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david t

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No need for the Kodak signs, I was worried when I removed mine, but it did not make any difference.. in actual fact when I came out of KEX, my business improved.

As for Kodak Express having a corporate identity sorry but I think I just fell of my chair....

To see how much they want your store to survive have a look at wwww.kodakexpress.co.uk ;) Lovely (not)

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If you were "Joe Public", the first name you would recognise, and trust, in photography is, more than likely, Kodak, so why associate your shop with that brand ?

Although there are problems with the network, I would still prefer to be a part of it, as I have been since I moved into this business on my own. I was previously involved with a company that dealt thru Fotostop Express who, altho they have since changed, promised heaven and delivered hell.

I can honestly recommend Kodak Express as a network, and think you will find the whole package of benefit, which stacks up well if you compare it with the new photo me package mentioned elsewhere on this forum.

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Maybe I am alone in my dislike of franchise type business (but I don't think so), I will inconvenience myself in taking my trade to an independant retailer rather than use a branded retailer. My wife curses me for this as Tesco, Asda , Sainsburies etc. are convenient , but for quality the independant cannot be beaten.

  Having visited several photographic 'franchises' (and on several occasions suffered terrible dejavu) my feelings have been bourn out.

  If someone knows little or nothing about the photographic trade ,except that (in the past) it can be proffitable , the support and guidance provided by a 'franchise' can be invaluable.

  If I wanted to run a franchise , I would probably not pick photofinishing , but rather look to fast food or shoe repair and key cutting.

  I am in the photofinishing industry (partly by accident,admitedly) because I am a passionate photographer. I am an independant for many reasons , I want to make my own decisions (and mistakes!) , I like to work hard (and only with one notable exception have never been paid appropriately whilst employed) , and job satisfaction is almost more important to me than income .

Apart from that, I'm an ornery critter and if some shiny ass## pen pusher from kodak or a.n.other told me how my business should be run , they would be told.....

                             no offence to anyone intended , different strokes etc.

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i agree photographis. saw a sign today  their sign just said

photographic & digital experts.

and had lots of posters in the windows of what they offer and services. who needs kodak or agfa they will allways try and get something for nothing out of the little guy.after all its your business and why would you want anyone telling you what to do and when to do it. we never let it hapen from agfa.


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The truth is Kodak is not a Franchise, they provide the sign , you agree to carry there stock and they come up with promotions for you. they will offer help where they can but in the end you still run your business. its the best of both worlds we carry Fuji Products and used to carry Agfa and Konica ( the one thing we have never changed is the Paper we use customers like the logo on the back as do we. if you want to be independent fair enougth if not then you might as well have the biggest name above your door, does it help YES, would I change No and I have had my fair share of run-ins with them but they have never interferred with the way I run the Business. after 15 years I can only say the relationship has been to my benifit and i'm still in business and not moaning about the Muppets out there, theres bigger fish to fry Like when as an industry in the UK are we going to address the fact that the public take far more pictures than ever but do nothing with them

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well have the biggest name above your door
Kodak the biggest name  ;D oh come on...

[hide]yes, not so long back the brand name "Kodak" was big, but as we are now in the digital age they are just a small minnow in a very large pond, Kodak and digital = not a lot.

Maybe things are now a little better in the KEX network, but sorry there past behaviour has been nothing short of disgusting.

To think that to have a sign above your shop that says "Kodak Express" means anything to the punter, well from my own personal experience is just not true, and I was in the network for close to 15 years, but the bull$hit they spin just makes me chuckle. Hey they are meant to be the industry leader... but it is a bit of a fact they have got so many things wrong. As there relationship with the like of HP continues, and the digital age grows, the Kodak brand will just become another black jack, one of those things that you remember, but it will all seem so long back.

If you are a true independent, offering bestoke services, then the name Kodak means nothing  :K)[/hide]

Sorry for those being nosy to what I wrote, lets hear some comments on what it is like to be an independat, rather than doing a post saying "just looking"

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Personally I think the Kodak name has a lot less value than it used to. Sure it is still a very recognizable brand and may give some comfort to some customers, but I think Independant is the way to go. Develop your own brand, & do things your own way, why attach your business to a name, when the future is so uncertain? Everything is changing very fast, and the Kodak Express name, I think is a bit dated. Why not just have some "we sell Kodak product" type signs?

I mean in the digital age, if you take away Kodak film & silver halide Paper, there's not much left that has any meaning.

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I have 7 kodak films left on my shelf,and when they are sold, that is it, there will not be a Kodak product for sale here in my shop...

We have "Hoover" as a brand name, and yes people still buy one, but it is now for many just a name, like Biro and so many others.

