsive!
It's like that in my part of Western Canada too. I got a K-1, but I ordered it through a local camera shop. They didn't have any Pentax equipment in stock and haven't for a long time. I ordered it from them as I wanted their extended warranty and I want to do all I can to keep a camera shop in business.

The extended warranty...not sure if that will be a good idea or not. As you mentioned Sears Canada went belly up and so did two of our extended warranties we bought from them.

I read a lot and I find I have bought online for years, mostly Chapters, but I think that is coming to an end. The local Chapters doesn't carry a lot of the stuff I'm interested in, so I rarely go there anymore. I'm thinking of getting books online at Amazon. My kids...one 28, the other 30...get most of their stuff online.

It's sad to see the old school type of business...actual stores.... fade away, but this is the way things seem to be done now. Back in the late 1800's and early to mid 1900's much of Western Canada's population was rural and people then mail ordered stuff from Eaton's Dept. store and the Hudson's Bay Company. Items were delivered to the farms, ranches, villages, small towns, etc.

Looks like we're going full circle now...but with ordering online rather than mail...but then still having items delivered to your house.
11-02-2017, 08:08 AM   #37
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Henry's has a full page ad in the Toronto Star today advertising the grand opening of a new store in Mississauga (west of Toronto). I don't know whether they closed another store elsewhere, but that seems to be bucking the trend discussed here. And guess what - the opening deals include a Pentax K-50 "value kit" for $399.99. The first time I have seen a Pentax DSLR advertised in a newspaper in a long time.
11-02-2017, 08:20 AM   #38
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Both the public and Catholic school systems used K-1000s in their photography programs from 1970-at least 2007, maybe later. There are a lot of photo enthusiasts in Mississauga that know the Pentax name and associate it with solid dependable cameras. Maybe some of my ex-students are helping keep Pentax alive there.

At least 2000 came though my course in the 15 years i was there, and there were courses in 25 other high schools. I have no doubt you can sell Pentax in Mississauga.

I also suspect a good number of them are going to go in looking for a Canon or Nikon and come out with a Pentax once they see those packages.


Last edited by normhead; 11-02-2017 at 08:25 AM.
11-02-2017, 08:25 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
Henry's has a full page ad in the Toronto Star today advertising the grand opening of a new store in Mississauga (west of Toronto). I don't know whether they closed another store elsewhere, but that seems to be bucking the trend discussed here. And guess what - the opening deals include a Pentax K-50 "value kit" for $399.99. The first time I have seen a Pentax DSLR advertised in a newspaper in a long time.
Henry's has a very successful internet business model. They are one of the rarities that has managed to keep a storefront presence. I suspect they are not making much off the storefronts though. It's more about visibility. They also have the advantage of being in a metropolis that comprises some 20% of the population of Canada. When your customer base is 6 million people, it's easier to find enough customers than when your base is a quarter million. Note that they haven't ventured to open a store in Moose Jaw, for example.
11-02-2017, 08:26 AM - 1 Like   #40
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My son owns a Lacrosse specialty equipment store. In the 9 months he has been open:
  • The competing, established business has closed
  • The local diversified athletic gear chain has removed Lacrosse gear from all but their flagship store
  • The big national chain store has reduced Lacrosse gear floor space
He personally visits coaches, attends games, has varied and desireable merchandise in stock, offer custom ‘stringing’ of Lacrosse stick heads, employs knowledgeable floor salespeople (part-time male and female college lacrosse players) plus is on the floor himself with his full-time Store manager.

Success at retail is simple, it just isn’t easy. It is mostly about hard work, and then a philosophy to sell the customer what is right, not push the most profitable merch. He has that reputation. He prices at 10% above online dealers and people are happy to pay the premium.

Last edited by monochrome; 11-02-2017 at 11:23 AM.
11-02-2017, 08:34 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Henry's has a very successful internet business model. They are one of the rarities that has managed to keep a storefront presence. I suspect they are not making much off the storefronts though. It's more about visibility. They also have the advantage of being in a metropolis that comprises some 20% of the population of Canada. When your customer base is 6 million people, it's easier to find enough customers than when your base is a quarter million. Note that they haven't ventured to open a store in Moose Jaw, for example.
You need to look at the Henry's store maps. I often visits Henry's in St. Catherines, hardly a huge Metropolis with millions of people. But St. catherine's also has Fredericks, which carries Pentax. So I don't know if your comment is about the size of town needed to support a dealer, or how enthusiastic Moose Jaw's citizens are about DSLR photography.

