Catching up with Gary Farber of Hunt’s Photo & Video

by NSN | October 26, 2012

Gary FarberFrom the Editor: If you are a photographer who has gone to a high profile photography event such as Photoshop World or a NANPA Summit, you’ve probably run into Gary Farber of Hunt’s Photo and Video. Gary is a constant presence at many of the events I have attended, and he and his company are known for excellent customer service, good deals, and speedy shipping. Based in Melrose, Massachusetts, with several stores throughout New England, Hunt’s has served photographers throughout the northeast for decades, and customers residing elsewhere can order direct from Hunt’s either online or via phone and get the same top-notch service as one would get in the store. Thanks to the NatureScapes Store, I have access to great deals on many of the items I need as a nature and wildlife photographer, but when I need something that we don’t carry, such as a new camera or lens, Gary is the first and last person I call. For purchases outside of our own store on these items, many of NatureScapes’ staff and moderators depend on Hunt’s for the same quality service that we pride ourselves on.

As a transplant New Englander, I’ve absorbed some classic New England values including supporting local business and families, so I caught up with Gary for a brief interview to learn more about his store.

What is Hunt’s Photo and Video?

Hunt’s Photo & Video is one of the country’s largest and most successful vendors of photographic, video and digital imaging products. Headquartered in Melrose, MA, Hunt’s has satellite stores in seven locations and four states including Boston, Cambridge, Hadley,
and Hanover, MA; Manchester, NH; Providence, RI; and So. Portland, ME. Hunt’s maintains a vibrant Internet presence and has a longstanding relationship with eBay (since 2001) that has resulted in a feedback score of 62,895 with a 99.7% positive rating. The company also provides specialized services and merchandise for law enforcement, educational, healthcare, and governmental markets, and an in-store inventory of 50,000 products.

How long have you been in business?

Originally known as Hunt’s Drug, Hunt’s started in business as an old-fashioned drugstore with a pharmacy and soda fountain in 1889. Before too long, a Kodak franchise was added and the beginnings of the dynasty known as Hunt’s Photo & Video took root.

Purchased by pharmacist Solomon Farber in 1952, Hunt’s continued in the pharmacy business until the major pharmacy chains began cutting into the company’s core prescription business. The decision was made to expand the photographic equipment and film sales side of the business. In the early 1970s, the soda fountain was eliminated and an unprecedented selection of cameras was brought onsite. By 1985, with the camera and video business booming and the drugstore a small part of the business, Hunt’s moved to a large, new facility in Melrose, MA. Things changed further in 1990 when Solomon’s son, Jack, now president of the company, took note of Hunt’s unique place in the photo business and closed the pharmacy and initiated the marketing strategy that would bring the newly-named Hunt’s Photo & Video to national prominence. Today, Hunt’s Photo continues to be owned and operated by the Farber family, with Jack’s sons, Scott and Gary, as the president and vice president. The strong family ties that have sustained the Company through the years continue today, and Hunt’s wants every customer to feel a part of the Hunt’s family.

Hunt's Photo and Video

What makes you stand out from other photo retailers?

Hunt’s Photo & Video distinguishes itself from the competition by stocking every single product from every major manufacturer, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, Pentax, Samsung, Panasonic, Leica, and others. Hunt’s stocks virtually every lens and camera manufactured by these companies; when the cameras are available in multiple colors, Hunt’s stocks them all.

The same holds true for other major product categories such as lenses, gadget bags, tripods, memory, and other key camera accessories. Hunt’s stocks each and every photo-specific inkjet printer from Epson and Canon as well as every major brand of media from companies such as Canon, Epson, Ilford, Inkpress, Canson, Hahnemuhle, Moab by Legion, and Harman.

The Company maintains a strict concentration on one category and that is, everything that goes into creating, editing, printing and storing images. You will not find cellphones or office products at Hunt’s. What you will find is a business that focuses solely and intensively on meeting the needs of photographers at all levels.

Do you have any specializations as a photo retailer? Do you cater to a specific population of photographers?

