Forever a rock'n'roller, Gramegna is currently working on a fundraiser for the radio station that involves him making some limited-edition prints from his 30 years of photos. "We'll try to get the prints signed by some of our celebrity customers and donate part of the money to WFUV and other deserving causes." A local deejay has also asked him to start photographing his tapings, so he'll be covering his musician friends again.
Great Value All the Time
For starters, that means greeting customers by their first names, which you rarely see elsewhere. "At BCC, we basically have two rules: the first is serve the customer. The second is make the cash register ring. I tell my employees if you just do the first, the second happens automatically."
The BCC experience also means offering great value all the time. "It's never about the price," says Gramegna. "You have to make that value proposition, part of which means being there when they have a question. All of our stuff comes with unlimited help, time, and consultation. We don't run sales because we have value pricing every day. The only time we'll run a specific sale is if we happen to get a good buy from a manufacturer on a closeout or something. Then we'll make it available on the Web or write something about it in our quarterly newsletter, In Focus.
BCC has been successful at recapturing the repeat business they once had with film shooters by stocking a variety of papers, having all the inks in stock, and coaching customers on the whole process. Even with customers buying printers, BCC staff bring them over to their kiosks to let them know they can make fabulous prints in store or email the file and they'll make their pictures for them.
"Unfortunately," says Gramegna, "the word that's out there is 'you're not cool and you're not hip if you don't have a digital camera.' But it's O.K. You can come out of the closet and say you like film!"
To make the most of their brief visits with in-store customers, employees know if someone comes in to drop off or pick up a roll of film, their goal is to encourage him or her to make one more transaction. As Gramegna says, "You all love photography. They're coming in to a photography store. Tell them what you like to do, ask them what they like to do. It's about engaging the customer in conversation, about talking to good friends-as many of them are."
Getting That Feedback
BCC is equally upfront about asking its customers for referrals. When employees complete a transaction with a satisfied customer, they give him or her a bunch of business cards to hand out to family and friends. "We let them know their satisfaction is of paramount importance because we're asking them to go out on a limb and recommend us. It also tells that customer we want them to keep referring people, so we're going to keep them happy."
With its mission intact-to serve the customer and make the cash register ring-BCC has redesigned its sales space three times to accommodate an expanding product mix and evolving customer needs, but has never strayed from its founding philosophy. And according to Gramegna, his customers are more susceptible than ever to BCC's value proposition.
"They're starved for knowledge, they're starved for the real experience of enjoying photography. And we help them get where they want to go."
And that, above all, is what makes Bergen County Camera a chart-topper with its customers.