There is also a Henry's a few miles away in Burlington. That's larger, but still, it's the interest in the community that makes camera store go. The last time I was in Fredericks a young woman came in with a developed roll of film and was discussing with the owner what she needed to do to get a better exposure, There's definitely some enthusiasts there.

The guy is still processing film for people. I was there for 20 minutes and two SLR film shooters camera through while i was there. I'm not sure how many bodies he moves, last time I talked to him he'd sold over 10 K-1s a pile of K-70s and a few heavy duty lenses like the DA*200 and 300s and a DA*50135, from stock in the store. Not everyone is dying out.

The thing with these places is, at Fredericks the owner recognizes me, and let's me know when I come in if he's received any second hand Pentax lenses. At Henry's they look up my purchasing history and don't bother trying to sell me suff I won't buy. So they don't know me, but they quickly know about me. Those things just make the experience more personal.

Last edited by normhead; 11-02-2017 at 09:01 AM.
11-02-2017, 09:08 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
how enthusiastic Moose Jaw's citizens are about DSKR photography.
DSKR = Digital Single K-mount Reflex? As it happens, Moose Jaw (pop. 42,000 approx.) is served by Wells Camera and Sound, a member of the Foto Source buying group. I haven't been inside the real store in a long time, but they list 37 Ricoh/Pentax products in their online store. Wells has been in Moose Jaw a very long time, sharing a building with a massage/hairstyling salon, so hopefully overhead is low enough that the store doesn't need a high sales volume to stay open. Here in Saskatoon (pop. 250,000), we are down to two camera stores and if Cheung's close down, we will only have a single Don's Photo location. The old saw about a town that isn't big enough to support one lawyer can always support two lawyers doesn't apply to camera stores; most local markets can probably only support a single store and if that single vendor drops the ball on service and inventory, that local support will migrate to online retailers in a hurry.
11-02-2017, 09:14 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Henry's has a very successful internet business model. They are one of the rarities that has managed to keep a storefront presence. I suspect they are not making much off the storefronts though. It's more about visibility. They also have the advantage of being in a metropolis that comprises some 20% of the population of Canada. When your customer base is 6 million people, it's easier to find enough customers than when your base is a quarter million. Note that they haven't ventured to open a store in Moose Jaw, for example.
Henry's closed its St. John's, NL, store about one year ago. The pre-existing independent stores in town are struggling to stay open. They carry minimal stock of Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Ricoh WG-50 and GoPro. One of them no longer carries much stock because they've shifted their emphasis to repairing. Since they're authorized Pentax dealers you can order through them. You'll pay the full MSRP, and, if you make your request the day before they place their monthly order with the distributor, you'll wait a month for delivery. If not, you'll wait up to 2 months. With that kind of pricing and order turn-around time, it's no wonder that on-line sales have taken off.
11-02-2017, 09:18 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by pete-tarmigan Quote
Henry's closed its St. John's, NL, store about one year ago. The pre-existing independent stores in town are struggling to stay open. They carry minimal stock of Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Ricoh WG-50 and GoPro. One of them no longer carries much stock because they've shifted their emphasis to repairing. Since they're authorized Pentax dealers you can order through them. You'll pay the full MSRP, and, if you make your request the day before they place their monthly order with the distributor, you'll wait a month for delivery. If not, you'll wait up to 2 months. With that kind of pricing and order turn-around time, it's no wonder that on-line sales have taken off.
Cavalcade Camera in Huntsville (my nearest camera store) ordered in a K-1, I wonder if they've sold it yet. Being small town, their business model is built on prints and selling one brand, Nikon. I was surprised to find the K-1. I'd already bought mine. I would have paid the extra 100 bucks to be able to try it out first. But it had been so long since they had anything Pentax in the store I didn't think to look.
11-02-2017, 09:47 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
DSKR = Digital Single K-mount Reflex? As it happens, Moose Jaw (pop. 42,000 approx.) is served by Wells Camera and Sound, a member of the Foto Source buying group. I haven't been inside the real store in a long time, but they list 37 Ricoh/Pentax products in their online store. Wells has been in Moose Jaw a very long time, sharing a building with a massage/hairstyling salon, so hopefully overhead is low enough that the store doesn't need a high sales volume to stay open. Here in Saskatoon (pop. 250,000), we are down to two camera stores and if Cheung's close down, we will only have a single Don's Photo location. The old saw about a town that isn't big enough to support one lawyer can always support two lawyers doesn't apply to camera stores; most local markets can probably only support a single store and if that single vendor drops the ball on service and inventory, that local support will migrate to online retailers in a hurry.
I suspect the reason why Well's is still going has more to do with the mentality of the population of Moose Jaw than anything else. They have an almost backwards attitude regarding supporting local businesses, something that is missing in larger population centers.