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Have been watching mini lab help for some time and am getting a bit fed up of Neils continued Kodak bashing - why so much, so often? Kodak is not only the top name in photography but still up in the top Brand names in the world, yes up there with Sony and Coke. Anyone who thinks that Kodak's name above the door does not take in extra customers {especially visitors to the area} is not living in the real world. We all have much lower film sales but people still want either Kodak or cheap, in our case still 70% Kodak. In the case of SUCs, our biggest seller is Kodak on the buy one, get one free @

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[hide]Kodak has been telling the general public for some years now that you can get "real Kodak prints at home, on inkjet / dye sub printers. Any value that "Kodak Prints" had, has been devalued to the point where it is nearly worthless. Most people don't give a toss what paper their prints are done on, and those that do usually want Fuji paper, because it supposedly has the best longevity.

Kodak digital cameras are O.K, but nothing special really.

I was told by a Kodak rep when I first took over my business that I would not get an account with Kodak. They knew nothing about me or my business.

Nothing against Kodak, I like many of their products, but I don't want to support a company that seems to have no interest in supporting / assisting my business.[/hide]

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I've been a member of KEX for over 7 years, and although I've been somewhat jaded in the last 12-18months, I am seeing and hearing a number of things at kodak which are making me feel far happier.

Yes they have had their problems, just like many others, but from a consumer point of view the name still means a lot. In Oz, kodak know they have had problems, but the new MD in Oz seems determined to turn it around. i'm prepared to give it a go, to the point that we will be remodelling our shop in the next few months using a heap of really great, kodak supplied ideas and store layouts.

We are still getting between 50c and 90c per photo in our location!. I think thats about 30-50p!! Only today, had a customer collect 675 prints at A$.50 per photo. All on Royal paper, and she was one of few who have turned over the photos and said "I'm glad you use Kodak paper, its just the best" _ HER WORDS, NOT MINE!

I plan on staying with KEX for the next few years as I see more good points in the company than bad ones. And its a lot easier to work with them from inside rather than bash them from outside the group.

I have a rep who is trying to help me, and recognises there are isssues to fix, but he is trying!

To be independent is all very well and certainly some folks. But for me the resources I can draw on from Kodak are much more than I can make or afford to do myself.

The only fuji film we sell is 40 exp Nexia because kodak do not make 40exp in APS anymore. we are currently processing around 30 -40 rolls of APS per week, and our total rollage is around 300 per week. all in all, we do not see the huge drop in film processing that others are getting. Sure we advertise and promote and keep the quality up, but we keep getting return business from our existing customers. The advertising support has come from Kodak, with us modifying it to suit our individual needs.

To sum up, if you want support from Kodak, you have to work with them, and probably drive them to do what you want. Find a local contact and try to work with them and get to know them. Schmooze a little - find out who the area/sales manger is that looks after your line of business or your area and call him and make contact. Go visit him/her and who knows, the negativity that many are seeing might reduce, and you will feel good about working in this industry

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I think its time to drop this one we will never all agree and those with pointed agendas will always moan about Kodak. as Cecil says they are still the biggest name in the industry and for those of us who thinks is worth being a member great for those who don't then I respect there view as its there business. I just wish as a industry we could concentrate in improving things for all instead of slagging other companies off and that includes those in the Muppet awards as Tescos and Asdas are by no way muppets thaet just see photos as a product to sell and there volume is not better than most of us so lets work out how to get Joe Public back into having Photos printed not leaving them on a card, cd or pc

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Kodak did a great job on TV reminding people to get "real prints" rather than keep them on a computer/CD/memory card. I agree that only a few people look at the name on the back but we pay Kodak a small fee to have their name above our door and bring , we hope, extra feet in the door. In the old days when we had Express meetings in Scotland and N.E.England, it usually was a bash Kodak day. everyone wanted to pay Kodak as little as possible and then leave Kodak to make them lots of money. I'm afraid life isn't like that - God helps those who help themselves!! We sell three types of film - Kodak single, Kodak multi-pack and

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As many of you know we were an 'AGFA' lab, with all their signage etc.

When Agfaphoto waved goodbye to planet Earth we bought a Kis DKS1500 and started to rebrand as 'Konica Minolta'. Then they decided to go on a prolonged holiday  ;D

I've now come to the conclusion that I'm better off branding as ourselves- for better or worse.

When all the signage etc is finished I'll post a piccie for you all to have a good laugh/ snigger at  ;D ;D

One thing to bear in mind, all the kids out there with camera phones etc have never heard of Kodak, fuji et al. Perhaps we could brand our shops 'Nokia'- that may work ::)


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I think its time to drop this one we will never all agree and those with pointed agendas will always moan about Kodak. as Cecil says they are still the biggest name in the industry and for those of us who thinks is worth being a member great for those who don't then I respect there view as its there business. I just wish as a industry we could concentrate in improving things for all instead of slagging other companies off and that includes those in the Muppet awards as Tescos and Asdas are by no way muppets thaet just see photos as a product to sell and there volume is not better than most of us so lets work out how to get Joe Public back into having Photos printed not leaving them on a card, cd or pc

WELL SAID TREVOR- absolutely spot on. :)

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Well, the crux of the matter is persuading all those 'new' photographers (many of whom have never used film) to bring their memory cards/telephones to us for printing. Properly. Hassle free. That is a challenge.  In this respect I feel branding is relatively unimportant. As far as I can see , the 'Kodak' branding has as much meaning as 'Hoover'- synonamous with photography, but as far as 'joe public' is concerned, applies to everything to do with photography.

