"We try to serve customers across the board from soccer moms to pros. And there are a lot of families in the Treasure Valley and there are a lot of children compared to other cities. So we try to cover the market from one end to the other," Dennis says.
"(Grocery chain) Albertson's has a headquarters here too, so we get a fairly sophisticated clientele who are highly educated and recreation oriented," Pat notes. "There's skiing just 15 miles out of town and there's all kinds of wonderful things we can do just outside our door steps that all lends itself well to photography."
The knowledgeable local interest in photography is reflected in the wide range of imaging products that Idaho offers.
"I think we're considered a pretty complete camera store but our main emphasis is on the advanced amateur photographer," Dennis says. "We carry all the main brands and have a pretty deep stock. And we pretty much try to have everything in stock from darkroom equipment to camcorders to video supplies. And now with all of our customers converting to digital, we not only have a complete selection of film cameras, we have all digital too. We need to change to meet our customers' needs and that's what we're doing."
One of the ways Idaho is able to meet the diverse demands of their customers-while also selling them something extra-is through their popular photography "packages."
"It's basically a digital camera and everything that comes with it," Pat says. "A camera case, an extra memory card, a card reader, software, a voucher for the digital photography class, $50 of digital printing. Everything you need to get started. All of our signage talks about the different packages we offer. It's what we call 'the Idaho Camera difference.' Basically that means, 'There's a difference when you purchase something from Idaho Camera.' Because you're not just getting a camera. You're getting every piece of the puzzle. You're getting the package, the repair, the customer service and the classes. And the packages are values to the customers because they're getting a better deal when everything adds up."
The "Idaho Camera Difference," extends beyond the hardware. With a central lab that offers one-hour or same day processing of both silver halide film and digital images; a Fuji Aladdin kiosk and a Kodak Picture Maker copy station in every store for near instant printing; a brand new online printing service; and a repair center which "services everything we sell," the Idaho difference is pretty significant indeed.
(See sidebar "Everything Under One Roof".)
But perhaps what's most important is Idaho's commitment to customer service, which is really what separates it from the mass-market pack.
"[Customer service] is probably the most important thing for us," Pat notes. "We always say 'If you take good care of the customer, the customer is going to take good care of you.'"
(See sidebar "Keeping the Customer Satisfied")
So for its innovative approach to doing business which blends traditional values with high tech ingenuity, PTN salutes Idaho Camera as our 2003 Dealer of the Year.
Esto Perpetua. Let Idaho Camera be a perpetual example for other stores in the industry-for many, many more years to come.
Ever since the early days, Idaho Camera has always been a family
"We grew up in this business," Pat Nagel says. "We've got a picture of us in the early 1950s standing behind the counter in sport coats and ties before we could even look over the counter. We were definitely raised with photography."
Even though Pat and Dennis Nagel's indoctrination in Idaho Camera started early, they were encouraged by their father to explore other things before they decided whether a life in photo retail was for them.