Photo Industry Reporter’s 2011 Dealer of the Year: Precision Camera & Video, Austin, Texas
A Sound Business Model, Savvy Management, a Friendly, Knowledgeable Staff—All in a Really Great LocationDecember 2011 By Jason Schneider
When you pull up to the understated main entrance of Precision Camera & Video, located in a commercial area that’s a short drive from downtown Austin, Texas, you might think you’re about to enter an ordinary medium-size photo specialty store. What greets you instead is a cavernous, brightly lit 6,000-square-foot retail space that presents a world of fascinating possibilities to any photo enthusiast or picture taker.
There is a prodigious amount of merchandise on display—printing paper and inks, an array of lighting equipment, a huge display of camera bags, a smaller display of tripods, a vast range of photo-related novelty items from mugs to art frames to cell phone cases and, of course, cameras by the carload, with full lines of virtually every major brand plus a veritable arsenal of lenses. Despite the profusion of gear, it’s all neatly organized and inviting, allowing customers to interact with the merchandise.
Nestled among the defined product areas are clearly marked counter spaces for specific types of customer contacts. There’s an attractive drop-off counter for photofinishing orders with a group of six Whitech kiosks nearby, an amazing amount of picture frame options visible behind the cash register, and a well-marked service department for rentals and repairs. It is all dominated by the store’s chief attraction—a large L-shaped area of camera counters for DSLRs, point-and-shoot models, video hardware, lenses, etc., where salespeople and customers congregate for friendly, animated discussions. In short, Precision Camera is a bustling full-service, single-location store that has evolved into a destination location for photography fans of all stripes, from novices and the proverbial soccer moms to serious enthusiasts and pros.
“We’ve got a really great location here in Austin,” said Gregg Burger, Precision’s affable and upbeat general manager—an experienced hands-on photo retailer who’s been with the company for more than seven years. “We have no real competition in our area that’s at our level of inventory depth, service and commitment to promoting involvement with photography, and we serve a community of nearly 1.2 million people who live within a 20-mile radius of this unique and vibrant city that’s a hub of creativity.
“To maintain and enhance our leadership position,” Burger continued, “we have a strong program of community outreach that includes sponsoring the annual Austin Photo Expo at the Austin Conference Center, where we offer free photo lectures by well-known experts like Hanson Fong, not Gary Fong, and present a trade show for displaying and selling merchandise. Our last lecture series was attended by over 1,500 people and far exceeded our expectations. I should also mention that we are members of the PRO group, and the ability to tap into the knowledge base and getting the support of our PRO brothers and sisters continues to contribute to our success.”