I lost a great friend and mentor last night
Today was a tough and sad day filled with a lot of tears for me and many other people in our photo family. This morning I got a phone call that Allen from Allen’s Camera had passed away suddenly.
For those who knew Allen knew he was one of the most honest, fair and caring people you would ever meet. Yes he was a tough negotiator in business but that’s what made him so very successful all these years.
He had a smile that would light up the room. A big shit eating grin that went ear to ear when he told a joke or said something funny.
I must give credit where credit is due. I learned so much about business from going into work at Allen’s for the year that I worked there. I learned how to negotiate with sellers, how to purchase properly to get the best price along with free shipping. How to treat people fairly when they came into the store even if it meant not making sale.
I remember a time right after I started working there where Allen said to me something along the lines of sometimes the customer doesn’t need the lens or item they are looking for so don’t be afraid to tell them they may not need it. This was in reference to someone looking for a new lens to replace one they had but the new one didn’t offer them anything different from the old one.
Allen was all about the long term customer. If there wasn’t going to be a sale today that’s okay, they will be back in the future because we took good care of them no matter what. Isn’t that what it’s all about in business? It’s all about the long term client who will come back time and time again vs the scorched earth SELL SELL SELL mentality.
When I first started the website Allen was extremely supportive of what I was trying to do. He gave me access to gear that I otherwise would have never had a chance to sniff test or review. The only thing I had to make sure of was that I didn’t misplace any of the plastic baggies that came with the lens. Anyone who worked at Allens will know exactly what that statement was all about.
Most people don’t know this but Allen was the first person to financially support my site with a Nikon and Canon sponsorship. He was able to wrangle a nice monthly sponsorship that helped me keep the site alive and free for the first two years while I worked my ass off to turn it into something.
Without Allens support in the early days it would have been almost impossible to get to where I am today. Just think about it, if I didn’t have a store to go to to do unboxings and sniff tests I wouldn’t have had as many videos as I did right out of the gate that brought in eyes. For that I am forever grateful.
Allen was fiercely loyal and when I had the bigger NYC stores banging down my door for me to work with them I never thought twice when telling them no.
In the end you never know, you are here one second and gone the next. I wont give you the lines about enjoying every day as if it was your last because we all know it’s hard to live by that.
But I will say this, don’t sweat the small stuff, it could be worse. Call your loved ones and tell them you love them, hug someone when you say your farewells because you don’t know if you will ever get the chance to do it again. If you want to make that life change, make the life change, do it now, take the chance, you can always start over or better yet you can succeed.
Allen, thank you for believing in me and than you for being there any time I needed something. You will be missed.