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PTN Salutes the Minds & Magic Behind Alkit Camera



Ed Buchbinder of
Alkit Camera

Photo Trade News Salutes
the Minds & Magic Behind
Alkit Camera

As many of you know, with next month's issue we pay tribute to our annual Dealer of the Year. Photo Trade News has been honoring a Dealer of the Year for over 30 years now and our selection for 2001 is Ed Buchbinder and Alkit Camera of Manhattan, New York.

Before I tell you a little about the how and why we reached this year's decision, I thought I should chat a little about why we created the Dealer of the Year award in the first place.

First off, as editor of this publication for the last eight years, it's easy to get wrapped up and taken away by the incredible leaps in technology we've all been witness to over the last ten years. Innovation is a wonderful thing and certainly no industry has been treated to more of that than the "imaging industry." Keeping pace with "the latest" has turned into quite a job when "the latest" seems to last a little over a week.

We have always been a technology/product-driven publication so getting lost in CCDs and Megapixels has been difficult to avoid. After all, can anyone really fathom a 2 Megapixel digital camera for close to $200 when you consider where we were just a few years ago?

That being said, what's easy to lose sight of on occasion is the magic that happens at retailevery dayin this industry. The herculean task true "photo" retailers are faced with and the remarkable job those that are flourishing have done.

Bottom line — digital is exploding today due to the efforts of these guys over the last 6 or 7 years. Without their initial hand-holding, guidance, and guile, not to mention the margin pounding many had to take, digital imaging's growth stagnates dramatically.

Depending on which survey you throw your money at, we are hearing that 25% of all U.S. households will own a digital camera by the end of next year. You think the big CE and/or Computer Super Store chains are responsible for that figure? Think again. It's the knowledge and service provided by the traditional folks that has helped drive digital to the previously unthinkable heights it has hit today.

That perfect segue would bring us to Ed Buchbinder and the entire Alkit Camera team. Why Alkit? Well, glad you asked.

What started out as a modest family camera shop back in 1934 has grown way beyond its humble beginnings. Under the leadership of Alkit's owner Ed Buchbinder, Alkit now operates a pro stock house, equipment rental department, digital imaging studio and gallery, corporate & industrial sales department, Internet sales division, and five retail stores.

Seizing opportunity yet again, a new, state-of-the art Digital Demonstration Area was installed in Alkit Pro in October 2001. 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. The area has a tabletop shooting setup with a variety of digital cameras, scanners, Mac workstations, and a large format printer. The area is also networked to a Fuji Frontier 390, showing the cost-effective output options available on a digital minilab.
The end result of all this? Folks are leaving Alkit Pro with a remarkably thorough understanding of what digital imaging is and what it can do for them.

Their recent growth has been rapid as four satellite locations were opened throughout Manhattan between 1997 and 2000, at 820 Third Avenue (50th St), 830 7th Avenue (53rd St), 466 Lexington Avenue (45th St), and 498 7th Avenue (37th St), in the center of the Garment District.

It's a wonderful story and one you'll get the chance to read all about next month in Photo Trade News.

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