View Full Version : Keeble & Schuchat, Palo Alto

15-Sep-2016, 10:42
informed their employees that they will be closing both stores for good at the end of October. Any remaining stock will be sold on ebay. I found this out yesterday while looking for a camera strap.


Drew Wiley
15-Sep-2016, 11:01
That's sad news, though that side of the Bay has always been too far away to be practical for me personally. I can see there from my office, but it might as well be the far side of the moon in terms of typical traffic conditions.

15-Sep-2016, 13:37

15-Sep-2016, 14:00
Too bad, I was there last summer for a morning visit; I had a chance to spend some time with Terry Shuchat, who is a gentleman from the old school.

15-Sep-2016, 15:27

a sad day.

18-Sep-2016, 14:23
Here's a story explaining some of why they're closing: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/09/15/palo-altos-keeble--shuchat-photography-to-close-in-october

Currently, they're having a 10% off everything sale, plus no sales tax (so more or less a "20% off what you'd end up paying" sale). Not a lot left as of this afternoon! I searched both stores, and just got some ink for my Epson printer, and another bag of 4x5" negative sleeves. There are plenty of inkjet papers, and there was a resonable amount of traditional paper left too, plus some darkroom chemicals and equipment. For LF, they have just a few used lenses, some lensboards, a Sinar camera, another (Toyo?) camera, and a box of dark slides (no film holders that I could see, but I have too many film holders, so I didn't look too hard). There's still some LF film remaining (B&W and color) in the main store, but I have all I'll need for a while.

I also dropped off a roll of 35mm B&W, probably the last roll I'll ever get processed locally. When I pick it up tomorrow afternoon, I may get some more film.

The bargain hunters have grabbed quite a lot of the digital stuff, but there's still some left.

It's sad to see them go. I'm surprised they stayed open so long, but even owning the building won't make up for running in the red if you have to pay employees a decent Palo Alto wage. It's just too expensive to live here!

Atul Mohidekar
18-Sep-2016, 17:35
That is a sad news. I have bought some film and gear from them, but it was a while ago. I had received very professional service from the people there.

Darin Boville
19-Sep-2016, 03:49
Sad to see them go--I tried to give them some of my business but no luck. Sometimes it was just outright weirdness (salespeople insisting that the reason B&H et al can sell so cheaply is that all of it is mafia stolen goods). Other times prices were too high (bags, accessories). Other times they just didn't stock the paper I used or the ink I needed (after the new Canon printers came out they stopped stocking the ink for the previous generation, it seems).

But generally seemed like nice people, doing their best.


19-Sep-2016, 05:52
Several year ago I had to go to Gryphon, the musical instrument store, to pick up a guitar that I had to have repaired. At the time, I was in the market for a ball head and a tripod so I went to K-S. It was like wandering through a candy shop! The staff helped me find a good combination that met my needs and within my budget. Sad to see them go.

Drew Wiley
19-Sep-2016, 09:39
There's probably a bit more to the story. That much space in Palo Alto is worth a lot and there is probably quite a bit of pressure to force them out, so it can all either be subdivided into boutique shops or outright leveled for redevelopment. There's a "gentrification" plague all over this area. Fortunately, this business where I work is officially protected by industrial zoning, otherwise there wouldn't even be a primary supplier for necessary construction materials and equipment, but nearly everything in sight peripheral to us is being leveled, with uber-expensive condos going up, above horrendously expensive ground-floor retail spaces. Much
of this is sheer speculation and might not pan out for the investors, analogous to the dot-com craze of the 90's and the obscene leases it expected, yet rarely got.

19-Sep-2016, 13:42
Back in the '90's and turn of the century their film prices were at the same price as B&H: Why wait for that truck to make its way across the continent when you could buy it locally and use it the same day? But along came digital and all those wedding photographers switched to digital and the price went up. They maintained a complete darkroom department long after it became unprofitable. If they had developed an online presence, they could have competed with B&H.


Drew Wiley
19-Sep-2016, 15:46
As someone who has a good track record beating the pants off of on-line sources, it's not that simple. You either have to be really big and efficient at doing web
sales, or be warehoused in a state where workers get paid peanuts. The Bay Area is an incredibly bad area to set up online distribution. As you might have noticed, Amazon built their distribution center out in Patterson, where both land and wages are a bargain, and got distinct state incentives to boot. What can be done well in the Bay area involves a substantial enough selection of product to become a magnet over a wide geographical area. Even price is a often secondary consideration, well behind immediate walk-in availability and product knowledge. In certain cases, manufacturers offer us significantly better pricing based on that very fact. Dot coms only work for commonly recognized commodities, and not for the host of related items and accessories where manufacturers really make most of their profit. I'm not dealing with photo goods here, but even the retail camera store down the street has expanded and still maintains healthy film
and darkroom departments. I can hardly believe the other side of the Bay has any less interest in these categories. Probably the size of their operation was just
too big to justify the overhead any longer. A smaller more efficient niche business might do just fine.

19-Sep-2016, 20:20
I'm very sorry to hear this. K&S has been a longtime stopover for me when going through Palo Alto. The first camera I bought there was a used Mamiya C3, shortly after I started work (paycheck!) in 1987, back when used gear was upstairs in the main building. The last thing I bought was some used Hasselblad accessories just last week. They've never had a lot a of large format gear when I've gone in there, though there was more many years ago. I always take time to view the "museum" on the top shelf. I really don't have any sense of financial self-control in that place. :-)

In my neck of the woods, this leaves San Jose Camera, but they really don't do film or used gear much.


Robert Brummitt
23-Sep-2016, 09:38
I'm very sad to hear of the closing. I had been a shopper of K&S since the early 80's. Bought my first RB-67 there, my first LF Arca Swiss there and plenty of film and lenses. As a student of Foothill College's photography Dept, we were always encourage to go there for our supplies. I wonder where students at Foothill will be going now?

I'll have to visit my local camera shop (ProPhoto Supplies) and see if they have plans to close their doors anytime soon?!

I wish the employees well and Thank Terry for being a great supplier of photo equipment.

10-Oct-2016, 09:36
"Thanks for all the memories”


Keeble Shuchat Photography (KSP) and staff

for over 50 years of service to members of the photographic community

Since the mid-September announcement of the imminent closing of this landmark photography store in midtown Palo Alto, photographers at all levels (including novices) throughout the area have expressed their sadness at losing this valuable resource. No other store in the area, and certainly not any of the online stores, can match the personal service and attention to the needs of photographers offered by the owner and knowledgeable staff at KSP.

In recognition of all that KSP has done for them, local photographers under the aegis of the Palo Alto Camera Club have organized a special “Thanks for all the memories” event.

Place: Palo Alto Art Center (Main Auditorium), 1313 Newell Rd, Palo Alto 94303

Date: Mon Nov 14, 2016, from 7:30 to 9 pm (doors open at 7 pm)

Owner Terry Shuchat will say a few words about the history of the store, which he first opened with partner Dick Keeble in the early 1970s. This will be followed by informal comments from a few local photographers, after which those in the audience wishing to speak may do so via an open microphone.

The event is free and open to the general public. No registration or tickets needed but seating is limited so please come early.

For those unable to attend, we welcome written comments that can be read during the event. Please send them to Laurie Naiman at laurie@pacamera.com

Sponsored by the Palo Alto Camera Club and the City of Palo Alto