Back in the day, I sold cameras for Macy’s while attending grad school. I loved doing this because I’d gotten an Olympus OM-1 as a college graduation gift, and photography was a passion.
This was also the time when nearby brick and mortar photo shops were starting to feel the pressure of big-city volume sales dealers operating successfully with no customer service personnel, but decidedly cheaper prices.
I remember selling a Minolta XG-M outfit to a customer, after spending an hour explaining the in’s and out’s of still photography, so that the desired purchase would be somewhat matched with competent use.
Upon completion of the sale, the customer said point blank that if she found the same gear in NYC for less, she’d be returning everything to Macy’s. I informed her that indeed should could find a lower price in Manhattan, but the advice she’d received, for nothing, wouldn’t have been available.
The following week, the outfit was returned, for full-credit, and the mail-order, volume pricing won out.
Fast forward to Milford Photo, a brick and mortar establishment that manages to provide competitive pricing AND quality customer advice and service!
The huge mass merchants of “gear” have their place, and I use them too.
But the ability to shop locally and effectively still matters, and in an internet, Amazon world, Milford Photo, in Connecticut, has found a niche others would do well to emulate.
They don’t just sell the equipment, they share the love of the art.
Thus they have survived, and, indeed, thrived.