Visiting the "little" stands can give everyone an edge, Alan. Too many PMA showgoers spend so much time with the big guys up front that their return flights are being boarded before they realize they forgot to peruse the 10-foot booths along the sides and the rear of the convention center to see all those neat little ideas. You don't have to be from Australia to get that edge.
Roger Christian (University Camera, Iowa City, IA), in his bestphotolist comment, told me, "I tend to be more of a generalist when I am at PMA." He noted that, "Since we are a camera store and minilab combined, I am looking for equipment to sell to supplement the camera operation more than the minilab/service area."
Roger definitely understands that in the new digital photo world he is on a different playing field. "We as owners/managers have once again been thrown into the fray trying to see what may make money before it is obsolete." He seems to be turned on by the HP Studio, saying, "At this point, my money is on the HP system."
Note to anxious HP salespeople: Slow down. Roger added, "I have no more room to put something like the HP system." I bet he could fit a Microlab 1000, though.
Like the kid who jumps on Santa's lap, tells him he wants a PlayStation, and can't run away fast enough, Peter (no last name) from "Harriman's Photographic Department," no location, emailed me on bestphotolist that he was going to PMA to see "Kodak i1210 scanners and the HP inkjet lab." End of message. Brief and to the point, yes, but Peter has probably touched the two hot spots that will drive many photo output folks at PMA. Arrive early—there may be a line, Peter.
Paul Eby (OK Photo, Olive, British Columbia, Canada) acknowledges being a "small-town minilab that has always relied on offering a diverse photo service other than just photofinishing." He cites as examples: portraits, custom framing, dry mount and laminating services, laser copying, etc. On his wish list: "A dry mount/laminator, so we'll be looking at some of the cold/hot roll machines."
He will also be checking in on an "inexpensive kiosk setup or software." Paul, you will leave Las Vegas totally confused with all of the choices available to you. I suggest you pursue the myriad of offerings in alphabetical order to keep some semblance of order in your search.
The subject of store design continues to be of increasing interest to dealers coming to the show. Last year's PMA presentation of The Complete Picture concept store was extremely popular and will be repeated with new elements as retailers are reaching out for ideas on how to tackle the evasive Generation X mom, Jennifer. Yesterday's pegboard walls don't seem to be "in" any more, folks.
Among the more recent store redesigns that have been featured in the pages of PTN are the installations of Dan's Camera's Digital Café and Sid Davidowitz's Picture Spa. Other prominent retailers such as Mitch Goldstone (30 Minute Photos Etc.) and Ritz Camera Centers have also incorporated new in-store designs for Jennifer.
Gary Pageau, the ever-popular PMA executive, jumped onto bestphotolist in response to my request for convention input to outline the store design activities that are scheduled for the convention. On Thursday and Friday at The Complete Picture (TCP) Booth R171, according to Gary, there will be presentations by two retailers each day who have "successfully integrated lifestyle retailing into their stores."
He said that on Thursday the presenters will be Tony Miresse (Art's Camera Plus) and Jennifer (oh, really?) Yamamoto, Black Photo Corp. Friday's speakers will be Sid Davidowitz and David Guidry (Lakeside Camera Photoworks). PMA consultant Glenn Omura, Ph.D, Michigan State University, will moderate the programs. Sid, Mitch, and Tony will also talk about why and how they implemented their own store designs at an 8:00 a.m. meeting on Thursday.
Gary also wrote about a unique consulting service being offered at the convention that should be a hot ticket. On a first-come, first-served basis, a professional retail store designer will sit one-on-one with retailers to discuss designs for their individual stores. Retailers are encouraged to bring blueprints, photos, or sketches to the session. Not a freebie, folks: $20 for 20 minutes. Appointment needed.
Is there interest? Chris Lydle (Chris' Camera Center and Digital Processing, Aiken, SC), a heavy user of bestphotolist, as usual is on top of it. Chris said he already had made an appointment for his 20-minute session and expects to attend the various store design presentations by his peers.
Joe Gogal (Clear Image, Inc., Marysville, WA) emailed me that the first thing he will be looking into is "retail store design." Joe said, "We need to keep fresh and understand the trends in retailing to our evolving target market."