Brick & Mortar Photo Shops
Old 11-26-2017   #1
intheviewfinder
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Brick & Mortar Photo Shops

There's no thread documenting photo stores, shops , etc?
Let's see some. Keep the hope alive <grin>
Inside, outside - don't care.

Let me start...

Bromfield Camera, Boston MA USA
Family owned and operated camera store. One of the oldest, if not the oldest in New England. Been around for nearly 50 years.
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Old 11-26-2017   #2
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Is that you behind the counter?
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Old 11-26-2017   #3
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HA!
Nope.
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Old 11-26-2017   #4
sepiareverb
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Love Bromfield. One of the closest stores to me at 3 hours drive.
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Old 11-26-2017   #5
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If you are ever in Chicago, check out Central Camera. A wonderful old store with a little bit of everything. Joe
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Old 11-26-2017   #6
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Quote:
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If you are ever in Chicago, check out Central Camera. A wonderful old store with a little bit of everything. Joe
I used to love going to Altmans but it's been gone for years. I think it was billed as the largest camera store in the US in its day. It was a couple of doors down from Central Camera.
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Old 11-26-2017   #7
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When I was in college twenty five years ago, I worked at Columbus Camera Group in Columbus, Ohio. What an amazing inventory they had. A lot of you Guys probably perused their "Shutterbug" ads in that magazine. At one point we were up to ten pages of stuff! I literally answered calls from all over the world. My specific areas of expertise were the extensive Leica and large format items at the "white church". What an experience.

Scan-150209-0001 by Nokton48, on Flickr

Columbus Camera Group exterior detail. 9x9cm image Plaubel Makiflex SLR, exposed on 4x5" Efke PL100 sheet film.







Yesterday I took my Wife to Midwest Photo Exchange to buy a new long zoom for her Canon digital. Their new location is very spacious. It is huge inside. They have two maxed out rental darkrooms, and even have a very spacious classroom with plug ins for your laptop! Midwest Photo was started by two of the partners from Columbus Camera Group. Quite a success story in our area.

You can handle the merch and they are very competitive regarding camera prices

url=https://flic.kr/p/GYpHtt][/url]mpex by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 11-26-2017   #8
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Old 11-26-2017   #9
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Too bad, so sad with so many shops gone. I worked at Altman's for about 2.5 years, right up to May, 1975 when they closed. There simply was no other like it. In the early to mid 70's there were probably 10 camera stores either within the Loop (downtown Chicago) or just outside. Besides Altman's there was Wolk's, (3 locations) Central, Bass, Shutan, Camera Exchange, plus several others whose names escape me now. Also neighbor stores, Darkroom Aids was one and a bunch more.

In 2009 returned after 30 years for a visit to Chicago, except for Central, they are all gone. Can not even find what happened or when to Wolk's, no trace. Same for most of the rest.
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Old 11-26-2017   #10
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Fort Wayne's last camera store closed back in July after 90 years in business. Sad. There are only three good camera stores left anywhere in Indiana now.
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Old 11-27-2017   #11
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Besides Altman's there was Wolk's, (3 locations) Central, Bass, Shutan, Camera Exchange, plus several others whose names escape me now.
My first camera of my own came from Bass. I needed one in a hurry to finish a class I was taking, and the old Minolta SR-1 I was using at the time (my parents) died in the middle of a field trip we made to Chicago. So on Saturday, my dad took me to Bass and we bought the cheapest new SLR they had and we proceeded to re-trace the trip which had taken place just a few days earlier.
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Old 11-27-2017   #12
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Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon as seen by my Widelux F7. This was during a black and white photo exhibit opening, so it's a bit crowded

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Old 11-27-2017   #13
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Wing's Camera in Atlanta, GA has been in continuous operation for over 100 years---it's a great place to do business!
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Old 11-27-2017   #14
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Drinking beer in the camera shop..... Only in Portland! (Love Portland)

Blue Moon is a breath of fresh air. They have used Leica, some rather interesting items too.
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Old 11-27-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
Too bad, so sad with so many shops gone. I worked at Altman's for about 2.5 years, right up to May, 1975 when they closed. There simply was no other like it. In the early to mid 70's there were probably 10 camera stores either within the Loop (downtown Chicago) or just outside. Besides Altman's there was Wolk's, (3 locations) Central, Bass, Shutan, Camera Exchange, plus several others whose names escape me now. Also neighbor stores, Darkroom Aids was one and a bunch more.

