Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto's Keeble & Shuchat Photography to close in October

Original post made on Sep 16, 2016

Facing a changing industry and declining profits, one of the Bay Area's last major brick-and-mortar camera stores, Palo Alto's Keeble & Shuchat, will be closing next month, owner Terry Shuchat confirmed Thursday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 16, 2016, 9:19 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by Pat
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 16, 2016 at 10:34 am

I'm not even a photographer yet I'm saddened by this.

Posted by DC
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Not enough professionals and not catering enough to the amateurs or hobbyist who might buy from a store. You can learn everything on the internet and you do not want to compete.

Posted by shutterbug
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Do not believe for one moment that K&S's decline in business is merely because of a changing market. K&S is, yes, loved by some photographers but reviled by many. Their horrible customer service and condescending attitude are legendary. They have treated customers like garbage for years. I wouldn't buy a picture frame there

Think this is sour grapes? Read their Yelp reviews

Posted by PhotoGuy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2016 at 2:45 am

Really wanted to like the place, but their attitude / knowledge ratio was way too high. Did a lot of browsing and bought elsewhere. Would have bought many cameras and lenses from them at their high prices, but why? They did not deserve my loyalty, so got none.

Sitting on a goldmine of real estate. Interesting to see what comes from it.

Posted by John Sack
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2016 at 11:31 am

I'm surprised by the negative comments. I've shopped at K&S for about 20 years, getting help with starting in photography, and in digital photography, there. I probably bought 8 cameras, a dozen lenses, a handful of printers, etc. there. I found the staff helpful -- even sometimes giving me advice that was in my best interest but not selling me something I didn't really need. Maybe I was the unusual client (I would do my comparison shopping on the internet and then go to the real store to buy). Sometimes I would go to the store and see the staff spending 30-60 minutes with a single customer helping them select a camera that was right for a particular purpose like travel or sports or such. I wish the staff well.

Posted by Jo
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2016 at 11:36 pm

I've had several recent experiences at K&S and each time I was satisfied. I felt intimidated once a long time ago, I thought because I'm not a pro; now, I'm comfortable just being me. I returned because I needed help and equipment and they are conveniently located. My equipment and I have benefited from good personal attention. I'll have to go farther for like services. Special thanks to Jonathan, of the Repairs department.

Posted by Joyce
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

I too am surprised at the negative comments. In my 40 years as a hobbyist, I have shopped frequently at KSP and have only good things to say about the sales help. And the repair department has been a godsend for my digital equipment that I have dragged and dropped all over the world than once.

I especially enjoyed attending the classes put on by the manufacturers' reps and truly regret losing that. And I truly enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow hobbyist.

As Terry says, the neighborhood is changing but I always thought that if any neighborhood could support a concierge type camera store it would be one in Palo Alto. My heart goes out to Terry, his family and his staff and I wish them all the best. They were all in it for the right reason, for love of photography.

Posted by CJ Madson
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 19, 2016 at 7:04 am

I have many good memories from wandering through K&S, talking with their best salespeople and supporting them financially. I knew of some workers who weren't easy to deal with but I just avoided them and worked with the considerate salespeople year after year. I made good use of their retail, rental and used gear departments and appreciated their coverage. People would look through their stock and then buy online, which I didn't think was fair -- and is part of this business shift that caused them to lose business. I do think it's remarkable for any business to continue for over 50 years. Photography has changed so much; I wondered how K&S could afford to maintain such a large retail space when so many now just use their phones.

I thank Terry and his good people for their time with me and providing rental gear and advice and gallery space for my friends to exhibit their work. I will have good memories of K&S over many years of service and quite a few hours of interacting with them.

Posted by Alan
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2016 at 7:39 am

In 1975 I traded Terry a Copy Machine for my first good camera, a Nikon FM-1.
Sorry to see you guys go, it is defiantly difficult for small retailers these days.

Posted by Bill Hough
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2016 at 9:43 am

I've not been a big K&S customer; I'm more of a B&H man. That said, the demise of K&S is a teaching moment in Bay Area economics. It's getting too expensive for a small business to operate with high Bay Area prices.

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

B&H camera is located in New York City. So they know how to compete with the internet plus have a physical store in an expensive location.

How do they do it? They provide excellent customer service and great prices.

I obviously do my business with the online but I have visited their store a few times.

I've only dealt with K&S a few times. The service was just OK. The prices were pretty much full retail. They had a decent selection but there was nothing compelling me to become a return customer.

Posted by Philip
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm

On the one hand, yes, this is sad because of the inexorable squeeze from online sales and from the Costco's of the brick and mortar world.

However, on my visits to K&S, which became fewer and fewer, the customer service was so poor that it simply was intolerable to shop there. Arrogant and disinterested. Not a price difference issue.

For a while the exception was the rental gear department, where the staff was pleasant and helpful even though the rental gear was crap and beaten up. And then on my last visit, the assistant told me to go away and come back later because he was busy with one person in front of me. I never went back and now rent online from BorrowLenses (always top quality gear, always great customer service).

You can ding a B&H in New York for the online sales taking over. But they also operate a huge brick and mortar operation in that very expensive market and I'm guessing they do OK with it. And even though I don't visit in person their customer service is excellent online and by phone.

To me the lesson is clear. Poor management, and an unwillingness to change with the times and learn to complete effectively. Excellent customer service in a quality shopping environment will still get plenty of customers looking, buying and coming back. I would have - but not for the poor operation they ran. It's too bad but its very much self-inflicted.

Posted by PeterB
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

I'm here because of a recent re-location, and found K&S in the Spring. Even though it's an hour drive, I was glad to do it because of the serene location, neighborhood shops, easy parking, and good inventory. Between the two stores, they had almost everything I needed right in stock. They even backordered parts that I hadn't found anywhere else, and had multiples within a week. I can't comment on the prices (or tax) as I don't much care about that when the product is right in front of me, and I can try it out and take it home with me. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly: sometimes I don't know, and sometimes they don't know; we just accepted that and figured out solutions. I found the store to be a treasure, and the staff supportive and engaging, so I don't agree with some of the above comments.
Very best wishes for the future.

Posted by Thomas
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 20, 2016 at 3:21 pm

It is truly unfortunate that Keeble and Shuchat will close when providing such a valuable service. Terry Shuchat is a wonderful man and I have been visiting K & S for over 30 years, always finding the staff to be helpful. Yes, at times the staff would be a little pretentious but they were willing to make the time to work with me. Cameras have become much more complicated which does require more knowledge to maximize of the use of these products to reach their full potential. I don't necessarily believe going to the internet for guidance and use was in my best interest. I like it when an expert can walk me through the product I paid $3000 for showing my step by step so I don't miss a thing or feature. I do believe there is still a place for a local camera store for people like myself. Thank goodness there still is camera stores in the area like San Jose Camera, Mike's Camera and Samy's Camera available to me.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Stroll the streets of Paris on the Peninsula with Bon Marché
By The Peninsula Foodist | 2 comments | 3,945 views

Democracy and our police departments
By Diana Diamond | 5 comments | 3,110 views

"To keep your marriage brimming . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,225 views

Using heat pump specs to answer your common sense questions
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,075 views