University Camera Closing after 50 years

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by mshchem, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    Iowa City, Iowa's Landmark camera store, University Camera is closing by middle of April, There was always an abundance of good deals there. Roger Christian, a feisty robust 70 year old has decided he's had enough. UCAM is a cultural institution. People will be stopping by Dubuque street for years to come, only to be shocked that UCAM is gone. I look around my darkroom and see University Camera stickers on half of what is in there. Roger was always open to buying used equipment. stuff that no one else wanted to mess with. Needless to say the place is a magnet for "REAL" photo folks. I've bought Nikons, Linhofs, Leicas you name it UCAM has sold it.
    Soon:
    No more Fuji minilab, expert slide transfers, trusted knowledge. Roger is known and loved by everyone. Get there while you can, there's still a store full of everything from A to Z.

    http://littlevillagemag.com/university-camera-is-closing/

    Here's a little article about the shop.

    I really miss the 20th century!

    Best Regards, Mike
     
  2. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Mike,

    Thanks for posting that. I got my degree from UI, and often found myself in University Camera. I bought my 1st large format camera there, a Calumet CC-400 with a 180 Rodenstock Sironar.

    Yes, this a part of the 20th century that is sorely missed by me.
     
  3. Every camera store closing is painful, especially if it is one that you have depended on.
     
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    mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    I must have bought 3 view cameras there over the years. A perfect Graphic View, that was just to pretty to pass on, and the last one a really nice Linhof. There's always something cool there.
     
  5. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    I still have Campus Camera in Kent, OH.
     
  6. And I have Samys Camera and FreeStyle near me but I miss the other stores and their different equipment selections. That said the point is that while there are some stores around for some of us, many of us have few if any stores around.
     
  7. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Is it not possible for someone else to buy it and continue operations?
     
  8. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    Sad to hear this update as in the past with other great camera stores now gone also. Although looking around on line is much easier and faster it will never have the same feel & smell......:sad:
     
  9. oldtimermetoo

    oldtimermetoo Subscriber

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    00p-0-0--0-00
    How correct you are! In our immediate area of over 500,000 we once had three full service camera stores. Among manufacturers sold by them were Leica, Rollei, Hasselblad, etc. Today, we have 0, zilch, nada. If Freestyle, B&H get out of the film and paper business, we are going to be up that famous creek. Outside of something to look at and admire, equipment without film and darkroom supplies, is just scrap metal or wood........Regards!
     
  10. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Looks like a variant of a Hudson or Baltic, though the suffix for the leading wheels is unknown to me.
     
  11. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Ditto and double ditto!
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    P might be for “puny”.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I envy those of you who still have nearby options.
    I used to frequent a store about 20 minutes from me. It was in a small industrial park, well stocked with film, paper and chemistry. They knew us by name, knew the kind of work we did, and would often offer to lend us something they thought we'd like. If I ran out of something during a printing session, a quick call and it would be waiting. Almost every visit I'd run into a friend (or two) there. We'd end up hanging out in the parking lot, catching up over coffee, sharing new work. The local stores contributed to a sense of community. I think I miss that the most.
     
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  15. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Your community of old friends is gathering at the Verizon store now
     
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Sad but true, tens of thousands of camera stores worldwide have closed, and thousands more will close in future as the general public see no need for "cameras" (even digital ones ) because they are using their smartphones and can see no reason why they need a standalone camera.
    I managed camera stores for more than twenty years and am very glad that I'm retired because when I go in them today there is very little that they sell that I recognise or understand how to use, except tripods and camera bags
     
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    mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    One note. University Camera is going out in style. It's been in the state newspapers, TV, and the other day a local independent film maker was there documenting the crazyness. The employees are mostly young folks, they love working there. It's a job that they will remember for the rest of their lives. If I could run the business, I would buy it. The institution is the man, without Roger, it would be a dull place. It's sad, but I'm so happy that Roger is going out on his own terms. No regrets just a sweet sadness and moving on to a well earned, active retirement.
    Best Regards Mike
     
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    mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    On a positive note we still have a grade A photo store in Cedar Rapids, 20 miles away. My high school friend, Dave Johnson, runs Photo Pro. Still developing film and has a great RA4 printing setup, along with high end huge Epson printer for jumbo prints. They do a lot of printing for wedding photographers.
    I get my color chemistry from Dave, another great family run business.
     
  19. It is good to see that you still have a place to go to not far away.
     
  20. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Probably a Garrett, narrow gauge and South African.
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    That was true of so many great businesses over the years. Customers went to be part of things, consult the oracle and contribute to the continuity of the institution. Remove that, and you just have a shop selling stuff.
     
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    mshchem

    mshchem Member

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  23. CMoore

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    Wow.....they Have/Had quite a history. :sad:
    I was born in 1960, and have seen a lot of things disappear.
    Movie Theaters
    Drive-In Theaters
    RECORD Stores...In 1980, NOBODY would have foreseen the closing of Tower Records. They were open 365 days a year, from 10AM until Midnight. I went there more than once on Christmas Morning to buy a last minute present.
    Shoe Stores...where the staff waited on you.
    Toy Stores.
    In San Francisco, you can hardly find an F'ing gas station anymore. For Years and Years and Years, you could always get gas at Union 76, right by The Bay Bridge. That station is now closed.
    Ice and Roller Rinks.
    Slot-Car Tracks, where you could go and rent time on their big tracks.
    Pharmacy's that had a big Lunch Counter and Soda Fountain.
    The list goes on and on. :sad:

    Anyway......did not mean to detract from YOUR Problem at hand. Just letting you know i share your Thoughts/Pain/Concern/Wonderment about where we have been and where we are going.
    The thing is, when these Cherished Places close, they are "Never" replaced with anything of equal value or use.
    If a town loses a Roller Rink, Theater, and a Camera Store.......it gets replaced with a Star Bux, a Jack In The Box, and a H & R Block tax service.
    I am not quite sure what to think of all this anymore. I guess that is just what happens to many generations as they age.
    Good Luck :smile: :sad:
     
  24. OP
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    mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    Used to be a Pharmacy was pills, perfume, sometimes cameras and photofinishing. Now they are like a small Walmart
    Mike
     
  25. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    I was born in 1946! Have seen more things go than most of YOU. Incl. the fabulous Fifties cars that used to roam the streets like wallpaper.
     
  26. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Oh, wow. I thought you were maybe 25 - 35.

    Yeah - I thought Blockbuster and VHS would never disappear. Heh.