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09-23-2008, 09:44 AM   #1
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Availability of Pentax in Local USA Camera Stores

When I moved from Wisconsin to Texas all three major independent camera store in the Dallas/Fort Worth TX area carried Pentax equipment. Two of them had phased out Pentax products over the past two years due to lack of sales. The third had maintained an excellent selection until sales reps were fired on the 31st of March. Now their shelves are bare. Olympus and Sony products now fill where the Pentax display was. Is this a just a local thing are is this happing in other local camera stores in the USA?

VR
Darryl

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09-23-2008, 10:37 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
When I moved from Wisconsin to Texas all three major independent camera store in the Dallas/Fort Worth TX area carried Pentax equipment. Two of them had phased out Pentax products over the past two years due to lack of sales. The third had maintained an excellent selection until sales reps were fired on the 31st of March. Now their shelves are bare. Olympus and Sony products now fill where the Pentax display was. Is this a just a local thing are is this happing in other local camera stores in the USA?

Darryl,

What stores in the Dallas area are you visiting? I'm just curious. The Wolf Camera that I visit fairly often (at Greenville and Lovers Ln) carries some Pentax stuff, although I have to admit that isn't what brings me into that store. (I go there for prints, or frames, or filters, etc.) And I understand that Arlington Camera has a good inventory for Pentax. I myself have yet to make it out there, as it's a bit of a drive for me.

Anyway, it's a fact that Pentax just doesn't have the presence in retail stores that Nikon and Canon do. And my sense is that you're right that Sony and Olympus have a bigger presence in retail stores than Pentax. I don't know what explains it. It's one of the disadvantages of the Pentax platform: You need to become very good at buying stuff online. Fortunately, that's easy enough. Next time I'm in NYC I really need to visit B&H and see where all my money has gone.

To be honest, this is somewhat complicated. Even if local camera stores DID stock Pentax bodies and Pentax-mount lenses, I would STILL probably buy most of my stuff online. Why? Because it's (a) easier and (b) cheaper than buying from a bricks and mortar store.

Will
09-23-2008, 12:56 PM   #3
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I should imagine this is happening everywhere. It started like you said because of lack of sales.
I have two camera stores in my vicinity. The first, at the bottom of my street stocks Pentax but I won't shop there because of their incompetence and high prices. They don't sell much Pentax because they don't show Pentax to people. Their catchment area is very affluent and they push what they make the most profit on.

The second store is still really into film, most of the staff are film students and they are helpful and enthusiastic. They still sell second hand Pentax stuff so I go in there from time to time. Whenever I do, I tell them that I wished they stocked Pentax and a couple of times, members of stuff felt the same as I. Last week I emailed them and I got a standard response saying that they were a small shop and could only stock so much.
I actually replied to this thanking her for her response but I suggested that it would have been more honest to have told me that the store made more profit from other brands sales.
I kept this all friendly, the title of my email was "I would love to be your customer".
My reply was forwarded to management and I received an email from the manager in charge of sales.
She told me that they used to stock Pentax but it gathered dust on their shelves. She also admitted that they still had an account with Pentax and could order stuff for me.
At least I came out of it with somewhere else to order from.

I think Pentax has to carry most of the blame for this state of affairs, they didn't enter the market aggressively enough, they seemed to have the attitude that if they made them, people would buy them, instead of advertising, advertising, advertising.
09-23-2008, 01:43 PM   #4
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In Houston they don't carry very much either. At Houston Camera Exchange they have a very small selection, and at the Camera Co-op I don't remember seeing much of anything. Hopefully the new K2000 camera will help Pentax out.

09-23-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Darryl,

What stores in the Dallas area are you visiting? I'm just curious.

To be honest, this is somewhat complicated. Even if local camera stores DID stock Pentax bodies and Pentax-mount lenses, I would STILL probably buy most of my stuff online. Why? Because it's (a) easier and (b) cheaper than buying from a bricks and mortar store.

Will
Competative Camera was the first to drop Pentax in the DFW area. Then came Fort Worth Camera Supply and now Arlington Camera. Yes Wolf still has Pentax, but it's not what I consider top of the line stuff like Limited lens etc.

