A camera store that shut down owing thousands of pounds to customers has responded to criticism and blamed its demise on competition from internet rivals.

Photo: Google Street View

Mark Gregory, a former partner at the Norfolk Camera Centre in Dereham, has faced a barrage of criticism since the store closed leaving customers out of pocket or waiting for their equipment to be returned.

Amateur Photographer (AP) managed to track down Gregory this morning.

He confirmed that the business, which was run as a partnership, is no longer trading and that there is no plan to revive it.

Gregory claimed: ‘Everyone will be paid and will get their bits and pieces back.

‘It’s a matter of time to raise money and pay people.’

He said the store, located at 11 Nelson Place, also has other bills to pay.

Gregory said that fewer than 20 people are owed ‘varying amounts’ – totalling under £5,000 – and that many were contacted before the business closed in December.

He advised former customers to continue to contact the store through its website and he pledged to respond to enquiries.

Gregory blamed the store’s failure on its inability to compete with online competition.

This meant it was no longer able to sell top-end Nikon and Canon gear.

‘Any customer could go to Amazon and buy cheaper than from Norfolk Camera Centre,’ he said.

Gregory added that the store was also badly hit by competition from Wex Photographic, which has a showroom in Norwich less than 20 miles away.

He said Norfolk Camera Centre earned a 10% margin on sales ‘if you were lucky’, and that money earned from processing and repairs had kept the shop going during hard times.

Last week, one angry customer claimed that the shop’s owners had ‘run away’ and accused them of failing to leave contact details outside.

‘We had actually informed quite a few people,’ Gregory told AP, adding that signs placed in the shop’s windows may have since been removed by the landlord.

He said he has not drawn a wage from the business for the past two years and that an accountant is looking after its affairs.

The business vacated its Dereham premises on 31 December 2014.

‘We came to a break in the lease and it was decided that it was time to get out,’ added Gregory.

‘We can only apologise for how this has ended for customers.’

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  • David Miller

    At some time or other, I imagine 99.9% of us are guilty of giving a helping hand in killing off, not just Camera stores, most stores. For example, my wife is “Fletcher” she makes arrows. The business she works for have a wide range of archery gear. They also have an archery range, to test out the bows. So, along comes Mr. R Hood, wants to buy a compound bow .. for arguments sake it’s £1,200 .. They spend an hour playing about with several bows, then the bow they are interested in, is set-up for them. They then are taken onto the Range, with one of the sales / bowmen .. get to shoot several arrows etc.. so let’s say from start to finish an hour has passed .. Then they go back into the shop. Right, I’ll go away and think about it .. What he really means is, Now I have been able not only to see the bow, I have been able to fire the bow .. Now I will order it off a website, who has no overheads, no facility for me to try it and it’s £1,100 a hundred pound cheaper. Does that sound familiar what happens with a lot of camera gear. I’m also guilty as charged. And what about Mr. R. Hood, who then has a problem with his bow, maybe setting it up .. Does he call the internet business where he bought it a £100 cheaper from .. Nope .. the cheeky sod, goes back to the store to ask for help. !!