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Old May 22nd, 2006, 08:38 PM   #1
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Support your local camera (shop)

I try to help the non-Walmart locals every chance I get. I figure if you support them now--even if it means paying a little extra, they will be there tomorrow when you want a "personal touch." It gets pretty hard sometimes, especially when they make it hard. Case in point:

I have researched and found that for my budget a Bogen 701RC2 video head would suit my needs perfectly for the GL2 as a backpack setup. So I tried to get Cord Camera to order one (no they didn't have one to look at, just a 3130). They tried to talk me into something different (a 3130). Finally, I persuaded them that I did want the 701 and could they order it for me? They weren't sure, they would have to get back to me. I left my number. That was on a Friday. Monday they called and said yes they could order it and it would take 10 business days. The price was $119 plus tax, or approx. $127 shipped to them (read "another 20 minute trip to their store with no traffic"). No, they couldn't take my credit card over the phone, I had to personally hand it to them before they special ordered this head. So I drove over to their store. When I went in to give them my card, another 20 minutes passed as I waited for the "right guy" who could take my order. I really want to help the little guy, but they make it tough, especially when I can point and click my way to a new one for $106 delivered to my door in just a few days.

So, essentially, I overpaid by $21 or 18%, made several trips to a their store, so I could get friendly but rather unhelpful information. No wonder why the mom and pop shops are going out of business and B&H and Adorama are doing so well. Would I do it again? Yes, because I DO want the little guy to win.

Sorry, I just had to vent. Anyone else feeling that way?

Oh, I forgot to mention the 58mm wide angle lens they didn't have, but you get the idea . . .
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:54 AM   #2
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Hi Sterret,

I agree with you completely and felt this topic to be important enough that it should be moved to our Sponsors forum for a little better visibility (previously it was in Support Your Local Camera).

I'm a firm believer in the little guy as well. That's why the majority of our site sponsors here are relatively small businesses, such as Zotz Digital in Grant's Pass, Oregon and Omega Broadcast in Austin, Texas. In fact one of them is just one guy working on his own... Marcos Gonzalez of Spider Brace.

Sure B&H is on DV Info Net, they're the elephant you can't ignore. If somebody wants a one-stop online order shop, they're one of the best. Plus they're also a retail brick and mortar, and a family owned business. They started out as a mom & pop shop and they remember where their roots are. So yes B&H is on here but so are a bunch of smaller "little guy" outfits that have what it takes to succeed, namely customer service, knowledge and experience.

Several times I've encouraged our readers to skip our sponsors and buy locally if they're looking locally. If you spend time chatting with the person behind the counter picking their brain, then have the good graces to return the favor and give your business to them. Plus there's a lot to be said for the face to face relationship that develops from being a regular walk-in customer over time. That extra little bit you pay for full retail and sales tax really does pay for itself, sometimes over and over, from that kind of dedication.

An excellent post, Sterret, and welcome to DV Info Net.

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Old May 23rd, 2006, 07:34 AM   #3
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I agree with the stuff up and above, plus many mom & pop stories not only excel in dedication & knowledge but also a few other arena's. We have a store downtown that does great rental business, because of a wide selection and solid price points, and I'd be damned if I could rent a camera and/or equipment from BH.

That said retail prices withstanding, it can be a big jump from BH to a Mom & POP, sometimes hundreds of dollars, so you've got to pick & choose how to proceed.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 09:53 PM   #4
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I followed the transaction up to the point where you said you would do it again.

The shop you dealt with in this instance is not a good example of the type of local business I would make a special effort to support. They didn't sound very appreciative or helpful.

Life is too short to waste my time on such cases. Kinda like responding in computer forums!


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Old June 1st, 2006, 01:15 PM   #5
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I have just been nothing but frustrated with all of my local camera shops. They never have anything in stock that you can look at, and you usually can't return special order items. I mean, come on, my local shops don't even carry ND filters in stock! I am all for supporting local business and I would rather give my money back to my community than to some faceless business in NY but it's just really hard when it seems like these stores are only suitable if you want your kids birthday pictures developed.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 07:01 AM   #6
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This topic hits close to home (pun intended).

It is true these days that a lot of what I need is simply not available locally. Local shops stock what sells locally. Most have relationships however with large distributors and can order just about anything. I've had great success with mainstream products like Manfrotto. I've struck up a nice relationship with one of the local pro shops. Often I will come to them with the products I need (they can't be experts on everything) and the price that I feel is competitive. Guess what? They are very competitive with large online retailers, I don't pay shipping, I don't worry about customs, and if there's a problem, I'm not shipping anything back. Relationships like this work both ways. Invariably they take an interest in what you're doing, and opportunities seem to just spring up once you establish a local network.

Same thing with manufacturing. These days, there's a push to have everything made overseas. Given my current project, there's no question that overseas mass manufacture is cheaper...but is it? Local businesses that are not even given a chance to compete simply disappear. I won't get into the economic issues for fear of taking the thread off track. The machine shop doing my CNC work is 10 minutes from my house. You'd be amazed at how many issues get sorted out in 5 minutes of face to face, vs the long distance alternatives. There's a huge savings in time/money there.

Look at what you're paying, the hassle with warranty work, shipping, driving for pick up (if you need to), and you might find the local deal better than you think. At the end of the day, you might even get something nice out of a new relationship with your vendors.
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Old June 10th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #7
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The Rest of the Story . . .

I don't know how many Paul Harvey fans are out there, but here's the rest of the story:

Today, Saturday, June 10th, I called if they had received it and they said, "Yes, the video head is in, I was going to call you, as it came in yesterday . . ." Was it worth waiting 18 days (twice as long as it was promised)? Yes. I love the 701RC2 for what I am going to use it for. I experimented in the yard with it: GL2, Gitzo 2228 tripod. I had my 7 year old daughter ride by on her bike for some fast pans. Seems to be very smooth. Its going to work just fine for my purposes.

Would I do it again? That is, buy from the same store, I doubt it. I'll see if there is another shop in the area. If not, it may be internet sales for me. Looking at the B&H catalog brings back memories of me as a 6 year old looking at the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog. They seem to have everything a guy could possibly need or want. Not much has changed in 30 years though: I still want what I can't afford.

Thanks to all those who viewed and replied to my post
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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I have had a mixed experience with local shops.
When I was flying RC planes I found a great local shop.
The owner was one of the nicest guys (store owner) I ever met.
He had tons of used gear, knew everything there was to know and had good prices on new gear.

Bought a JVC Gy-HD 100 from a local shop, I don't think anyone there knew how to use it. They were happy to "sell" me the camera, but I was relying on them to order the right stuff for my camera. I ordered a nice set of filters for my new camera, waited 3 weeks for them, just to discover they didn't order the right size. And I'm supposed to bring my hd 100 in for service at this place? I don't think so.

So I guess it depends, a great local shop is ideal, but...

BTW I buy all my computer gear from a small local shop, I thin it's called fry'

Last edited by Jon Jaschob; June 22nd, 2006 at 04:11 PM.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 02:12 PM   #9
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I live in Richmond Va, and I have 0, Zero, 4-4, for anything. The only local shop deals strictly in still photography. And even though they have Bogen reps, the local shop refused to help me get items from Bogen.

I guess my point is, there are some of us that soeley rely on B&H, EVS and the like. What sucks is we don't have a good opportunity to demo squat.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 02:29 PM   #10
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Camera shops are like Doctors... You don't go to a foot doctor to do open heart, and you don't go to a local Mom and Pop camera store for video expertise. Most of them barely have any idea what video is, let alone know how to provide you with knowledgable service.
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