VR
Darryl
09-23-2008, 01:48 PM   #6
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Same in Phoenix...

QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
When I moved from Wisconsin to Texas all three major independent camera store in the Dallas/Fort Worth TX area carried Pentax equipment. Two of them had phased out Pentax products over the past two years due to lack of sales. The third had maintained an excellent selection until sales reps were fired on the 31st of March. Now their shelves are bare. Olympus and Sony products now fill where the Pentax display was. Is this a just a local thing are is this happing in other local camera stores in the USA?

VR
Darryl

PS
I raised this issue a while back (see: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-pentax-photography/31757-time-switch-brands.htmland) and was generally slapped around for being a brand traitor... well, that's an exaggeration, but it is a problem, it is getting worse, and all the new product at trade shows means little to newcomers and would-be buyers if they can't see the stuff on the shelf, talk to store reps who know about the product and do some hands-on shopping,
FHPhotographer
09-23-2008, 01:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
Competative Camera was the first to drop Pentax in the DFW area. Then came Fort Worth Camera Supply and now Arlington Camera. Yes Wolf still has Pentax, but it's not what I consider top of the line stuff like Limited lens etc.

Darryl,

Ah, so Arlington Camera carries no Pentax equipment? I'm surprised. As I said, I have not gotten out there yet, but I'd heard that it was the closest thing in the DFW area to one of the big stores in New York City and I was planning a trip one afternoon soon just to reconnoiter. Guess I'll save the gas.

Don's Photo (a used equipment store) on the west side of downtown Dallas has had some Pentax stuff. I've been there a number of times and purchased things. Last time I was there he was eager to know if I had any Pentax lenses I was willing to sell. It's a mixed bag of course and he's got what he's got the day you walk in, but it's worth a stop if you're in the area.

I mostly use Dell computers now running Microsoft Windows, but from 1985 to 2005 I was almost exclusively a Mac OS user, and the problems I had with the Mac OS were similar to those we Pentax photographers have. Stores seldom carrier much Apple or Mac-compatible stuff, it was often old and out of date (that's still true, outside the stores run by Apple itself), the sales people didn't know what they're talking about (well, that's often true even for the stuff that they DO carry). I regard these as minor inconveniences. The big issue for me then was, will Apple stay in business? The big issue for me now is, will Pentax stay in business. As long as Amazon, B&H and Adorama sell Pentax stuff - and Pentax stuff continues to be worth buying - I'm okay.

Will
09-23-2008, 01:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote

To be honest, this is somewhat complicated. Even if local camera stores DID stock Pentax bodies and Pentax-mount lenses, I would STILL probably buy most of my stuff online. Why? Because it's (a) easier and (b) cheaper than buying from a bricks and mortar store.

Will
Bill, For got to mention that Arlington Camera'a prices were always equal to or lower than B&H or Adorama if you didn't have to figure the sales tax.

VR
Darryl

09-23-2008, 03:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
Competative Camera was the first to drop Pentax in the DFW area. Then came Fort Worth Camera Supply and now Arlington Camera. Yes Wolf still has Pentax, but it's not what I consider top of the line stuff like Limited lens etc.

VR
Darryl
Darryl, I have taken a couple classes out at Richland and the instructer (who works for CC) kept trying to talk me out of staying with Pentax. He kept giving me the same old line (you know Pentax is dead, esp after the sales force was canned) but I stayed and upgraded to the K20D, along with some new glass. I bought those thru Beach. I did buy the battery grip at Arlington Camera last spring, but it looked like thier selection was being pared down. I did go and look at the K20D at Wolf's at Old Town Village store before I bought, but they didn't even want to match the deal their own online operation was doing. If fact I was even lectured about the evils of avoiding sales tax. But to address your op I don't see it changing until Hoya/ Pentax does some meaningful marketing.
09-23-2008, 05:27 PM   #10
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I called Samy's Camera a month or so ago, and I was told by their Main Location in Los Angeles that they will no longer carry Pentax products...that hurt and also made me feel like switching to another platform. However, i'm still a Pentaxian. I'm gonna wait until after Photokina and see what other news may come up.
09-23-2008, 05:57 PM   #11
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I was in Germany earlier this month and was surprised to see how many camera stores and large electronic chain stores carried Pentax equipment. Seemed to me like Pentax receives equal shelf space next to Sony and Olympus, while Nikon and Canon both dominated there as well.

