COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on all aspects of the photography business. Photographers have had to cancel travel and workshops. Jobs have been canceled. The distributors and manufacturers of the photographic goods and services we can’t live without have also taken it on the chin. They, and we, are creative and resilient.
We reached out to three of the companies that have been supporters of NANPA and some of NANPA’s professional members. Their stories will appear during the coming weeks. Yesterday, we reported on how Tamron has been affected and what they’re doing in response. Today, we look at Hunt’s Photo and Video.
If you’ve been to a NANPA event, such as a Summit, or NANPA’s high school and college programs, you will have seen Hunt’s Photo & Video and Gary Farber. Hunt’s, based in Massachusetts, is New England’s “imaging equipment leader,” offering cameras, printers, scanners, video equipment and more. They also lead field workshops and training classes and do a robust online business.
We talked to Gary and Noah Buchanan (who deals with Trade Shows at Hunt’s) who told us Hunt’s had to temporarily shut down their eight retail stores and print labs, which impacted more than a hundred employees. So far, they’ve not had to layoff anyone, letting their staff work from home. The most challenging aspect was switching a lot of tasks around, so different employees were doing online training, creating product reviews and videos, taking a deep dive into new products, learning new skills with the computer systems and staying in touch with customers. The prints are now being done by a lab out of the area as Hunt’s tries to maintain as many services as they can.
In no time, Hunt’s was able to switch their face-to-face classes to online ones. Gary says they’ve been pleased with the results and each one has sold out. Hunt’s is doing more YouTube videos about products and is talking to outside experts about creating new videos, for example having a lens manufacturer’s rep detailing which lenses are best for which type of photography, and is looking at partnering with other photography companies and organizations on webinars, such as having reps from Panasonic/Lumix talking leading an advanced video class (April 16).
Hunt’s, like some other companies, is doing Daily Deals and other, more aggressive, promotions which have been successful in driving business to their website. However, a lot of what has made Hunt’s thrive in the past are the personal relationships with customers that Gary and his team have developed over the years. Those relationships will also be key to Hunt’s future, once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Gary and his staff are purposefully reaching out to customers, checking in with them, asking if they’re OK and how they’re doing. Gary says that these relationships have been built on trust an friendship and this is what friends do.
Gary and Hunt’s have supported NANPA the past 16 years, in good times and bad. We’ve been through tough stretches before and we’ll get through this one, too, he says. He ended our conversation with “Hope to see you in Tucson” at NANPA’s 2021 Nature Photography Summit.
If you have any photographic or video needs, please reach out to Noah or Gary via email. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. They encourage everyone to give Hunt’s an opportunity to earn your business.
See part one of this series here.