Just before Christmas we lost Jacobs photographic store, before that Photo Factory and now Jessops, Glasgow city centre has only one small camera store left, Merchant City Cameras.
Merchant City Cameras are a family run business based in Parnie Street, Merchant City, Glasgow and is owned by Jim Dobbie, his daughter Kimberley helps dad run the shop. I bought a new Sigma lens from them last year, Jim and Kimberley are very pleasant to deal with.
The store is a combination of the new and second hand with a great selection of second hand lenses in the window, they are also one of Scotland’s premiere telescope suppliers. It’s not a Jessops by any stretch of the imagination but a more personnel, informative experience something lacking in the likes of Curry’s who also sell cameras but don’t have people who are passionate about the product.
Jim still thinks he is dreaming, with Jessops closed it has taken Merchant City Cameras to the number one pole position and this week has been one of the busiest weeks in January he can remember.
Just outside the City Centre is Calumet located at Oakbank Ind. Estate just off Garscube Road, a major UK chain of photographic retailers selling everything from cameras to video and lighting. Calumet was once the only place for the professional photographer but has expanded it’s appeal to a wider audience.
Calumet has a significant stock of both Nikon and Canon camera body’s, lenses and has a rental department. It’s the only place in Glasgow to stock some of the dearer professional photographic lenses that you can try before you buy.
Jessops was good not only for it’s locality but were also happy to let you try lenses before you bought them.
This is me taking a picture outside the shop about two years ago and an assistant keeping an eye on me, it’s a sad state of affairs when you see the shop today, in fact I bought one of my all time favourite cameras from Jessops a Nikon D3.
Jessops, Suchiehall street also sported a pro department down stairs where a great range of both new and secondhand equipment was for sale, they also had people who knew the cameras and were enthusiastic about the product, sadly Jessops hierarchy decided to close the pro department a few years ago and instantly killed off many a seasoned photographer in doing so.
Glasgow has not woken up to this yet but it’s shameful that such an important resource has gone from our high street, photographers all over the city will not realise it’s effects till they need to try out a new camera or lens.
Jessops did not help themselves with over inflated pricing and getting rid of their pro department, the shop badly needed refurbished but that’s all history now the web sites like Warehouse Express can only benefit from a third major high street photographic chain going under but it’s one less place to visit and one less reason for heading up that part of town.
The internet could be to blame but Jessops had a fairly decent web presence themselves but items were either not in stock or took too long to deliver not to mention pricing, when I questioned their policy of web versus store price in other words a few items were cheaper on their web site they just shrugged their shoulders.
We are now down to two retail outlets Merchant City Cameras and Calumet, lets hope we all take stock of Jessops and support your local store and spend less time trawling for the cheapest on line camera deal !
Merchant City Cameras…