All in the Family
PTN Honors Alkit Camera as 2001 Dealer of the
by Dan Havlik
As part of an annual tradition that now spans over three decades, PTN (Photo Trade News) once again handed out its annual Dealer of the Year award at a special ceremony and party held at the Peabody Hotel during the recent PMA 2002 in Orlando, Florida. This year the award was fittingly bestowed on Ed Buchbinder and Alkit Camera of New York City, which was selected Dealer of the Year for the company's long tradition of photographic sales and its bright future of digital solutions.Cyngus Imaging Group
Imaging industry leaders on hand to toast Buchbinder and Alkit at the ceremony were Cygnus Imaging Group Publisher Kathy Schneider; James Chung of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A.; Joe Diliberto of Eastman Kodak Co.; and Harvey Phillips of Noritsu America.
"Who said 'Mom & Pop' stores wouldn't survive? Look at our Dealer of the Year," Schneider said in her remarks. "Starting with one store, Alkit now has five. From 1,500 square feet in the beginning to 20,000 square feet today, Ed's vision of expanding his business continues. With all its great contributions, PTN is proud to salute Ed Buchbinder and Alkit as Dealer of the Year."
Begun in 1934 as a modest family camera shop, Alkit Camera has grown into a major imaging dealer, with its flagship store located on a busy corner of Park Avenue in bustling Manhattan. Alkit's recent growth has been rapid as four satellite locations have opened in Manhattan.
Although these days Alkit gives the appearance of a large corporate conglomerate, it's still entirely family-run, owned and led by Buchbinder with Ed's sons Steven and David and daughter Hildy all holding key positions in the company.Cyngus Imaging Group Publisher Kathy Schneider (c.) hands Ed Buchbinder the PTN Dealer of the Year award at PMA. Standing behind are (l.-r.) James Chung, Fuji; PTN Editor Dan Havlik; Joe Diliberto, Kodak;Steven Buchbinder; Harvey Phillips, Noritsu; PTN Associate Publisher Mike McEnaney; and David Buchbinder.
photos by Greg Burson
"Ed Buchbinder and Alkit have a passion to do better and grow, the ability not only to accept and adapt to change, but to lead change," Diliberto said.
"This is a family-run business that continues to find a way to win in a tough business environment."
Under the leadership of Buchbinder, Alkit now operates a pro stock house, an equipment rental department, digital imaging studio and gallery, a corporate & industrial sales department, an Internet sales division and five retail stores.
While it has maintained the friendly atmosphere of its roots, Alkit has kept up with the times, installing a new, state-of-the-art Digital Demonstration Area in Alkit Pro just last fall. This new area features hands-on demonstrations where customers are able to see a variety of digital imaging workflows, whether they shoot film or digital. Consequently, not only do customers leave Alkit with the latest photographic and digital gear, they leave with a thorough understanding of what digital imaging is and what it can do for them.
"Wal-Mart has the motto 'Everyday Low Price,' Kmart has its 'Blue Light' specials, but at Alkit, it's every day, the customer comes first," said Chung. "And as Alkit continues to go places, they're going to be a great factor in our business. If Alkit does well, we're all going to do well."
Phillips of Noritsu noted that when going to visit Alkit, you "never meet with Ed Buchbinder, you meet with Ed Buchbinder and his entire family."
"As I sat in Ed's office one day, Steven joined us, and then David joined us, and then Hildy joined us," he noted. "And I appreciated that because Alkit photo means more than just business."
In his remarks, Ed Buchbinder talked about the role his family plays at Alkit.
"There is nothing better than coming to work every day and having lunch with your children and working with them on a professional level. It really doesn't get any better than this," he said.