Hunt’s specializes in digital products, including consumer cameras, consumer and professional digital SLRs, Epson consumer and PROGRAF printers, inkjet media and inks. The company is committed to filling the needs of photographers in all interest areas and stocks the latest products, including standard and exotic optics, for nature and sports photographers.

Hunt’s is dedicated to serving photographers at all levels, from high end professionals or new point-and-shoot users. The company runs educational seminars and webinars throughout the year for beginners through advanced photographers, and the company’s on-staff educator provides one-on-one classes for people that need individualized training. During the Annual Hunt’s Show in the Fall and the Hunt’s Digital Demo and Sale in the Spring, the company presents 25-30 hours of free photography workshops for the public in its onsite 30-seat classroom.

Hunt’s also maintains a separate division for serving the imaging needs of organizations in law enforcement, healthcare, education, and government markets, and provides specialized services and merchandise for their needs.

What else should someone know about Hunt’s?

Hunt’s Photo & Video has built its lasting success on three basic principles: unparalleled customer service; a highly trained and experienced sales staff; and competitive pricing.

When customers come into a Hunt’s store, they are properly greeted by the staff, and someone is always available to answer any questions about photography they may have. An example of Hunt’s superior customer service is shown in this email from an out-of-state customer that attended one of Hunt’s online webinars and ended up buying a digital SLR from the company. “After the purchase of my camera, I received a hand written note from Don (the instructor), thanking me for the purchase and checking to make sure everything was going ok with the camera,” she wrote. “That is something that is not found this day and age in the retail business and it was greatly appreciated.” It is part of the Company’s longstanding commitment to customer satisfaction and a terrific customer experience every time you do business with Hunt’s.

In addition to providing superior service, Hunt’s is deeply rooted in the community. For the past six years, the company has partnered with the Essex National Heritage Area (ENHA) on its popular Photo Safaris. These photo adventures introduce new and experienced photographers to the ENHA’s diverse historic sites by arming the participants with high-quality loaner cameras and accessories from Hunt’s. Onsite instructors from Hunt’s provide hands-on education. While the proceeds from the Photo Safaris go to the ENHA, Hunt’s enjoys the goodwill that comes
from generously supporting this educational community program.

Hunt’s was chosen as the 2011 Massachusetts Retailer of the Year by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. The company supports dozens of local and national charitable organizations with generous donations of cash, gift certificates, education, and imaging equipment. In addition, Hunt’s has received “Dealer Achievement Awards” from every major photography manufacturer, including Canon, Hasselblad, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sony, and many others.

About Gary Farber

Gary Farber is the Vice President of Hunt’s Photo & Video. He is responsible for outside shows, which are the major selling shows in which the company participates around the country as well as photography club events and Professional Photographers of America events. Gary is also responsible for pre-orders on all of the high-end professional cameras, and is charged with allocating the products when shipments arrive from the manufacturers. Gary also serves on the Board of Directors of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA).

About Hunt’s Photo and Video

Headquartered in Melrose, MA, with branches in Boston, Cambridge, Hadley, and Hanover, MA, Manchester, NH, Providence, RI, and So. Portland, ME, Hunt’s Photo and Video is the largest digital imaging equipment retailer in New England. Hunt’s serves beginner, student, hobbyist and professional photographers throughout the nation and the world with competitive pricing, unparalleled sales expertise and exceptional customer service. Enjoy “a picture perfect experience” every time you do business with Hunt’s. Find out more by phoning 781-662.8822 or visiting the Hunt’s website at www.huntsphotoandvideo.com.

Hunt’s will be having a weekend long event at it’s Melrose, MA store from Nov 2-4, 2012. Numerous vendors will be available to demo gear and classes and workshops will be offered. For more info, check out Hunt’s Photo and Video’s website.

About the Author

NatureScapes' goal is to be an invaluable resource for nature photographers. By offering relevant content and nourishing a growing community of photographers, we feel we can make a major contribution to the craft of nature photography.

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