In 2009 returned after 30 years for a visit to Chicago, except for Central, they are all gone. Can not even find what happened or when to Wolk's, no trace. Same for most of the rest.
Dodd Camera is not old here but just expanded into a larger space.
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Old 11-27-2017   #16
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Drinking beer in the camera shop..... Only in Portland! (Love Portland)

Blue Moon is a breath of fresh air. They have used Leica, some rather interesting items too.
I live in Olympia but get down to Portland once in a while. Only visited Blue moon once. Prices seemed a bit high but you are right, a breath of fresh air. Don't have much money but felt I should support them in some way so I bought 2 rolls of film for my Minox 8X11, $20 a roll but I'll reload the cartridges many times and do my own B&W so that price is amortized over many rolls. All they get are the empty cartridges, they have to apply felt and load them with film. I think they must be using a rolling slitter to cut down 35mm to 2 strips of 9.2 mm. They are the distributor for Minox film for all of North America. Otherwise it's buy NOS film on ebay, discard the film and reload.
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Old 11-27-2017   #17
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Gene's Camera Store is on Main Street in Mishawaka, Indiana. Small town camera shops are rapidly disappearing all over the United States due to competition from big online stores. Even in large cities, many camera stores are struggling to stay open. Mishawaka is a small city of about 50,000 people on the northern edge of Indiana, between the larger cities of South Bend and Elkhart.

Indiana still has a number of locally owned camera stores that have managed to survive. Gene's also has a larger store in nearby South Bend, Indiana's fourth largest city. The South Bend store is much more modern and includes a full-service professional photo lab. I've had them do large format digital prints for me when I have sold prints too big to print at home, and the quality was great.
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Old 11-27-2017   #18
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Would you all really make major purchases from these shops? I mean versus online.

Chicago sales tax is 10.25%. That's a premium I'm not willing to pay. But I also would not go in and look, knowing I will buy online. I visit Central for film and other low-cost items, but that's about it.

John

I actually bought a lot of gear, both new and used, from Sunny Schick. I also bought an enormous amount of film, paper, ink, and chemicals from them over the years. The only time I bought online was if i needed something they didn't carry.
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Old 11-27-2017   #19
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How about now, Chris? Say you were buying the 5D IV. Would you pay the extra $225 (in my case $328) to buy local? Honestly, I would not. The local shops really are at an unfortunate disadvantage.

John

I can't buy anything locally. There are no stores here anymore.

That said, I bought, new, a Nikon D-70, a Kodak DCS-14n, and a Canon 5DmkII from Sunny Schick. I would buy another new camera from them if I could.
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Old 11-27-2017   #20
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The coolest store front of a camera shop...ever.
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Old 11-27-2017   #21
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The coolest store front of a camera shop...ever.

The inside is just as cool. I've visited Central many times over the years. Chicago is about a 3 hour drive from me.
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Old 11-27-2017   #22
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Would love to see an interior shot of Chicago's Central Camera.
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Old 11-27-2017   #23
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I might have some somewhere. I bought 2 Canon new F-1s there in the early 1980s. Don is the owner and a great guy. It's been in his family since the beginning. It looks like an old Camera store with stuff everywhere.
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Old 11-28-2017   #24
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Old 11-28-2017   #25
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Fullerton Camera (http://fullertoncameras.com/)

Just up the road from Disneyland and other Orange County attractions. In addition to new and used camera and lens sales, they also sell film and have a good selection of rental equipment.
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Old 11-28-2017   #26
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The Glass Key is a small but well stocked used camera store in downtown San Francisco. I don't have a photo of their new store. They were on Haight but recently moved to a larger place at 1230 Sutter.
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Old 11-28-2017   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
Would you all really make major purchases from these shops? I mean versus online.

Chicago sales tax is 10.25%. That's a premium I'm not willing to pay. But I also would not go in and look, knowing I will buy online. I visit Central for film and other low-cost items, but that's about it.

John
I've purchased misc items, lighting gear and my Tamron 70-200 2.8 from my local camera store. I have zero issues supporting them and their knowledge and drive 30+ minutes each way to get there in the process.
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Old 11-28-2017   #28
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I don't have a photo of Dominion in Falls Church, VA, but they continue to hang on. I don't need any expensive gear any more, but I continue to buy film there as well as printing paper, and chemicals. They also have a large used film (and I think digital) inventory. Hope they hang on.

Believe it or not, there is a Leica store near Chinatown (or maybe considered in it) in DC. I've never been there myself as I have no desire to own a Leica.
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Old 11-28-2017   #29
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I don't have any photos but there's a great store called Photo Source if you're in the Sacramento area. There used to be Pardee's which also sold used gear, but they closed down a couple years ago. As far as I know, Photo Source is the only brick & mortar that still sells used gear.
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Old 11-28-2017   #30
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I posted this on my Photos From Fort Wayne thread yesterday, but they really belong here. These are some photos i made of the last days of Fort Wayne's last camera store.

