28/02/2017 - 13:00

Customer focus keeps Camera Electronic in the picture

28/02/2017 - 13:00

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At a time when bricks and mortar retailers are facing an online onslaught, and with just about every person on the street having a camera in their pocket, Camera Electronic is fighting back, opening a new store in the CBD.

ALL BASES: Saul (left) and Howard Frank say Camera Electronic’s new consumer-oriented shop complements its Stirling Street sales and service centre for professionals and enthusiasts. Photo: Attila Csaszar

At a time when bricks and mortar retailers are facing an online onslaught, and with just about every person on the street having a camera in their pocket, Camera Electronic is fighting back, opening a new store in the CBD.

Camera Electronic recently opened its second Perth store, in the heart of the CBD on Murray Street, with the new outlet complementing the family-owned retailer’s Stirling Street headquarters, which celebrated its 20th year in operation in January.

However, Camera Electronic has been around even longer than that, having been set up by current proprietors Saul and Howard Frank’s father, Ron, in the early 1970s.

Saul Frank said his father established a camera repair shop in Angove Street in 1971, which quickly grew to include retail sales.

Once Camera Electronic shifted to Stirling Street in the late 1990s, the business was able to grow into its current form – a comprehensive camera and accessories store with all levels of photographic gear, a repair workshop and a second-hand dealer.

In 2010, the Franks purchased the property next door to its Stirling Street shop and established Shoot Photography Workshops, to provide photography-based training to complement the retail store.

Howard Frank said the continued growth of the business was simply down to providing an extra level of service not available at a JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, or any other big-box electronics retailer.

“It’s all great to sell people gear, anyone can do that, but that’s only a small part of it,” Howard Frank told Business News.

“The thing that we want to do is get people using it, getting results and enjoying and embracing photography.”

Saul Frank said the new city store allowed Camera Electronic to not only cater for enthusiasts and professionals, but to target the consumer market, through focusing on action camera sales and by capitalising on resurgent interest in physically printing photos.

“We saw a hole where photographic needs weren’t being serviced correctly, so we’ve moved in there,” Saul Frank said.

“That’s why we thought we’d open the second store; it gets different clientele, it’s more a traveller, tourist market than Stirling Street.”

And Howard Frank said the city store also gave Camera Electronic the opportunity to access those consumers who believed that the camera in their smartphone is all they need to take great pictures.

“A lot of camera stores pulled out of the city, but we’ve done the opposite to show people all of the things that you can do with cameras that you can’t do with your phone,” Howard Frank said.

“We like to embrace it too; we also run courses and training on how to get the most out of your smartphone for your photography needs, because they’ve replaced the entry-level camera for a lot of people.

“But they have limitations, like all cameras do.”

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