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Are you dedicated to a Astronomy store?

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#26 zenman0

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 08:03 PM

It is easy to discern the better vendors like Astronomics, Anacortes, OPT, Agena -- they give great service and are worth a bit of extra cost because of it, in my view.

#27 DonMendoza

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 08:14 PM

I started out with Orion. Now I usually buy from Astronomics. It's hard to beat their friendly service and a discount for being her.
That being said, I can count my purchases on my two hands with a few fingers extra.

#28 Stargazer3236

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 08:56 PM

I usually buy my telescopes and mounts from OPT and High Point Scientific. I bought my C11 and my CG5-ASGT from OPT. I am going to buy the 8" LX90 from High Point Scientific. I typically buy my eyepieces from Agena Astro. Any adapters that I need, I buy from Scopestuff. Electronics, I buy from Orion, like the Starseek WiFi module. Finder scopes I usually buy from Orion. I did buy my Explore Scientific eyepieces from Hayneedle when they had free shipping and $99 sale for the Comet ISON hype.

I like free shipping on items, especially expensive telescopes and accessories. Orion's $5 shipping is great too. I don't like those dealers that charge $8-12 just for a small part. Free shipping is the way to go.

#29 frolinmod

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 09:55 PM

I spend better than 99% of my money there.

That's what I call a dedicated amateur astronomer!

#30 Bill Cowles

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:44 PM

Agena is hard too beat and no one ships as fast!

Bill

#31 Dennis_S253

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 07:57 PM

Well they told me they could not price match on this product. I understand completely. I'm still thinking Agena. In no hurry yet, But I'm sure when I order it will be here asap.

#32 karstenkoch

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 06:08 PM

Buying astro products, I've never had a faster shipping experience or a better customer relations experience than with Agena. $10? I would just go with them because you know exactly what you're going to get.

#33 Dennis_S253

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

I think Agena is great. I received a PM from someone who has one that they no longer use though. I may just go used on this at the right price.

#34 B. Hebert

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 11:00 PM

I feel guilty in not using Astronomics, as I greatly appreciate their support of Cloudy Nights.

I have loved the support I got from Orion as well as their products. Adequate quality, but good prices and great service.

I have tried to support OPT for other purchases. They are very helpful.

BH

#35 sdakotaastro

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 01:12 AM

HECK NO!!

That's only because the closest Astro stare is more than 5,000km away.. and when I am home, it's still several hundred km to a brick and mortor.. and then I have to pay taxes if I buy in store.. yuk..

#36 Pcolon1

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:23 AM

I've purchased everything that I didn't buy used from OPT Corp. that says a lot for me, since I am all the way on the east coast, and in the same city as adorama and b&h. I like the fact that OPT always has someone on staff that can answer my questions over the phone and has almost everything I want in stock. That's a huge plus for me.

#37 gnowellsct

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:33 PM

Once you get out of buying complete systems you end up "buying all over" in my opinion

C14 OTA -- Company Seven
G11 - the defunct Pocono
G11 - parts Losmandy
Vixen ED 102 SS: Astromart
Focuser for Vixen: Moonlite
Mirror for ten inch rebuild: OMI via Astromart
Focuser: Moonlite
GT130: Astro-physics
Visual backs and other accessories such as dielectrics: Astro-Physics
Saddle plates and weights: Casady (sob!)
Argo Navis: direct from Argo Navis (when company was new)
Eyepieces: Alpine, Astronomics, Astromart, Anacortes
Various things: Highpoint Scientific

When I set up my Newt I'm using a Losmand HD tripod with an adapter carrying an old AP900QMD and a customized Newt so you can see that having rigs like that tend to send one all over the astronomy parts map.

If you're buying complete systems it may be more logical to work with one vendor.

I bought what may well be THE LAST LOSMANDY FINDER BRACKET FOR SALE ON EARTH a few days ago from Anacortes, after calling OPT (another good vendor) and Scope City (discovering the latter is apparently out of business), and even Losmandy.

I'm finding that much of this is not so much price-hunting as trying to get stuff efficiently.

Greg N

#38 cjameswalk

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 02:56 PM

Astronomics for me but of course it helps that I can drive there in 30 minutes.


Lucky!!!! :grin:

#39 gnowellsct

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 12:04 AM

I've been to three brick and mortar astronomy stores, scope city in S.F. (now defunct); Orion in SF (they shut that one down); and La Maison de l'Astronomie in Montreal, which I really like, they have *some* stuff for the avid hobbyist.

