The announcement at the Camera House 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Saturday evening that John Ralph’s Camera House was the Camera House of the Year was received warmly by fellow Camera House members and attending suppliers.
The Gala Dinner was part of the three-day Camera House AGM/Conference held at Coogee Crowne Plaza over the weekend.
John and wife Deborah Ralph were presented with the Rex Alexander Trophy by Camera House chairman, Mark Alderson, to hearty applause.
Another retailer award – Outstanding Retailer of the Year, went to the Tran Group of Broadway Camera House and three other Sydney northern suburbs Camera House locations.
Supplier of the Year was Olympus, reflecting the camera-maker’s recent moves towards working more closely with specialist retailers. Former managing director Marc Radatt made a flying visit from his new regional role in Singapore to receive the award.
Camera House is by far Australia’s largest specialty photographic group with 90 stores across Australia (including affiliates such as Paxtons). The group reformed after an earlier set-back in 1983 and has maintained a prominent role in an increasingly challenging market.
The Camera House of the Year award reflects support by John Ralph Camera House in Erina (central coast, NSW) in buying, local marketing, responsible financial practices and particularly giving help to new and existing members of the group.
This is the third time John Ralph and his team have been nominated Camera House of the Year in the 30 years of the reincarnated group’s existence. The first was in in 1992 as The Entrance Camera House. The Erina store (Central Coast Camera House) was opened not long after.
The second award was in 1999, after John Ralph had served six years on the Camera House Board of Directors and the local store had moved into much larger premises vacated by Alan Williams’ Erina Retravision. This was the largest Camera House in Australia in terms of store size.
Currently John Ralph’s Camera House, though reduced in size and staffing levels to reflect current conditions, has consistently strived to provide excellence in advice and customer service to the local community. John Ralph regularly takes small groups of customers on workshops to introduce them to the joys of photography.
Part of the store’s success is based on the business having more than one area of expertise. Photographic hardware is a large part of sales but a smaller contributor in today’s conditions to profit. It is supplemented by a full range of photographic accessories, wide offerings in the photographic lab (including film processing) and a growing range of seminars and workshops.