J&R Opens New Camera Store
Near World Trade Center
by Dan Havlik
Only blocks from the site of the World Trade Center disaster,
J&R Music & Computer World has opened a new
state-of-the-art camera and digital imaging store, proving that
despite the tragedy of September 11th, the photo retail community
in lower Manhattan is still alive and well.
"[Opening this store] reaffirms our commitment to New York, our commitment to our customers and our commitment to lower Manhattan," said Abe Brown, a J&R spokesperson. "And it's further proof that we are rebounding and helping to rebuild lower Manhattan to its former glory."
Among the dignitaries on hand to cut the ribbon to open the new camera store last month were New York State Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Rachelle and Joe Friedman, J&R's Co-CEOs.
The approximately 8,000-square-foot store, located at 34 Park Row, consists of two levels filled with the latest photo and imaging equipment from Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Kodak, Olympus, Sony, Minolta, Panasonic and many others. The store's futuristic design is complimented by a new Fuji Aladdin "digital conversion center" which demonstrates to customers how to manage digital files, transfer them to computers and print, Brown noted. The lower level of the store is dedicated to the professional market, showcasing the latest traditional and digital SLRs, he added.
In addition to cameras and imaging equipment, the new store sells a range of accessories including everything from bags to film to binoculars.
Connected to J&R's block-long group of music, computer and office stores on Park Row, the new photo retail center had been in the works for over a year, but the grand opening was delayed following the events of September 11th. J&R re-opened its main bank of stores less than two months after the collapse of the World Trade Center, making it the first main commercial tenant in lower Manhattan to re-open after the disaster.
Those attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony saw the opening of the new camera store as yet another sign that lower Manhattan is coming back to life.
"When stores like J&R decide to expand in lower Manhattan, they send a strong, encouraging message that downtown businesses are coming back," Governor Pataki said. "I applaud J&R's commitment to their community. Their expansion is an outstanding testament to New York's resilience and will encourage people to spend money at stores and restaurants throughout downtown."
Rachelle Friedman noted: "J&R is the anchor retailer of Lower Manhattan and now more than ever is dedicated to the revitalization of the downtown business community. We are following through with this expansion not just for our store, but also to help all of Lower Manhattan."
While J&R did not suffer significant structural damage from the World Trade Center collapse, street closures and logistical problems forced the store to close temporarily. During the months that followed, merchandise at J&R was replaced due to heavy soot and smoke damage. J&R's catalog and Internet sales operations were also disrupted because of the close proximity of the company's call center to Ground Zero.
Thankfully, everyone working at J&R at the time of the World Trade Center collapse managed to flee the area safely, Brown said.
"At the time, we thought the world was coming to an end. We didn't know what was coming next," he told PTN. "The first three weeks afterward were horrendous but now, with the re-opening of the main stores and the opening of the new camera store, we are moving forward again."