EXCLUSIVE: The former boss of collapsed high-street camera chain Jacobs, which closed last year after 73 years, is setting up a second-hand camera business that he hopes to launch online this summer.
Jacobs store in New Oxford Street which closed last year after the chain went into administration [Picture credit: C Cheesman]
Jacobs, a family-run business set up in 1939, shut down all 19 of its stores after it fell into administration on 1 June 2012 amid the harsh economic climate.
The online-only business will be aimed squarely at DSLR
users, and called ‘Cherished Camera Company’, according to records filed at Companies House.
‘We are going to give people a reasonable price for their products and sell for reasonable prices,’ said Anthony Jacobs in an interview with Amateur Photographer earlier today.
Jacobs said he will be looking to buy and sell ‘mid to top-end products’, such as the Canon 5D Mark II and high-end lenses such as a 24mm f/1.4, plus Leica camera gear.
It will not cover compact cameras or compact system cameras, he added.
The outfit will serve the many people he believes ‘have equipment, don’t use it and just want to turn it into cash’.
He also hopes it will appeal to those looking to save money on new products in an age where the ‘fault ratio is so low’, owing to today’s manufacturing standards.
Jacobs said the price differential in the second-hand camera market is comparable to the new, versus nearly-new, price of cars.
Last summer, administrators for Jacobs blamed the chain’s collapse on ‘high street pain’ made worse by competition from online retailers and a drop in discretionary spending among consumers amid a ‘double-dip recession’.
At the time, many photography enthusiasts expressed shock and dismay at the demise of Jacobs, many praising the chain for its customer service.
When asked today how he hopes to make the online business a success, Jacobs replied: ‘If you treat people fairly and offer them a good service you are going to be successful.’
Jacobs has already set up a website for the business, which states it will be ‘launching soon’. As yet, only a home page is displayed.
The website adds that the outfit will be run by staff with ‘over 42 years experience in the photographic trade…’.
The site tells photographers it is ‘looking to purchase Canon, Nikon and Leica DSLR/rangefinder bodies, lenses and manufacturers’ flashguns’.
It adds: ‘From an initial email enquiry and information you provide, we will estimate the price we might offer you – and confirm the price on a visual examination, on receipt of the product.
‘Original boxes, battery and chargers are important and will make a difference to the price offered but are not essential.’
The online move looks set to heighten competition in the second-hand market and provide new competition for high-street shops.
Earlier this year, a new second-hand website was launched under the banner ‘Camera Jungle’.
Camera Jungle promises an ‘instant quote’ system for those wanting to sell or trade in their old gear, without them having to visit a store or ‘haggle over price’.
In 2011, Anthony Jacobs told of how he stood his ground as youths smashed windows and tried to ransack the firm’s flagship store in Leicester as riots spread across England.
The Leicester-based retailer employed 154 staff before it went under last year.