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Custom Camera: At Your Service



FEATURE STORY

Custom Camera: At Your Service

The neighborhood retailer with old-time service and new-age equipment

By Alice Miller

June 2001

In the heart of Nassau County, on Long Island's South Shore, stands Custom Camera, dedicated to serving photographers from the most advanced professional to the novice wanting to capture once-in-a-lifetime memories. The store, located at 2791 Jerusalem Avenue in North Bellmore, New York opened its doors in 1969 as Custom Camera Repair Service Inc., a photographic equipment repair shop. A staff of highly trained technicians repaired equipment quickly, professionally, and with an eye toward keeping costs down. Over the years, as the needs of their clientele increased, the store began stocking basic accessories to sell to its ever-increasing customer base.
In 1984, with the addition of an experienced New York City camera store manager, Larry Sanders - still with Custom Camera - the retail focus of the store was enhanced. In addition to offering customers accessories and film, they added cameras, lenses, and flashes to the inventory. Always mindful of the needs of the customer, Custom Camera remains dedicated to helping with all their photographic needs.

In August 1998, Custom Camera entered a new era. Michael Korgood purchased the store, bringing the operation and its employees into the next century of photographic retail. Korgood has 15 years in the retail trade, 12 as manager of one of Long Island's most respected camera stores. He expanded the number of product lines the store carries and increased the retail floor space.
"My philosophy about retailing is to give the customer excellent service and value for the products they want to purchase," says Michael Korgood. "Never exaggerate equipment to the customer and always treat him or her with intelligence. Whether selling a new or used product, or purchasing their used equipment, treat them with respect. More often than not, you will close the sale and make a long-standing customer."
Custom Camera caters to photographers with different levels of experience and expertise. The staff's goal is to educate customers about equipment they already own or plan to purchase so they leave the store with a better understanding of photographic equipment and technique.

On-Site Repair
This retail operation is unique in many ways, but clearly its most distinctive feature is it's authorized on-premises repair department. Custom Camera is one of the most respected photographic repair centers on Long Island. They receive equipment for repair from as far away as Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada. It's the first referral for many manufacturers, especially when calls are for older equipment the manufacturer no longer services.
Custom Camera is an authorized warranty service center for all Canon and Minolta equipment and Kodak projectors. They are fully authorized to do non-warranty repairs for all brands of equipment. Their full-time staff of factory-trained repair technicians have a combined experience of over 100 years, with the average technician's experience 30 years. The store also employs several specialty technicians for specific equipment.
The repair staff receives onsite training from many of the manufacturers and also takes part in courses offered by the National Association of Photo Equipment Technicians (NAPET).

A Pleasant Place to Shop
Among Custom Camera's customer base are government and academic institutions, both public and private; universities, school systems, and municipal Police and Fire Departments among them.
In addition to offering a wide range of retail repair services, they also subcontract for some of the most respected names in photographic equipment.
Custom Camera offers customers a pleasant place to shop for equipment, have their film processed, or their questions answered. Many afternoons during the school year, teachers and professors can be found inquiring about new equipment, supplies, or getting information about photographic techniques. Instructors frequently refer students to the store. Custom Camera stocks many items these students need for their courses of study. Each semester the store compiles a list of recommended supplies for each school, and makes sure to stock up.
Custom Camera only uses Kodak Royal Processing, Kodak's finest, with prints made on Kodak Royal paper. Kodak stands behind the processing, adhering to the philosophy, as the old ad stated, "your film can only be developed right the first time."
One of the busiest spots in the store is the Kodak Picture Maker Station, where customers can make enlargements up to 8x12-inches from prints, slides, negatives (35mm, APS), and CDs. They can also crop, enhance, and caption their images. Trained personnel are always on hand to offer their assistance.
A Sony Digital Passport and Portrait center is the newest addition to the store. Passport pictures are instantly previewed and approved by the customer. Digital capabilities allow for duplicates and different format sizes up to 3.52 x 4.52-inches. A number of customers have liked the results so much they've asked for enlargements of their passport portraits. To enhance their customers' photos, Custom Camera stocks a wide assortment of frames and albums.

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