Still, a potential customer here in the US has to order online or walk into a poorly-stocked camera store who only tries to push Nikon or Canon. When I got my K110D at Ritz Camera earlier this year, I had to ask four or five times before the sales clerk even let me lay my hands on it. When I decided to purchase the camera, I was told to come back the next day because he wasn't sure where the box was.

I wish Pentax cameras would be more readily available to play with at stores like Best Buy or Circuit City. It seems to me a majority of amateur shooters who switch to a DSLR system often are intimadated by the lingo and sales tactics of sales people and probably would prefer just playing with the camera right there and then.
09-23-2008, 07:40 PM   #12
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I went to J&R in NYC and asked to see Pentax and was told by the DSLR salesperson, "no you don't want to look at that, stick to Canon and Nikon".

I walked out and bought it elsewhere.

BTW, J&R is depressing. It is like Mecca for photographers. The Pentax section is approx. 5% as big as Canon's and 10% as big as Nikon's, but they do have everything.
09-23-2008, 10:45 PM   #13
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I have to admit, it's all about advertising/marketing! My first dSLR was an *istDL and it performed quite well. After a couple of years to date, I sold that and upgraded to the K200D. WOW...much better! However, it's hard convincing others of the great quality you will get from Pentax cameras-- the technology, the weatherproofing, the cost-comparison....all these you will get from this manufacturer.

I can tell you guys from first hand knowledge, I work in a camera store and Pentax tends to sit on the shelf collecting dust. When people come in and don't know which camera to go for and have about $500-$800 to spend, I try to point them to Pentax, and not because I am partial, but because for cameras in that price point it beats them. Unfortunately, Pentax doesn't really market themselves, so when these folks come in, they've already "heard" that Nik/Can have the best DSLRs. I literally put the DSLRs side by side and make comparisons. If they still are not convinced, I pull out my weapon: printed images I've done with the K10D, the *istDL, and the K200D. AT THAT VERY MOMENT, THEY ARE LIKE -WOW- . Only at that point can I seal the deal because they have proof that the camera is on par or better in some respects than their comparably priced competitors.

SO, Pentax needs to do commercials, more print ads and whatever to "get the word out" on how fabulous and cost conservative their products are. It's only then will we see more demand for Pentax.

www.flickr.com/jdpimages/show

JDP
09-24-2008, 06:10 AM   #14
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Well NATCAM in the Minneapolis area still carries some Pentax gear and is willing to sell you some if you want it and does not bash Pentax products. One of the store managers told me that Pentax is hard to deal with since they fired all their reps so no one comes in any more to push new products.

It is hard for Pentax to sell products no one knows about!

Tom
09-24-2008, 07:22 AM   #15
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Camera store point of view

As a manager for a Ritz Store, I have a unique view of the availibilty issue. I know the frustration from a Pentax users view, but also from the retail view. It is true that Ritz is not currently carrying a large selection of Pentax gear. It does have to do with the restructuring of the sales force to some extent, but it also has to do with you the customer. I hear all the complaints of, "they don't carry anything" or "They don't have what I want", but If they did, would you buy it from them? Would you just go there to look at it, handle it, and then go shop for it online? That is my gripe as a retail manager. Too often people forget about the possibility of good service just to save a few dollars. I have driven 350 miles round trip on a saturday morning to take care of a customers order that was mis- shipped because that customer was willing to pay a little more than online. It is that service and the ability to look someone in the eye and get what you need that makes the difference.

Last Christmas season, Pentax made a large commitment to Ritz Camera to supply K10d bodies and K100d bodies. It was a focus camera for the ritz stores nationwide. It did sell well in some areas. My store could not keep them in stock. I was personally in heaven, having the product. Nationally, the cameras did not sell real well due to online sales and a lack of training from Pentax. The change in the sales force then happend and things did not work out well between ritz and pentax.

So, who is to blame for the lack of product in your local stores? Pentax is one, but the local shopper is also to blame for not supporting the local store and buying locally.

Sorry for the Rant but it is my 2 cents.
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