I was lucky enough to once again attend the PRO Group convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, last month. While my lips are sealed as to what happened there, I can say that the meeting once again did what it always does for me: it gave me a shot of adrenaline. The PRO boost.
You probably know by now that I’m a big fan of the photo specialty retail channel. I see these retailers as a vital outlet for the imaging industry. They offer advice, expertise and inventory to those seeking to either buy their first digital camera or, more likely, add on to what they have. And they are there for those seeking to print their memories for the sake of family legacies.
The PRO Boost
However, what always stands out for me is the camaraderie that exists among these astute businessmen and women; they are always lending a hand or making a suggestion to fellow dealers with ideas that might work for them. From store security to successful promotions to their common gripes and accolades about manufacturers, this group is relentless in their ability to try new things—and break the mold when they have to.
In addition, while the common theme is that this group is shrinking and becoming irrelevant in the face of online shopping and competition from the mass-market stores, I see just the opposite. These dealers are committed to growing their businesses. They are cementing their place in the market as educators, enthusiasts and savvy players in a very competitive world.
Manufacturers and other suppliers should take note that this channel is here to stay, and ready for growth. Moreover, sales tax laws are now changing. So they’re in a better position than ever to actually grow the imaging business over the coming years. We should all be paying attention to them, as well as giving them the respect they deserve.