View Full Version : Freestyle Sales Co has gone UpTown
Since my bride's family is all in So. Cal. we usually wind up there at Christmas. Such was the case this year, and so while the ladies went galoping off to the post Christmas sales I made my yearly pilgrimmage to Freestyle Sales Co. in good old E. Hollywood. Sha-Zaaam! It's all fixed up like Yuppy Heaven. No more floor to ceiling racks with dusty old stock and mark-down prices. They were out of stock on the 3005 JOBO I went in looking for and I was about to exit when I noticed that they now have a gallery area where there is some truly excellent work on display. Worth a stop just to see the beautiful photography even if you don't buy something. The work is from their ADVISORY BOARD OF PHOTOGRAPHIC PROFESSIONALS Henry Gilpin, Huntington Witherill, Rod Dresser are but a few of the names I am able to rememeber.
"Freestyle Sales Co has gone UpTown"
so has their service and prices... I've given up ordering from them since their shipping and handling costs came to more than the film I ordered....
Yuppiness doesn't come cheaply. I must admit I'm very pleased with the ASA 125 5X7 and 7X11 I've gotten from Photo Warehouse.
So has anybody tried the new EDU film from Freesytle? Who makes it?
It is unfair to accuse Freestyle of excessive shipping charges. Shipping charges (unless way out of line with those of similar sized businesses) are largely a matter of how much of a discount the retailer can wangle from the major package shippers. Massive volume shippers like B&H and Amazon have much more negotiating power in this regard. In my opinion, Freestyle is doing a great service to the photo community in expanding choices for large format and darkroom users, as are Photo Warehouse and J&C Photography. In contrast, the largest photo retailers are totally passive regarding the large format and darkroom market. I have heard from a reliable source that Arista EDU film and paper is re-packaged Forte. Photo Warehouse film is reportedly rebadged Ilford, as is regular Freestyle Arista.
Freestyle has some great deals. I'm sure that it will be thanks to them that I finally do some mural-size prints. And it's thanks to their prices that I'm lucky enough to be able to shoot color in 8x10.
I also heard from a good source that the new .edu films and papers are from Forte.
Trying to remember but I think the last time I was in there was either 2 or 3 years ago and they were all fancied up then. The place looked more like a 'photographic Staples' than what it used to look like. Seems they still had many of the great deals on out-of-date film but gone was all the truly funky used and bizarre equipment.
I will try an add more to your memory banks Jill Enfield, Elizabeth Opalenik, Dick Garrod, oh and the 4 pt/pd on the side are mine. Yes Freestyle has done a lot of changing. But we are not done yet. A number of things are on the boards. As for film and paper the edu. product, yes it does come from eastern europe and we have found it to be a good value for the dollar. We hope that it will help keep the cost down for some of the school programs. Freestyle has made a commitment to photography and we will do what ever we can to keep materials coming. I am proud to be part of this program. If any of you feel a need for some thing, or have an issue then e-mail us or me. We will see what we can do about it. Oh, Jim I hope you got your tank.
Jan Pietrzak Freestyle Board
As long as the service is there, the products are there at a "reasonable" price and they respond to customer concerns I don't have a problem with paying a bit more for it. People are so ingrained in the "WalMart" mentality these days it seems they are not willing to pay for the extras. It appears many want everything for a rock bottom price, therefore low margin for the seller, but then in the same breath they want customer support too. Ya just can't have it both ways.
Well, I guess I didn't get the customer support either...
On an order of multiple boxes of sheet film the shipping and handling had increased around 400 to 500% over previous orders. When I queried it, I was told that was what UPS was charging them (no doubt true).
However, I pointed to out Freestyle that in the past I had always requested and they had always sent the film by a much more economical shipping method and this had always worked just fine (i.e. USPS).
Response - oh no - we will only ship UPS now and that's what they charge.
That certainly isn't customer service as far as I'm concerned. It's how you lose a customer.
AT the end of this past September (the 29th) I ordered a box of 50 sheets of 8x10. Total S&H was $21.24 for FedEx 2nd Day Air from Hollywood to Passaic, NJ.
I don't know if they've changed their policy so much in the last few months, but I was very happy with their service. They even made sure to get me a newer box of film. In a few weeks I intend to order some more film from them, and maybe some of their new inexpensive B&W to try. We'll see how it goes.
