PRO maintains its own refrigerated warehouse facility in the Port of Philadelphia for the storage of product and Fuji film and the PRO volume supports a warehouse staff of about 7-8. Dealers place orders against this inventory and Mike said the goal is to have a shipment out within 24-hours of receipt.
PRO has an annual four-day convention in July which includes a one-day trade show and a series of meetings covering a large agenda.
To become a member of PRO, Mike said one has to be a "substantial player." New members are expected to make a $15,000 investment in the group, most of which is returned if a dealer leaves, he said. Dues are $350/monthly. In his opinion unless an operation is doing an annual volume of $1 million, the dealership would not realize a reasonable payback. In the selection process a store is evaluated on its looks, its advertising, business ethics, credit record, etc.
PRO does have a booth at PMA but it is restricted for use by members. Interested dealers can contact Jeff Neil at 203-336-0183.Marvin Meister
Southern Calif. Photo Dealers Guild—
Focus On Photo, Not Processing
This is a fairly low-key organization of independent photo specialists in the Southern California marketing area that was started in the early 1970s to combat what was perceived to be unfair practices of manufacturers and distributors.
Asked how many members were in the group, Marvin Meister, owner of Photo Center, Los Angeles, current president, said that the by-laws of the organization prohibit him from revealing the number but he said that the majority of photo specialists in the territory are members.
The group meets four times a year when dealers swap information on various promotional activities or to listen to industry speakers or outside motivational speakers. Marvin said that the meetings give vendors an opportunity to present their products to a large group of the area's independent dealers at one time.
Though not a buying or deal-making group, Marvin said that vendors will frequently offer the group special one-time deals.
Membership is open to dealers with retail locations whose primary business is at least 50% in photo equipment, accessories, film, etc. Dues: a modest $100 annually.
The organization has no official presence at the PMA show but interested Southern California dealers can call membership chairman, Bob Greenberg, Alhambra Camera, 626-282-6365.
Town and Country Photo Dealers—
Started Regionally, Now Members in 40 States
The Town and Country group promotes the motto: You don't have to be big to buy big.
Around that philosophy was born this organization in the late '70s when one guy, Harry Reiter, got together with a half-dozen other dealers in the Philadelphia metro area to pool their purchases. At that time, six dealers couldn't generate much leverage but today, according to Harry, the organization consists of a little over 200 members that operate 260 storefronts, about 95% with on-site labs, and vendors are happy to hold his chair.
In the early days T & C membership rolls were made up of dealers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Today, according to Harry, members come from 40 states with 10 in Florida, about a dozen in California and one in South America (who doesn't come to many dinner meetings).