I really like Brick and Mortar astronomy stores. I love the feel of being around telescopes. Nonetheless, where I'm at...most of these places are surviving by selling higher volume Meade, Celestron, and other products like Orion XT dobs.

They *have* to do that. You typically *don't* see Losmandy or Astrophysics or Paramount etc.

For that kind of stuff you have to go to NEAF or equivalent events in other parts of the country.

At astronomy shows you have both high low and middle ends represented, as a rule.

Anyhow my visits to astronomy stores have underscored to me that I mainly mix and match gear from a variety of sources and that my approach to the hobby only occasionally sends me to a shop, whether big or small. But I do get a kick out of going somewhere where they have two or three dozen scopes on the floor.

GN

#40 ur7x

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 08:49 AM

Well they told me they could not price match on this product. I understand completely. I'm still thinking Agena. In no hurry yet, But I'm sure when I order it will be here asap.


The harsh truth is that any store that does not price match is clearly not dedicated to you.

There are lots of factors that make up outstanding customer service, competitive pricing should be near the top of everyone's "Customer Service score card"

I think the OP's question is backwards. None of us should be dedicated to an Astronomy store. A better question is. Do you feel that your Astronomy store is dedicated to you?.

#41 Paul G

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 03:41 PM

Well they told me they could not price match on this product. I understand completely. I'm still thinking Agena. In no hurry yet, But I'm sure when I order it will be here asap.


The harsh truth is that any store that does not price match is clearly not dedicated to you.

There are lots of factors that make up outstanding customer service, competitive pricing should be near the top of everyone's "Customer Service score card"

I think the OP's question is backwards. None of us should be dedicated to an Astronomy store. A better question is. Do you feel that your Astronomy store is dedicated to you?.


A brick and mortar store with a showroom has an entirely different business overhead. It is not realistic to expect them to be able to price match some of the internet only stores. Some of those not only don't have to support a showroom, they don't even carry stock. They accumulate orders for a product until they have enough for them to get a volume discount from the manufacturer, then put the order through. In some cases the product is shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer so the store doesn't even see or touch the box. A friend used to own a camera store here in town and he couldn't price match the online stores or Costco. He showed me his purchase invoice from Canon and he paid more to Canon for it than Adorama sold it for. No way could he price match.

I always use Company 7 because of their superb before and after the sale customer service. If it is a product they don't carry I use Astronomics.

#42 Chilihead

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:36 PM

I will always attempt to spend my money locally when possible. It would take a 20% or more difference in price to make me buy online, and that doesn't happen too often in our hobby.

I prefer to yell at a face rather than a phone or monitor when something goes wrong (which is rare).

I DO NOT expect my local shops to price match. I just expect them to be fair.

A friend of mine owns the nearest shop I patronize, and the other is Astronomics which is about 30 minutes away. I count myself lucky.

#43 drollere

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 07:24 PM

to the OP -- should you be loyal to a store? -- the obvious answer is no, unless (1) it's worth money to you, or (2) it's worth convenience to you (including inventory), or (3) it's worth the relationship to you.

if you're doing it for their benefit, then we just have different approaches to retail commerce.

now, (3) only seems relevant if you get good information or advice for free. and it think it matters most when you're still learning and building your astronomy armamentarium. (1) and (2) have a lot to do with how the business is set up. once you get into the equipment weeds then "loyalty" is counterproductive. there's just too much special niggly arcane stuff sold by small, independent, specialty or custom manufacturers and vendors -- brandon, RKEs anyone?

and the list is huge: http://www.handprint...RO/vendors.html

#44 ur7x

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 10:16 PM

A brick and mortar store with a showroom has an entirely different business overhead. It is not realistic to expect them to be able to price match some of the internet only stores. Some of those not only don't have to support a showroom, they don't even carry stock. They accumulate orders for a product until they have enough for them to get a volume discount from the manufacturer, then put the order through. In some cases the product is shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer so the store doesn't even see or touch the box. A friend used to own a camera store here in town and he couldn't price match the online stores or Costco. He showed me his purchase invoice from Canon and he paid more to Canon for it than Adorama sold it for. No way could he price match.

I always use Company 7 because of their superb before and after the sale customer service. If it is a product they don't carry I use Astronomics.


I'm more than intimately aware of the various business models out there and the pros and cons with each.

Brick and mortar stores can save on half of the shipping costs since most times you pick up the unit from them. There is also no reason why a B&M store can't take orders and drop ship to your house either. Brick and Mortar stores can also save on return expenses since they can have a better discussion about the customers needs prior to the sale.

Of course the best stores sell in both models. The best online stores started with and maintain brick and mortar operations. All of the stores in your list have B&M locations as well as online sales.

