Oldest camera business in Calgary closes after 81 years

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by skorpiius, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    I thought this was interesting as it has some old photos about the business, and it was one of the oldest businesses in the city. I believe this leaves 3 other dedicated camera stores in Calgary (one with 4 locations), a city of about 1.2 million people, 4th largest in Canada.

    Also it's a bit bizarre that the staff are all wearing hockey jersey's, it's like a modern take on Bob & Doug Mackenzie haha.

    Video is here: https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/long-time-camera-store-in-southeast-calgary-to-close-its-doors-1.3719468

    Long-time camera store in southeast Calgary to close its doors
    Published Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:44AM MST
    A camera store that’s been open for the past 80 years in the City of Calgary will be closing down at the end of the month.

    Robinson’s Camera was opened by Bob Robinson in 1936 in the Grain Exchange Building.

    It was originally called Camera Crafts but Robinson changed the name in the 60s and then sold the shop a few years later to his protégé Tony Peters.


    Peters planned to close the store at the end of this year before he passed away from a health condition in October.

    Darryl Riediger, the store manager, calls it the ‘end of an era’.

    “Back in the 70s and 80s, especially in the 80s when one hour labs were really hot, most of our camera store locations had a one hour lab, cameras were really selling well. We were up to 13 different locations in Calgary, Lethbridge and Edmonton. We had a store also in Kelowna.”

    The final location of Robinson’s Camera, on 9 Avenue S.E., will close at the end of day on December 30.


    ---------------

    Speaking of bizarre, here's an ad for the store from 1987

     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Every photo store that closes is a major loss for all of us where ever we are.
     
  3. locutus

    locutus Member

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    I'm not entirely sure what a camera store offers that i cant just get online.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    What I'm missing the most is processing and printing services.
    Currently there's still a drugstore chain that offers ~3 hr processing, but only for 35mm prints. Slides they have to send to a store in BC, so probably a week turnaround, and for 120 film of all types there's no local option, you have to mail it across the country (or continent).
     
  5. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Even with digital cameras, some people like to hold and handle the camera (or lens) before buying. For example, many cameras that I thought I would like were too small or had their controls too close together for regular use. One lens that I bought new from B&H, a 28-85/3.5-4.5 Nikkor AIS, was a bit of a disappointment because I found the zoom ring awkward and its designated HK-16 hood vignettes at 28mm.

    All of my cameras, lenses, and other accessories I buy in person now.
     
  6. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Buy from B & H and return it if you dont like it, no questions asked. It cost 20% or more for me to buy anything at my local camera shop. I have bought every last piece of new camera gear I own (aside from stuff bought while traveling in Japan) for the past 20 years from B & H. I've returned a few things, but typically I know what I want pretty well when I buy.

    Returning items to B & H, or Amazon for that matter, is beyond easy. Print out the prepaid mailer and ship it back while at work, or drop off at a Fed EX or UPS store.
     
  7. LeftCoastKid

    LeftCoastKid Member

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    Are you referring to London Drugs for E6 processing? Go one better, and use The Lab, here in Vancouver. The Lab uses dip-and-dunk, and the work is first rate. I will not go anywhere else; I even use them when I get a backlog of black and white (DDX is the recipe of choice, I believe). I'm not sure what the turnaround time would be for mail-in, but I get same day service (3 hours?) for my E6 , occasional C-41 and black and white.
     
  8. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    I'm not so sure it is this easy and no payment involved to return from Alberta or else not in USA to USA. Just in case, this is the thread about camera store closing in Canada.
    We have some local giants :smile:, like Amazon Canada and some small, independent stores with competitive prices, well, sometimes.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    TheLab is great, paying for shipping both ways though would probably lead to a roll of 120 processed & scanned =$27 + shipping = over $50.

    So I'm likely to get into the home processing game for anything other than 35mm C41.
     
  10. LeftCoastKid

    LeftCoastKid Member

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    Skorpiius, the store I really miss visiting in your city (Alberta's real capital) is Vintage Visuals. An online effort run by a fellow by the name of Tim Tran, Vintage Visuals was a great place to shop for just about anything photographic. I've purchased quite a bit of my Hasselblad and Nikon equipment from Tim. When VV was a bricks-and-mortar (over by SAIT, back in the day) I stopped in pretty much any time I was up shooting in the parks (Banff, Yoko, Kooteney) Tim evidently shut down his online store a little over a year ago; I don't know the details.
     
  11. OP
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    skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    I didn't even realize it was shut down, I was definitely shopping on their website at some point in 2017. Damn.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Unless I have handled a camera or a lens, I too prefer to hold it and handle it before I buy. When I have a problem, I like to hand the camera to someone while we figure out how to solve it. When I have someone make a custom print for me, I need to talk to the printer directly. Finally it is important to support local businesses.
     
  13. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Count me in for those who like to handle cameras, lenses and many accessories before buying. I recently returned an Olympus Pen from a reputable dealer because it just didn’t fit me, despite glowing revues from many happy users. Buying an unfamiliar camera on line is somewhat like a mail order bride.
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Not nearly so easy if you, like the OP, is in Canada and is too far from the border to ship from the US.
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Oldest camera store in Germany is expanding over the last few yerars.
    So what do single cases tell?

    That there was/is a general decline in camera stores is not doubted.
     
  17. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I worked for Robinson's in the 70's. Tony was full time sales at that time and I was part time. I first worked at the downtown location adjacent to the Palliser Hotel, and then the Chinook Mall location. It was fun times and Tony remanded a good friend until his death.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  18. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    A good camera store owner can turn you on to all kinds of fabulous gear (Leitz enlargers, Komuranon S enlarging lens, Focotar 2, Contax G, and developers etc....
     
  19. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    I've been hanging about photo shops since I was a kid. The people you meet, great experience .
     
  20. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    And when YOU are shipped a camera/lens that someone else tried and returned?
    And even if that returned item becomes a 'refurb, ultimately you the end consumer will wind up paying more for the brand new goods because someone needs to cover the lost value of turning a new item into a refurb item.
     
  21. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    I've been buying from B & H for 20 plus years. Never once been unhappy with a purchase or transaction. Not once.
     
  22. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    It's rarely an issue of price; rather, it is an issue of selection and availability. Didn't look like there was much in the Robinson Camera store, but that may just have been because they were going out of business.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  23. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    It's sad, and a "sign of the times", but eighty-one years is a pretty good run for a camera shop or indeed any downtown store if you think about the average.time they were trading for.
     
  24. blockend

    blockend Member

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    In the UK small photo stores could undercut chains like Jacobs, Jessops, Tecno whose prices were decided weekly by head office. It meant less profit for the trader but they could get the business. Ultimately the family businesses and the national chains went bust with very few exceptions, leaving internet trading entities working out of warehouses.
     
  25. 1kgcoffee

    1kgcoffee Member

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    Never been to Robinsons, but with all the competition in Calgary, then the oil recession. I'm not surprised. 'The Camera Store' in the heart of downtown is thriving.
     
  26. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Back in the day Robinson's was THE camera store to go to. There was much more competition locally back then.
     
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