What makes us different?
We come to work each day to make photography fun. That means being realistic about what we can achieve each day, being professional, checking that our prices are competitive, keeping our stock, displays and equipment up to date and having a good time making our customers happy.
It also means having the same prices for everyone. No 'special' deals, no one-off price-matches, no secret discount codes. And, most of all, no bullying.
We check around 2000 prices every week to make sure that we stay aligned with our competitors and make a little bit of profit to re-invest in the business by buying carefully, working efficiently and cutting out waste as far as possible. Where possible, we work with the UK suppliers to offer Interest Free Credit, add free accessories on selected items and put on classes, events and our annual Spring Shoot in May.
We all live close to our shops and most of us either walk or cycle to work so, hopefully, you won't find us stressed out first thing in the morning.
Castle Cameras - Our History
Castle Cameras was started in 1974 by Brian and Jenny Callow. Racheal Tattum became a partner in May 1999. Jenny dropped out in 2002.
The business was previously 'Callow Chemist', a pharmacy established in 1938 by Mr Ken Callow, Brian's father. A photographic department was added in 1958 but then reduced to one small counter when a sub-post office was introduced ten years later. The post office continued alongside the camera shop until March 2004.
In 1978, following a boom in the sale of cameras and a rapid increase in turnover, a Mail Order department was established and a photographic business purchased in Sturminster Newton, Dorset.
In 1984 a competitor's business in the main Winton shopping area, about a mile from the original shop, was purchased. This is now the main showroom. For many years, the original site specialised in film, materials and processing as well as being used for mail order, repairs and administration. Following the closure of the Post Office, an Agfa digital minilab was installed. This was moved to the main showroom in May 2009, leaving the original site empty while it is developed.
A branch was opened in the centre of Salisbury on August 1, 1987. The Sturminster Newton shop was sold to the manager when the lease expired in the Autumn of 1990.
A freehold shop was purchased in Pokesdown in July 1993 and opened four days later. Brian moved in to run it and oversee the improvements to the building. It traded successfully until 2005 when it was sold for development.
A fifth site was opened from November 1998 to April 2009 in Ashley Road, Poole.
What is the present situation?
The consolidation has enabled us to concentrate our efforts successfully at our two main sites.
Our sales more than doubled in the five years up to 2014 and hit record levels without any increase in staff until the dramatic increase in demand following Jessops' closure in 2013.
That forced us to both update our systems and recruit more good people to keep up with demand. Since April 2013, our in-store sales have run from the same database as our website so that wherever, and however, you buy from Castle Cameras your are assured of the same good deals. It also allows us to re-stock efficiently and relay that information on the web-site.
In 2014, we took over the shop adjacent to our main showroom in Bournemouth. We now have a much better display area for our bags and tripods, space for our Kodak APEX instant print equipment, a studio for our classes and events and even space for an office with a window. We are currently making slow progress in renovating the rear area while keeping up with a further steady increase in sales. In the not too distant future we may be able to put on events in our own back yard, so to speak.
Our addresses are:
329 Wimborne Road, Winton. BH9 2AD 01202 510888 / 526606
11 Endless Street, Salisbury. SP1 1DL 01722 339909
The on-line business is run from 329 Wimborne Road. The office functions are spread around the building, although Racheal is just as likely to be found at Salisbury.