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NeilT

UK Minilab Buying Group

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Following on from another thread, and talk of a minilab buying group, would you be intrested in such a thing?

The ideal would be a one supplier for Paper & Chemistry.

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Good shout again Neil, hope this goes forward, being independant is great but our own buying group gives us the hope of helping each other as well as the help we get from our suppliers.

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This is something I've wanted for some time. As well as paper and chemistry let's add film and camera cards. Not sure about frames and albums as I guess there's a certain amount of regional variation in tastes. Also what about ink and paper etc for our wide format printers?

Now let's see, who does all of this stuff.........Tetenal  :)

Tony

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What experiance have you had lately with FotoStop, I think that you confusing the past with the now. I deal with FotoStop now, they have produced good prices, good sales promotion and regular comminications, still your opinion is your opinion.

Please clarify exactly what "IMHO" means as I am a simple man.

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I too have dealt with Fotostop in the past and dealing with them at present too.

I will have to agree with Cloppac that they have produced good prices, good sales promotion, regular communications and excellent technical support.

Keep it up "The New Team"

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With the exception of Tetenal they all have to buy the chemistry in as Tetenal make there own together with ther distribution of Fuji Kodak And KonicaMinolta at present (they also make the Konica Minolta Chemistry and will continue to do so for many years) seems more sence to deal with the supplier at source than through third parties. More chance of a better price

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I hear what your saying Trevor, however a buying group needs the complete package, this market is not just about cost effective consumables it is about a total solution.

My comments about my support for FotoStop are based on experience and not a opinion, Charlie is obviously also a FotoStop customer who is saying the same thing as me. I dont think he will mind me saying the following.

Since the restructuring we get:

Great prices, Great Promotions, Great Technical Support and staff who dont mind talking and helping us out, when we have a problem.

That is a buying group, which is more than just a price you pay for consumables.

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I thought the idea was to look for something NEW and independent .Fotostop is a current branded image like Fuji  and KEX of which lots of us are memebers of,  some happy some not.

If one wants to go for a current brand them it has to be the big 2 as they are in control of the paper and chemistry. If we want something totally independent them again I would say find someone who is not relying on others for raw materials and develope you own thing. Me i'm happy being KEX they have problems but don't we all

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I agree with trevor, this idea is about something new not dealing with an existing franchisee. There is already a company involving ex fotostop employees that took this idea onto themselves. What (i think) we are looking at here is the buying power of independants grouping together, rather than looking at an existing buying group. Just out of interest how long have you guys been fotostop customers?, glad things are going well for you  :)

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Hi Andy

I see what you and Trevor are saying, I have been a FotoStop customer for the past 4 years and whilst it has been an interesting ride in the past, I dont think that anybody can argue with the way in which FotoStop is looking after its members since the takover by the new company. (Still I already said my piece on this).

With regards to a buying group I do feel that converations should be had with all the companies out there!. Including Tetenal, Tudor, FotoStop and any others suppliers.

My only comment is that FotoStop members like me are "independent retailers" they are not a Franchisee, we effectivly use HO as a buying group and advice centre, FotoStop H/O source the supplies, we the members then buy from H/O at the right price, the great thing here is that we can get branded and non branded items without paying through the nose for them!.

Is this not what we are talking about, when we say a buying group ?.

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Thanks cloppac,

                         as much as i see and understand what you are saying i was a FotoStop customer for 12+ years and i know fully all the changes that have been made since the takeover by snappysnaps. I think as well as looking at the companies you have mentioned we as a group may now have the scope to be able to appoach manufacturers such as Fuji etc directly to cut out the 'middleman'. But i do respect your input and find it refreshing to hear of happy independant labs. By the way if you remember Brent from FotoStop, he is now working with Essential Imaging supplies, after a bit of a career change!!!!!!  

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The idea, once again.. the way I see it. If you, as an independant, say owned 50 shops, and you went to company *blah* the company would offer you a better deal than being a one or two shop person... This is where, given a little time minilabhelp.com may be able to help

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I am an independent photofinisher in the US. I had no interest in buying groups. We had done well since 1969 by being independent. There is a difference between independence and good business.  When volume and cash flow started dropping faster than 4x6 print prices, I decided I would become more liberal in my thinking.

We started having a discussion every day on how to reduce expenses. The meeting is not over until we had at least one good idea. Eventually the buying group idea came up and since the meeting would never end unless someone could come up with a better idea, we decided to join the IPI group.

After we joined we found out there would be enough savings to at least offset the costs. Thankfully. We started enjoying the forum and since IPI represents 600 labs, we started taking advantage of all of the good ideas we were getting from the forum. These ideas translated into money one way or the other. We then started mining the data in the archives. Everytime a subject came up we would do a search and often hit the jackpot. We now save over $8000 a year in insurance because everyone can funnel their business thru one insurance company.

When I went to the first meeting I was blown away. Meetings last all day and into the evening. All meals are eaten together at a table with 8 to 10 other independent photo lab owners. In this enviroment it is amazing what you can learn. What I liked is there were no people there from the big box stores. The conversations are private and people really open up and honestly discuss what they have tried and what works. I brought back a brief case of ideas which we work on every day. It will take a long to implement them all.

I now think it is not possible to be in this business without a buying group. I would recommend you at least contact IPI and discuss the possibilities. IPI now takes international members. Maybe you could form a UK branch or launch your own independent group. I would love to see all of you guys folded into our group. It is a blast to meet people you have come to know through the forums.

I can't discuss prices, but I will be glad to discuss any other questions anyone has.

PS Our sales are on the upswing:)

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Mmmm, a buying group.

I believe there are several members in this forum who think that it should be a profit making making organisation, ie Fotostop

A buying group is formed by the members, for the members, any profit made is given back as rebate payments to the members!Don't under estimate the work involved in setting up such an organisation, and remember, you need an elected board to run it, or be at the helm if you like.

Would you be able to trust someone you don't know? Someone to do the deals etc!

No one does it quite like yourself-know what I mean.

We can all bang on about buying brand paper at

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P.I.C. was supposed to be run for members with profits going back to members. Its main aim was to get better prices from the companies and pass them on. It simply didn't work. Any buying group would have to be run by some super human who had plenty of money and wanted to do it simply as some kind of charity!!! Payment would always be a problem unless it was up front and how many of us want to do that?

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