I know when I ordered from Freestyle I had no problem getting them to not use UPS. I just phoned up and asked them not to. Being in Canada Freestyle's shipping seems the cheapest of any of the US firms.
"I know when I ordered from Freestyle I had no problem getting them to not use UPS. I just phoned up and asked them not to. Being in Canada Freestyle's shipping seems the cheapest of any of the US firms."
Nick - it was just the opposite for me (also being in Canada) - they said they will no longer ship USPS to (certain regions of) Canada and so the Fedex shipping for, if I recall, 200 sheets of 8x10 came to around $95.00....
quote: "Unfortunately, as of 6 months ago, your area of Canada was re-classified as being international shipping only areas. As we are no longer offering Postal Service for International orders, our international shipping service is exclusively FedEx International".
As far as I am concerned, if a business won't ship via an alternative mainstream method (ie USPS) that is convenient to me, but only via a courier who, in this case charges around 3-4 x as much (plus a hefty customs brokerage fees, which the Postal Service avoids), that isn't customer service.
It may be convenient for them, I'm sure. But that isn't good service, and such a company doesn't get my business anymore.
Guess I'm going to have to call before ordering then. I was going to order some of the new film but if the choice is between UPS and not ordering not ordering is likely going to win.
I think it depends what part of Canada... for some reason they consider some of Canada to be a part of the US and other parts of it international.... even though the USPS charges the same to ship anywhere in Canada - something they didn't seem able to grasp.
Nick and Tim,
It's about 1:00pm LA CA time, and I just got off the phone with Freestyle. At this point the shipping issue is a big point. Given what is going on, shipping rates and ship to places are changing all the time. (Talk to George and the boys) I hope to have some kind of answere for you next week or so. If not e-mail me at Freestyle.
As to new product, the edu. materials will be ready to ship in the next week or two. Something to due with bomb sniffing dogs or something. Freestyle will have more information after the first of the year (like next week).
I stopped by the shop today. I had been there since the remodel, but had not seen the photos on exhibit (they are through a door and on the walls in the hallway and conference rooms). The photography on exhibit is first rate. Another nice touch is the display of a photograph printed on each of the papers sold in the store. The store has changed a lot. No more rental department, no more used equipment (I don't think) and a much more limited range of cameras for sale. On the other hand, the Arista films and papers are top notch. Exactly what you would get from the actual manufacturer, at a lower price. The store is committed to traditional darkroom materials, and has a lot of them in stock. They have been pretty responsive to suggestions or inquiries: I guess that a number of us asked for Diafine, a product that the store did not carry. Since they did carry Acufine, it was a simple matter for them to obtain Diafine, and they did. It is now stocked on the shelf in the store. No store is perfect, and there was a time when I really wondered what direction they were headed in, but now I feel comfortable that there is a store in my backyard that will have the traditional materials I need and want easy access to for as long as they are available.
Cool! Freestyle has always been a favorite of mine---I can't wait 'til my annual pilgrimage to the 'Big Smoke'(LA) in February to check it out.
I've been going to Freestyle for years, and hope that Jan addresses the shipping issues, and if Jan if you are reading this, you have two of the sweetest ladies on the planet working there, Valaria and her buddy(the quiet slender lady with a smile a mile wide/please don't tell her I can't think of her name), many times they've guided me through the store with quick and prompt assistance along with a warm smile, don't let these folks get away, they are your best employees along with having been there for quite some time.
I've gone to Freestyle quite a bit for Arista which I'm now sold on, they seem to be in flux with the remodel, but they have some good folks working there, correct me if I'm wrong but I think there are different folks on the telephones, maybe Tim got somebody on a 'bad hair' day.
Shipping gets to be like a toothache sometimes, and since Freestyle is reading this thread hopefully they can rethink their set-up.
Just another voice from Australia. I have not ordered film from Freestyle because the shipping fees were way too dear. I would order if USPS were an option.
While I like the new upgrades I miss the old Freestyle. I bridle at the "Walmartization" of american business. Looks a lot like Calumet to me. I'm not complaining because the merchandise and service are excellent as always. But I miss the old Freestyle and the dust and the hidden treasures you could find in the stacks if you looked. I love my thrice a year sojourns to Valhalla.
Remember that the USPS started xraying & irradiating mail at some locations. I'd be very hesitant to send film or paper by any other means than UPS or FedEx.
I seem to recall that Fedex and UPS also XRay shipments - though they won't tell you which and where, for security reasons
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