And they were ably assisted by a bunch of the girls - last night was a special launch party for the Murray Street shop of Camera Electronic - and it featured a surprising number of the movers and shakers of Perth photographic retailing. Not that there was all much room to move or shake - people pretty well filled the floor. Still space for selfies.
This sort of party report could easily dissolve into nothing but a series of shots of old employees and leave the average retail reader absolutely cold...except for a couple of interesting facts:
1. The people there included the cream of the Western Australian wholesale agents and reps...which means that the new premises will be well supplied with the best of new equipment. I didn't hear much business being talked amongst them but they all made their number to the Admirals so you can be certain that the new shop will not languish.
2. The old employees were there wishing the new premises well. Because they recognised the immense effort that had been put into the venture and the high level of finish that it exhibits.
There were speeches - industry figures that have dealt with the company since the earliest days in Angove Street as well as the principle commander on the floor right now - Domenic Papalia. There were speeches by Saul and Howard, and to their credit they were good ones.
And I took away a few realisations too...
You couldn't get that many people to meet, greet, schmooze, booze, and lose their inhibitions in any other retail photographic store in this town. Camera Electronic has a unique style and position as an icon in the industry. It's a real place full of real people. Noisy real people.
CE's also got some powerful friends - the AIPP for one - and the other professional bodies, as well as their trade contacts. They got those friends by being able to do what people needed - sales, repairs, advice, etc.
The humourous phrase that came out in one speech - " Ron had everything " - might sound funny when you remember the past but it was a foundation for a mindset on the part of the photographic public that drew them back and back to the shop. The fact that the staff also knew a bit of everything was also valuable - someone could always be found in the place with a cogent answer to a problem.
In some cases the answer was " Here, use this. " and in others " We can get it/repair it/make it, etc. ".
When Ron served a customer it was likely to be " You need one of these and one of these and..." And in my case I usually did.
Last night was a night of good humour amongst the guests. People who visit Murray Street today ( after they put the showcases back in place and scrub the suspicious stains off the new vinyl floor...) can be equally happy - the place is up and running well.
* At the Malamute Saloon. From the Land Of the Mounties. See - there's one now...
Labels: AIPP, Camera Electronic, Murray Street Store, New, opening, party