Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Camera Shop

The Camera Shop closed its doors on July 31st, another fatality of  big box stores and radical changes in the photo industry. We knew it was coming, just wondered when. I am a fan of long-lived small local businesses and this was a favorite. Owned and operated by Bill Ammerman since the mid '70's, with Bill Beseker as his trusty store manager most of that time, they served this community well. Bill and Bill, the Camera Shop guys.

In its hey-day it saw good business providing cameras, film, darkroom supplies, and good advice to local photo enthusiasts, working pros, and university photography students. In these times there was usually some young part-time counter help as well.

And the place was always a mess. Every flat surface was covered with something. An overflowing trash can often stood in the center aisle. Leaves, blown in from the street, scattered over the dirty carpet.  There were stacks of empty boxes and counters laden with shipping and receiving. Now and then an attempt at tidying up was made, likely the new young gal recently hired, but eventually the effort was abandoned, overwhelmed by the ruling chaos.

But from this scene they were ever helpful, willing to spend time with you and your needs. I repaired cameras for twenty years and the Camera Shop was a significant source of my work. I would stop in once or twice a week to pick up and deliver cameras. Although I would guess more than one customer left the store wondering what would happen to their beloved old camera left for repair amidst the debris, as far as I know they never lost track of a camera. More than once one of them made the 1 hour round trip to my place to facilitate getting a repair done for a customer in a hurry and I'm sure it was at no extra cost. And not once was a bill overdue. It was a pleasure to do business with them.

So long Bill and Bill. I wish you well.

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