The reality is we live in a free enterprise world and while customer service doesn't end with price, for me (and most people) it sure starts there. I feel for the ma and pa stores that can't compete with Costco, or Wally-world or other large box store. Of course the Canon camera that they all sell are exactly the same, why wouldn't you save your money. If they can't compete they need to fix their business model. That is the painful truth of a free enterprise system.

BTW I bought both of my mounts and my OTA at a Brick and Mortar store (that also has an online store), they were more than happy to match (on my mount the even beat) the best online price I could find. THAT is customer service.

When my neighbor's wife wanted a recommendation on a Christmas gift scope and a store for her husband the recommendation was easy to make.

They sold her a 80mm Refractor on a Alt/Az mount. Complete with a no questions ask return/exchange policy, the scope wasn't what the husband wanted and was returned and replaced (upgraded) with a 8" Meade LS. That system was DOA, and the vendor worked with Meade to have the scope fixed... When Meade was unable to do so, that scope was exchanged (upgraded) for a 9.25HD on a AVX combo that they custom put together offering similar discounts as the 9.25XLT/AVX combo that Celestron offers.

My neighbor was so impressed that he bought a Starsense kit (against my recommendation) several very high end Televue eyepieces (that I borrow from time to time) and a crazy expensive pair of German Binoculars (that I'm afraid to touch)

When a employee of mine was looking for a largish refractor to watch whales from his ocean front cabin. I sent him to the same store. All happy customers, all great deals.

Vendors that offer the best prices tend to get rewarded with the most customers, that is simple economics.

Or the short answer, the more money you save, the more money you have.

#45 SDTopensied

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 06:37 PM

I'm partial to CameraBug in Atlanta.  Tim's customer service is top notch and he deals in both new and used equipment.  He also gives a great astronomy club discount.

 

www.camerabug.com



#46 gnowellsct

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

 


I always use Company 7 because of their superb before and after the sale customer service. If it is a product they don't carry I use Astronomics.

 

 

I agree with you about C7 I bought my c14 there and would likely do it a 2nd time.  Although, I got some bad advice.  For example I was told that the reason my C14 did not hold collimation on one side of the mount was because there were just certain things you couldn't expect at such a low priced unit.   I fixed that problem myself (tightening the lock nut).  

 

They did however make good on an OTA they shipped to me that got destroyed in transit.

 

But they lost a lot of my potential business because of their refusal to carry Pentax eyepieces.  It seemed to me that carrying these is a no-brainer for a shop that pitches itself to the avid enthusiasts.

 

GN



#47 tmwhite

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:11 PM

jmi has been very good for my push to ultima 9.25 encorder replacements scope stuff for dslr adapters and astronomics for my 2 scopes 9.25" ultima 1997 circa and a avx with a c6r :)



#48 DocFinance

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:29 AM

I keep going back to HandsOnOptics when they have something on the Used list, but I've bought from Astronomics and Land, Sea and Sky also.  



#49 dawziecat

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:58 AM

I have had excellent service from several US-based vendors . . . and, sad to say, an atrocious lack of same from three Canadian firms, two of them very well-known. No point going into gory details here. Once you get past the usual SCT packages, they seem to actually carry very little. Be prepared for high prices and long wait times as they order stuff for you . . . that is IF they will order stuff. I've had a Canadian  Astronomik dealer REFUSE to order an Astronomik filter for me. :( I got it from OPT instead.

 

Suffice to say my dollars leave the country now. With the sole exception of Kendrick (excellent business!), I don't even check Canadian dealers any longer. :mad:  I have to say that Mallincam offer some very attractive pricing on some of the items they carry, although I have yet to do business with them. They sell more than just the Mallincams! Americans would be well advised to check them out, as well as Canadians.



#50 ylem

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:45 PM

I'm partial to CameraBug in Atlanta.  Tim's customer service is top notch and he deals in both new and used equipment.  He also gives a great astronomy club discount.

 

www.camerabug.com

I was visiting in Atlanta and stopped in there, keep in mind a had some money to burn, I wanted to buy an achro or maybe an affordable ed, well he took the time to get to know me and what types of scopes I currently own, I'm a mirror and sct guy.

He was out of the at72, isn't everybody? ? So I settled on an ST80,  well Tim would NOT take my money becuase he felt my eyes would be to sensitive to CA. 

A year latter a bought one from Orion and guess what? Tim was right I'm going to sell it and buy a small newt. 

That's good service.


Edited by ylem, 16 August 2014 - 05:48 PM.







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