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Remembering Samy Kamienowicz, founder of iconic LA camera stores

Photography enthusiasts in Los Angeles mourn the man behind the camera store, Samy Kamienowicz, founder of Samy’s Camera.

The iconic LA store welcomed photographers of all levels from professionals to beginners. Employees and customers remember Kamienowicz as just another guy with a love for photography.

“People ask, ‘Is there a Samy?” said Juan Gonzalez, assistant manager of Samy’s Camera in Pasadena. “Sometimes people didn’t even notice he was the owner,”

Professionals that frequent the camera store like Ali Zarez say he could easily source some of the equipment online but Kamienowicz made sure his stores offered something “extra.”

“When I’m here, sometimes I don’t wanna buy anything. I’m just coming to meet the people,” said Zarez.

Frank Schlegel, who’s worked at Samy’s Camera for three decades says Kamienowicz knew early on that technology in this business never slows down. But one-on-one attention from a sales rep was something his stores offered that Amazon and eBay could not.

Samy’s weathered the advent of internet shopping, the invention of the DSLR, the end of the “point and shoot,” mirrorless camera frames, drones and even the iPhone.

“That’s where the business was going and he didn’t shy away from it,” said Schlegel. “He loved quality products. Loved to tinker with them and he had quite a few.”

In an age where mom-and-pop stores often struggle to keep customers around, Kamienowicz had successfully threaded the needle.

Realizing that photography wasn’t just for pros buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment, it was also for amateurs, students and plain old shutterbugs wanting to take their hobbies just a little further than Instagram selfies.

Just like Samy when he started the business 48 years ago.

“Samy was a face – not just a name on the store,” said Gonzalez.


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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