I wanted to take a quick break from the normal blog posts to say thank you to a camera store that I’ve come to know over the last few years. This industry is big… but not too big that you can’t take a blog post to say thanks for some one who’s helped you.
I have some friends in the Dallas area, and a few years ago they introduced me to Eugene who owns/runs Competitive Cameras along with his family. Over the years we’ve become friends and he and his team recently asked if I’d come out and do a small workshop for some of their customers this past weekend. Personally I love it when I get to sit down for the day with small groups, so I jumped at the chance.
It sounds weird I’m thanking a camera store for this, but it’s true because they set it up. Groups like I had this past weekend are what really keeps me going in education. We had such a nice bunch of people, and when there’s only 20 of them, there’s no big A/V systems, or large setups. Its basically me sitting just feet away from everyone else, and we can talk about anything at that point.
So, for starters, I have to say thanks to Eugene and Scott at Competitive Cameras for putting this together, as well as my friends Steve (AKA: Scott), the other Scott, Joann, and John for making me feel so welcome. But a huge thanks to everyone who came out to that workshop because you guys are what keep me going.
Now… I know it’s going to sound like they paid me to do this. And they actually just finished backing up a HUGE truckload of money in to my front door so I’m happy to do it 😉 Seriously though, they didn’t pay me a penny to say this. I’m writing this to first off, use what little ways I have to say thank you – teaching with groups like I did actually helps me immensely because I really get to see what kinds of questions and issues are holding people back. I leave something like that reinvigorated with ideas and that means the world to me.
But I’m also writing this because I noticed something while stopping by the store. I can sum it up in one word… trust. They’ve got people that actually fly in from all over the world to buy a camera and their gear there. I seriously heard story after story about people coming crazy large distances to shop there. While I was in the store, there was a couple that had just bought a D750 and a lens in from Oklahoma. My US geography isn’t great, but I know that’s a multi-hour drive, when they could have just gotten it online. Why? It’s not the price. Eugene is of course competitive with all of the online retailers, but you’re probably not going to save a ton of money – there’s actually VERY little wiggle room in this industry these days. Regardless though, gas alone would make it more expense. It’s because they trust them. When that woman I saw reads through online reviews, websites, box-opening videos, and “first looks” its nearly impossible to actually come up with an informed decision. I usually leave a review website more confused than when I got there. I’m sorry but it’s true. I refuse to read them anymore because most of them are useless. And don’t get me start on first looks and box opening videos. They tell me absolutely nothing. But she trusts Eugene, and she knows when she walks in that store, and stands in front of some one, they’ll help her gets what’s best for her.
And sure, everyone says they have the best service. But man, when you’re loyal to a camera store like that, and they know your face or name from the phone, you’d better bet if you call with a service or support issue they’re going to do their best to take care of you. I won’t go in to it, but I heard story after story about how people were helped.
So… to all of you reading. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my gratitude for my “Dallas Family”, as I think I’ll start calling them. In fact, I think I’m going to do this more often, so hopefully you guys don’t mind 🙂
Eugene and Scott (and everyone else) at Competitive Cameras are just plain good people. It goes back to trust – I realized how much that meant the other day when I had some one ask me about a lens to buy. I realized they were asking me because they trusted me. Now, I can’t recommend everything because I don’t come in to contact with all different gear, so I can only speak to what I’ve used. But the folks at CC have been around for many years, worked with everything, and for a long time. They ship anywhere, and if you simply just want a trustworthy person to talk to on the phone, while still paying competitive prices for your gear, give ’em a call. Thanks!
You said it well. You can trust these guys. I’ve done business with Competitive Camera for years, beginning with Eugene’s dad, Ramsey. I told Ramsey once that I appreciated them because they had never sold me junk. While their store is smaller than some of the big box stores, their selection is first rate and their prices are great.
Give credit where it is due. Ramsey is the man. I was buying from him back when he was in Garland. Bargaining with Ramsey was as much fun as owning the new piece of equipment. he built the business and passed it on to his son. I can only hope it continues to thrive. Thanks, Ramsey.
I can say the same thing about our local Camera Store, Tuttle Cameras of Long Beach, CA. I have been a customer there for 50 years and have come to rely on their knowledge, service and generosity. Eric and crew will do just about anything to help you with your camera and photography needs. I support them all the time.
You hit the nail on the head, Matt. Eugene and company know cameras and photography. I totally trust their advice. There’s huge value in the service they offer. I’m very thankful I only have to drive 10 minutes to Competitve Camera. But I would be willing to drive hours.
Eugene and Competitive Cameras are the best! I live in Arizona, but makes no difference – service rocks! Glad you gave them some well-deserved recognition.
Times are not good right now for your local small retail camera store. You want to buy from the big e-store or the big box store because of their lower prices. But please think about the neighborhood store (if you have one). Their margins are pretty small, and they may not be there tomorrow. Yeah, yesterday you could go there and buy a roll of film or a mailer. Today you may not need that memory card nor camera battery. But where can you go to talk photography. Who are you going to sell that used equipment to or get that passport picture from. Remember he probably won’t charge you when you forget how to transfer your smartphone picture to Instagram. Help the poor guy make a living. Two years ago I lost the local who had been there for 40 years for my father-in-law and me. Yeah my first Nikon and my first digital camera.