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Digital Imaging Reporter’s 2013 E-tailer of the Year: Hunt’s Photo & Video

A successful business model where every element of the company—the brick-and-mortar stores, the website and the entire Internet retailing operation—reinforces one another.

July 2013 By Jason Schneider
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Hunt’s Photo & Video is a vibrant, innovative, eight-store family enterprise that proudly proclaims itself as “New England’s Largest Photography Retailer.” It is also one of the nation’s oldest, having evolved from an iconic New England drugstore chain with an early Kodak franchise established by William B. Hunt way back in 1889.

By the early 1950s, Hunt Drug had been acquired by Solomon Farber, one of the store’s pharmacists. Farber ran it with his sons as a family business based in Malden Center, not far from the present flagship store in Melrose, Massachusetts.

Hunt’s really began building its camera business under the visionary leadership of Solomon’s son Jack, who recognized the great upside potential of photography and astutely foresaw the inevitable demise of small neighborhood pharmacies, as national chains and supermarkets took over that market.

Since then, Hunt’s has steadily expanded and now has stores in Melrose, Cambridge, Boston, Hadley and Hanover, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire; Portland, Maine; and Providence, Rhode Island.

A Transformational Vision

By 1992, the shift away from the pharmacy and into the cameras and accessories business was complete; the pharmacy closed and selling imaging equipment became the sole mission of what is now Hunt’s Photo & Video.

Sadly, Jack Farber passed away in 2006, but not before he gave his sons the priceless experience of working in the business and learning the ropes by making real decisions and dealing with the consequences. As a result of his wise and loving  “hands-off” guidance, his son Scott Farber was able to take over as president of the company seven years ago when he was only 28 years old. Despite facing a challenging and rapidly changing retail environment, Scott has steadfastly applied a rational, responsive, clear-sighted and integrated strategy to expand and enhance the company’s value and presence immensely, creating one of the most successful and promising imaging-based enterprises in the country.

An Awesome Retail Space: A Comprehensive Website

Hunt’s flagship store at 100 Main Street in Melrose, Massachusetts, off of Interstate 93 and eight miles north of Boston, is a large, imposing brick structure that’s austere on the outside. But once you walk through the doors and look around, all you can say is “Wow!”

“What we’ve done is to marry our in-store presence with our web presence and the resultant synergy has proven to be a very successful strategy. It will be even more crucial as technology continues to transform customers’ buying experiences going forward.”
 

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