Regina is down to two stores as well, though I think the Bird Films store is little more than a photo kiosk beside a senior's complex. They closed their Golden Mile location a few years back, which was sad because they were one of the very first tenants. That leaves us with Don's Photo, which filed for creditor protection last year. Don's is, effectively, a dead man walking. Back when I was in that game, we had a store called the Photo Center. They were very good, but eventually their business was sufficiently eroded by a combination of cherry pickers such as Astral Photo and mail order stores like B and H that they had to shut down.
It's easy to say that a store goes away by dropping the ball, but when literally hundreds of stores of a particular kind go, it's hard to make that argument fly. The full service stores that catered to everything photographic got killed by cherry pickers, and those cherry pickers eventually got killed by places like SuperStore, who were able to underwrite really low margins by selling loaves of bread as a good mark up.
When I was playing the camera sales game 30 years ago, Superstore was selling cameras for about 5% below my cost price. People would go into a full service store for information, and then go to a grocery store to make the purchase. I recall one day I spent half an hour going over an EOS 650 with a guy who went away to "think about it". He thought about it on his drive to the grocery store, apparently, because a few hours later he came in with his new camera still in yellow bags to get more information.
When enough people will shop elsewhere to save a few dollars on a thousand dollar purchase, and you can't drop your price more than you already have, it doesn't matter what your service levels are, you are going to go out of business. This doesn't just apply to camera stores. Look around at what big box retailers have done in every sector of the marketplace. How many specialty electronics shops have closed since Best Buy opened? How many local hardware stores have closed since Home Depot came to town? The list is pretty long, and I don't think it's fair to say that every one of those thousands of proprietors had a bad business plan or dropped the ball. The simple fact is, a small business cannot go up against a category killer with deeper pockets.
When you are a small business, and you are up against a megacorp who advertises that he doesn't care what your price is, he will beat it by 10%, you are going to be in for a very rough ride.
We had a store called "The Photo Lab" here in the late 1980s. All he did was process film. He made the mistake of getting SuperStore's attention, and all of a sudden we had a price war on our hands and the cost to process a roll of film dropped to a couple of dollars. Good for the consumer? Perhaps in the short term, but in the long term, it took out a few small businesses, limiting choice even more in a category that had it's choices eroded quite a bit already.

Sure, it's just business, but it is an example of how capitalism hurts us all. The logical conclusion of capitalism is one giant megacorp, something that is ultimately very bad for consumers. Unfortunately, consumers are too blinkered to figure this out. A lot of the posts I read on this website are testament to that willful shortsightedness.

---------- Post added 11-02-17 at 11:35 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You need to look at the Henry's store maps. I often visits Henry's in St. Catherines, hardly a huge Metropolis with millions of people. But St. catherine's also has Fredericks, which carries Pentax. So I don't know if your comment is about the size of town needed to support a dealer, or how enthusiastic Moose Jaw's citizens are about DSLR photography.
I did. The last time I checked, Mississauga was part of Greater Toronto, with a population of close to 6 million. Would you please stop deliberately misinterpreting my posts.
QuoteQuote:

There is also a Henry's a few miles away in Burlington. That's larger, but still, it's the interest in the community that makes camera store go. The last time I was in Fredericks a young woman came in with a developed roll of film and was discussing with the owner what she needed to do to get a better exposure, There's definitely some enthusiasts there.

The guy is still processing film for people. I was there for 20 minutes and two SLR film shooters camera through while i was there. I'm not sure how many bodies he moves, last time I talked to him he'd sold over 10 K-1s a pile of K-70s and a few heavy duty lenses like the DA*200 and 300s and a DA*50135, from stock in the store. Not everyone is dying out.

The thing with these places is, at Fredericks the owner recognizes me, and let's me know when I come in if he's received any second hand Pentax lenses. At Henry's they look up my purchasing history and don't bother trying to sell me suff I won't buy. So they don't know me, but they quickly know about me. Those things just make the experience more personal.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 11-02-2017 at 10:36 AM.
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