   What do we call the Dyson , Panasonic , electrolux , mitsubushi etc. under the stairs ? A Hoover, of course.

As for brands selling, I know that has more to do with not only stocking but the sales persons personal prefference . Because Kodak is not particularly popular around here , you have to search to find some. Why isn't it popular? I suspect it is because someone dumped a load of out of date/poorly kept Kodak film in this area about 15yrs ago. Very cheap, 50p a roll, but came up with some interesting colours on dev. But people don't forget , especialy in rural communities like this. Now, over 70% of photographers who express a prefference, go for Fuji.

  All the 120's I dev are Fuji, 35mm is about 80% Fuji , the rest is made up of Tesco, Tudor and Kodak (in order of quantity). I think I have seen 2 AGFA since Christmas.

  We don't sell film (at the moment), so these figures have nothing to do with our local influence. Fascinating.

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Neil, things are changing at Kodak express, yes it had no support for the years it was run by men, but now its back, with Janice who has been running it for kodak for the past year and she is doing everything on her own and doing a great job, watch te website over the next few weeks, every dealer is having there own page.

The new branding is excellent and having watched how strong branding in our town works, I too thought you could take down the branding but for what it costs and what it brings in its now money well spent.

Two examples,

Our town had four coffee shops all privately owned, all did well, then last year costa coffee opened the first multiple and every day they had a queue out the door whilst the other shops had there usual trade, where did these customers come from?

Last week Carphone warehouse opened next door to me, before that all we had was one independant phone shop and now this carphone warehouse is packed all day long?

Consumers want branding, thats why the high street is becoming full of high street clone towns, as some newspapers are now stating, ten years from now will there be an independant shop?. The high street rents are increasing so fast you need branding support.

If you were in Kex some years ago then I understand why you think its terrible but its growing again and with Janice at the helm its now improving rapidly?

Agfa and Konica gone, the last of the old brands will be kodak.

I have been in the trade 23 years and Kex is the best its ever been supported.

Go Kodak Express, although Janice is being choosy who she opens accounts with, its now about quality not quantity.

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Neil, things are changing at Kodak express
Well after 2 decades  ;D maybe the first not being too bad at all but then 10 years of crap... hence why sooooooooooooooo many people left.

I can only reflect my own real life experience, I was Kodak Express ( the brand) was told that if I came out of the network, how it would damage my business, but I did come out, pulled down all Kodak branding, and it did not make any difference, not one single bit.

Maybe they are trying to change, and good luck to them, but I would not touch with a barge pole, no way.

Seems that some of you have not seen the "nasty side" of which I have.

My reply goes back to the start of this thread, re someone question

i am thinking of getting rid of all my Agfa signage and replacing them with kodak express and becoming one of their partners.has anyone already gone down this road?if so have you experienced any benefits?also any comments good or bad.

That person is asking for advice, my post and comments on this thread are reflection of my very own personal experience.

Oh and I do like a heated debate  ;) at least we have an interesting thread going  ;D

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To return to the actual question!

Obviously you need to take down your Agfa signage.

You need to evaluate the whole KEX package and judge if it will provide what you need and if the cost is acceptable - just like any other business proposition.

My experience is that KEX will not try to control your business - other than requiring certain minimum standards. Clearly KEX is there to shift Kodak products therefore you need to feel comfortable with their products, pricing and marketing philosophy.

If you feel this is for you then you should sign up. If you don't want to do it their way then stay independent. But I suggest that you don't join KEX and then spend the next few years trying to change them and moaning that KEX is too committed to Kodak!

I don't know if KEX still require Kodak products to be bought via their preferred wholesaler - Swains. If so then there may be a hidden cost in that there may be cheaper suppliers i.e. Tetenal.

Everyone tells me that Janice is doing a good job but the average length of service of KEX managers is just a year or so. You need to look at the whole structure and assume that Janice may eventually be rewarded by promotion to elsewhere in the Kodak network.

I used to be in KEX. I left for a number of reasons.

Would I return? Possibly - depending upon the terms offered. I certainly would never say never.

The withdrawal of Agfa and Konica has drastically narrowed the options for the independent photo lab. I think that in, say, 3 years time you will find KEX either going from strength to strength or beginning to shut down. I genuinely hope for the former as I believe that it will be the best outcome for our industry.

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