Sunny Schick Camera Shop closed its doors forever at the end of July, 2017. For 90 years, the store was a fixture in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. When Sunny Schick closed, it was the last remaining camera store in Indiana's second largest city.

The store was founded in the 1920s by Martin "Sunny" Schick, a local professional photographer. The store changed ownership several times in its long history, but the owners always kept the iconic name in honor of the store's founder.

During my lifetime, Sunny Schick was known for having a giant camera sign on the side of the building that faced the small parking lot. From the time I was a kid until several years after I graduated from college, the sign depicted a Nikon F3, which was a 1980's era professional 35mm camera. When the F3 sign got too faded, it was replaced by a Canon Digital Rebel. That was later replaced by the Nikon D2x that was there when the store closed.

I began shopping at Sunny Schick when I was just a kid. Back then, the store was owned by an old man named Dana Christie. He bought the store in 1980, and after he retired in 2002 he passed the store to his son, Bill. Bill's wife worked at Sunny Schick for several years, and their son, Andrew worked there for the last few years that Sunny Schick was open. Bill closed the store so that he could retire. Local camera stores all over the country are closing due to competition from online stores, and Bill felt that the store wouldn't be viable for a new owner.

The store's closing was a sad event for me, and for my fellow photographers in Fort Wayne. Sunny Schick was more than just a store, it was a gathering place and a center of our little creative community. The store's owners were photographers, too. The Christies always treated me like a friend, not just a customer.

The cramped little building on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Ewing Street in downtown Fort Wayne had a special warmth and charm that modern retail stores can never equal. It was originally a small house that was expanded a couple of times in the front. The view of the store from the side makes it look like three buildings stuck together.

Sunny Schick's closing sale began on June 22 and continued until the store had finally sold nearly everything, including many of the fixtures, at the end of July. I visited the store several times as the prices dropped and the merchandise melted away. I made the final photographs of the place as the lights went out on the last day, when 90 years of history came to an end.




The sale began at 10% off, eventually dropping to 90% off on the last day. Most of the good stuff sold on the very first day. 7-24-17




Andrew Christie, the owner's son who worked as a salesman at the store for the last few years it was open, stands behind the counter. 6-26-17




6-26-17




6-26-17




The last day. 7-29-17




The last day, 7-29-17. All that's left is some misc. accessories and a lot of old instruction manuals.




The end. The doors are locked, the customers gone, the lights turned off for the last time. 7-29-17
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Old 11-28-2017   #31
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I stumbled upon Central Camera when at a meeting in Chicago many years ago. Great store, friendly folks, tons of vintage gear.
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Old 11-28-2017   #32
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Those Sunny store pics are depressing..
Reminds me of when my local shop closed a few years ago..
Looked basically the same at the end..
I miss those times..when shops like these were common place..and gathering places for like minded individuals..
I got all kinds of good used equip from my shop..called Midtown Photo..
Leica & Rollie stuff..they would always call me when good stuff came in..even when it wasn't on consignment..and some guy just wanted to off some cool equip they had..like my 1935 Deardorff 8x10 for $500-...
Cant beat those days..
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Old 11-28-2017   #33
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I have just been in Japan, BIC camera has 205 branches all over the country and in Shinjuku (Tokyo) it is 6 floors high with all sorts of electronic goods as well.
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Old 11-28-2017   #34
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Here is a series of photos I took at Central Camera in Chicago last year.
Steve Rosenblum

Central Camera Salesman by stevierose, on Flickr

Last edited by stevierose : 11-28-2017 at 18:02. Reason: To add name
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Old 11-28-2017   #35
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Central Camera

Central Camera by stevierose, on Flickr
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Old 11-28-2017   #36
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Central Camera

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Old 11-28-2017   #37
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Window at Central Camera

Central Window by stevierose, on Flickr
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Old 11-28-2017   #38
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Central Camera

Enlargers by stevierose, on Flickr

Last edited by stevierose : 11-28-2017 at 18:04. Reason: Add photo link
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Old 11-28-2017   #39
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We actually have a new camera store here in Ann Arbor, opened by a young fellow, that appears to be thriving. I wrote an article about it here:
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...-unicorns.html

Steve Rosenblum
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Old 11-28-2017   #40
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Maybe there is some hope yet!
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