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Volume 4, Number 6, August 2006
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The Channel: B&H Photo-Video Inc.
By Sierra Dunton

Here at Universal Audio, we take a great deal of pride in our commitment to quality and the pursuit of excellence in customer service. As most of our products are sold through an exclusive channel of dealers across the globe, we rely heavily on those audio professionals to deliver the same standard of quality and service, and we consider ourselves fortunate to be so well represented in the field. One such dealer that brings its own outstanding professional reputation to the UA name is B&H Photo-Video, located in the heart of New York City. Joining us in this month's edition of "The Channel" is Ray Nostrand, the Pro Audio Sales Manager for B&H.

B&H in the heart of NYC
Who is B&H Photo-Video Inc.? Can you tell us a bit about your history?
B&H had humble beginnings; it first opened the door to its one-room showroom on 17th street in New York City some 30-plus years ago, when it was selling primarily film. Now, B&H is recognized as an industry leader in professional digital and film photography, video production and lighting, pro audio, home theater, portable entertainment and more.

Our vast selection of available brand-name gear, high-quality service and competitive pricing have earned us our reputation as "The Professional's Source."

Where is your company based?
B&H is based in the heart of New York City in our 35,000-square-foot "Superstore." We also have a state-of-the-industry four-story 170,000-square-foot shipping facility located in the Brooklyn Navy yard.

I have heard that you have an incredible amount of walk-in traffic. Do you have any idea how many people visit your store each year?
We're really fortunate that so many people consider the B&H Superstore a must-see part of any trip to New York City. We have thousands of visitors daily from every corner of the globe, and they range from full-time pros to true novices buying their very first piece of equipment.

B&H is known worldwide for photographic and video equipment. How did you decide to focus on pro audio as well?
The decision was at least partially customer driven. Still photographers brought their video friends to us and those video shooters made us aware that there's audio in video. Our initial foray into audio-for-video soon expanded to the robust pro audio department we have now.

What does B&H bring to the professional audio industry, and what makes your company unique among pro audio dealers today?
B&H pro audio is unique in that we are positioned to provide real-world solutions for the specific needs of today's converging pro media markets (audio, video and nonlinear editing). We provide a comprehensive website, highly informative source books, catalogs and one of the broadest selections of gear available. In addition, our sales staff of highly skilled audio engineers are well versed in virtual every aspect of recording, desktop audio, live sound/PA, broadcast/ENG/EFP and DV production.

You seem to offer an extensive selection of your goods online. How has the online store affected your business?
Our website has allowed us to more effectively and efficiently reach a much wider clientele than every before. Now, we can serve customers across the globe as easily as customers across the street.

How long has B&H been working with Universal Audio?
Six years. We started back in 2000 with Kind Of Loud products, then at the beginning of 2004 it was the UAD cards, and at the end of 2004 we started carrying the hardware line.

Why is Universal Audio important to your business? What types of people are buying UA gear?
UA's versatility offers B&H the opportunity to offer our clientele some of the finest-sounding analog, digital and computer-based gear the pro audio industry has to offer. Our UA customers are those who recognize the value of UA products and are willing to make an investment to heighten the quality of their own production.

Is it easy to sell UA products? Is it a challenge? Why?
Simply put, UA products are easy to sell, since they sound great and offer something for everyone. Whether the customer has an analog, digital or desktop studio, UA has a product to improve, integrate, or enhance their workflow.

Do you see much crossover in terms of video customers looking to get into pro audio gear, or vice versa?
We certainly do. As I mentioned earlier, our video customers initiated our entry into the pro audio market. It is our "pro audio approach" to video-related sound problems that has defined and distinguished B&H pro audio.

What do you envision, or what would you like to see happen, for B&H in the next five years?
We are eagerly looking forward to the expansion of our current 35,000-square-foot retail store to a new two-story super showroom, which will feature many highly interactive displays and demo rooms. This expansion will allow our pro audio division to explore and develop new markets and technologies, including HD broadcast audio production, sample content and installation (contractor) sound, while continuing to provide the same high-quality service for which B&H is renowned.

Do you have any final words, thoughts, or advice to leave our readers?
All the things I mentioned earlier-competitive prices, a huge range of products, a great staff-are built on the foundation of our owner's belief that we're here for the long run, not to "hit-and-run." We know where our success comes from. It comes from satisfied customers telling other people who become satisfied customers. Their good opinion of us and their positive word-of-mouth are more valuable than anything else, and our goal above all else is to retain and build upon that reputation.

B&H Photo-Video Inc.
420 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10001
800-606-6969 or 212-444-6615

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