The recent opening of a showroom and retail space for Teradek, Paralinx and SmallHD brands in LA underscores a larger trend: the revitalization of brick-and-mortar.
Last month, Vitec Creative Solutions introduced its new Creative Solutions - Los Angeles (CSLA) showroom and store in style, with a grand opening party. The party had the misfortune of being scheduled on the same night as the worst traffic gridlock I've experienced in years, which probably kept some revelers away. However, for the attendees on hand (and anyone else who wishes to handle and try out Creative Solutions' products), the store launch represents an intriguing opportunity to make more informed decisions concerning production gear.
Vitec Group is a vast company that houses some of the most recognizable brands for the photographic and video industries. Creative Solutions is the unit within the larger company that focuses on wireless monitoring technology, featuring Paralinx and Teradek (wireless), as well as SmallHD (monitoring). We've covered all of these brands in the past, including Teradek's VidiU Pro all-in-one streaming solution, Vitec's acquisition of Paralinx to bolster its wireless lineup and SmallHD's innovative SideFinder EVF solution.
"Like our Genius Bar"
I spoke to the President of Paralinx, Greg Smokler, who stated that CSLA: "is like our Genius Bar. This is our chance to offer the end-user a curated experience, where they can not only touch and use every one of our products but also work with our team of experts to learn about the wide variety of features and capabilities covered by our three brands. In addition, we can help troubleshoot and facilitate on-site repairs and assist in outfitting the last-minute purchase that rounds out your camera package for tomorrow's shoot.
The revitalization of brick-and-mortar?
For those that are interested in CSLA's products or, at very least, for those that have needs that CSLA products can address, the new store makes a lot of sense. The 'Genius Bar' (and implicit 'Apple Store') analogy is telling and indicative of larger efforts in retail to re-engage customers at the brick-and-mortar level by constraining to smaller niches, as opposed to the department store model. Even the ruler of online department stores, Amazon, has recently opened a physical bookstore, going back to its roots (book-selling) while pushing the company into new territory.
Only time will tell whether film pros flock to the CSLA store, but we wrote recently about the importance of the physical dimension in buying things (The Toaster Problem and what it tells us about technology). And for gear that you're going to lug around day-after-day (and that you rely upon for your livelihood), you really should venture out, brave the traffic and get those products in hand. Your next gig may depend on it.
For those in the LA-area who want to check out CSLA, it's located at 5329 West San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 and open Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm.