Magazine Article


Re: Groups

David Guida

Photofair Stores—

Regional group for Photo Specialists

Dating back to before 1950, Photofair Stores claims to be the oldest of the organizations serving the retail photo dealer. Unlike other groups, Photofair is not primarily a buying co-op, though it started as one, but is dedicated more to helping retailers to be better retailers and better businessmen.

David Guida, owner of Livingston Camera Mart, Livingston, NJ, is president of Photofair. He defines the activities of the association as being both educational and social—heavy on the social "We are a self-help group," he said. There are 28 members, all in the New York-New Jersey area.

"In the early days we pooled our orders together for Kodak film at a time when it took a minimum order of 200 rolls to earn free freight." Or, they might have combined orders to get one camera at a 6-piece price. Currently, they meet with vendors to negotiate its best group deal and members order directly from the vendor at that price.

Jerry Harmen, a past president of Photofair, said that the agenda for the January meeting was a round-table discussion on the successes and failures of the just-concluded holiday promotions. He indicated that in the past they have had outside speakers on such subjects as business insurance, consumer credit, point-of-sale merchandising, etc.

One of the neat agenda items for each monthly dinner meeting is entitled "I want, I need, I'm long on." Here, members may report an excess of certain merchandise or that they are in need of a given model camera or accessory. A great way to balance inventory. And it beats taking mark-downs.

David Guida indicated that there are requirements for membership: must be in business for three years; have a ground floor location; be independently owned; the photo category is the major endeavor. Dues are $240 per year which is used to pay for the monthly dinners.

In Orlando, Photofair will not have any formal activities though most of its members will be attending. David suggested that anyone calling his store at 973-992-8383 can leave a voicemail that he will answer and arrange for a meeting at the show.

Southeastern Photo Imaging Assoc.—

Small Group, But Folksy

SEPIA is a small group of 16 members from the Southeastern area and is an outgrowth of what was once the franchise dealers of American Fast Photo, defunct since 1992. Gordon Archambault, its president and founder, owns American Fast Photo & Imaging, Raleigh.

Gordon describes SEPIA as a folksy group devoted to getting better deals from vendors for its members along with a focus on the educational value of successful photo specialists benefiting from each others success and failures. He is the point man for the deal making.

Meetings are held twice a year, in March and September, with presentations from vendors, members and outsiders. Next month's meeting will run for three days at a resort location in North Carolina.

Applications are welcomed from dealers in the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and northern Florida who are owners of their own business, have on-site processing and whose focus is in the photo sector. Membership is $500 to sign up and $150 a quarter for dues. An application can be found on the group's website at

Gordon will be at the PMA show and would be happy to meet with interested dealers. He can be reached on his cell phone at 919-630-6184 during the show or at his store in Raleigh 919-847-4436.

Jerry Lansky is president of MiniLab Consultants, P.O. Box 475, Colts Neck, NJ 07722. Tel: (732) 946-8484. E-mail: