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Monday, 20 June 2022


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I am truly heartened to see a storefront emblazoned with the word ‘camera,’ and whole heartedly wish Central Camera Co. the best.

Having spent a good portion of my working life as a camera store employee, this is really good news to hear. Photographic retail was a tough business in a lot of ways but in today's internet dominated shopping space, it has to be even more difficult to be profitable. Camera stores like Central Camera provide service and a one on one human experience. In camera stores like Central, long time friendships have often begun and flourished between staff and customers. At the store I worked we had a lot of "regulars" that I looked forward to seeing on a regular basis. I probably learned more from those folks than they did from me.

I just watched the latest Jurassic Park movie - "Dominion". They did not let dinosaurs go extinct, but have revived and integrated the old with the new.

Great story and very glad to hear they are back in business! But I can't help wondering why insurance coverage would not have covered the entire loss? Did they have no insurance or did the insurance not cover this damage?

Please reconsider the passage noting that Central Camera in Chicago was burned down and looted during the George Floyd riots. "The owner, Don Flesch, had no bitterness, and stood by the African-American community in solidarity at the time."

THE African-American community doesn't exist. The poor and majority black neighborhoods in Chicago by no means count for all of the city's 800,000 + black residents. Blacks live all over the city, in majority black and in mixed neighborhoods, and they are distributed among all income levels. No doubt, most blacks sat out the rioting, even those in the poorest neighborhoods. It takes only hundreds - or even dozens - to do a lot of damage.

It might be more accurate and just to point out a mob of criminal people who poured out of neighborhood A, or out of neighborhood B, etc.

[I'm not putting words in the guy's mouth. Central Camera owner Don Flesch wrote on the Go Fund Me page in 2020, "Although this is a tough time for the store, it doesn’t compare to the loss of George Floyd’s life and the countless other Black lives lost. We stand with the African American community in solidarity." --Mike]

I apologize for mistakenly implicating you, Mike.

But I stand by my point. The majority's perception of minorities as monoliths is an enormous obstacle.

[I don't know that that's relevant here. Do you stand with the black community re the Buffalo shooter, or do you agree with the shooter's motives? Pick a side.

(This is the kind of back-and-forth I don't allow in the comments section, usually. Maybe you should email me if you want to continue the conversation.) --Mike]

I couldn’t tell from the report. Has their old location rebuilt and the storefront sign been restored? According to the story they are still only open 3 days a week for limited hours. They have had this scheduled for at couple of years. I really hope they have restored that sign and are back, there are precious few camera stores left.

An entrenched notion amongst photographers and their journalists seems to be that camera sales outlets (stores) exist in a binary configuration. That they are either "bricks and mortar" or they are "online merchants."

I think this is a far too simplistic assumption. My local camera store, Precision Camera and Video in Austin, Texas has two bricks and mortar stores here in the city and just opened a store in Houston. They do a brisk business catering to people buying in person BUT they also have a very efficient and highly profitable online sales team as well. Especially in used cameras and lenses both sides of the operation work in close collaboration.

I would conjecture that this combined model is the most prudent way forward for all camera retailers. And is more normal than novel. Just sayin.

Same business strategy goes for the Leica Store in Miami, or Camera West in the Bay area. You can walk in or you can shop online. Both options are available and work well.

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