Shopping >Photo Cullen
I've been going to Photo Cullen for years and although the owner is indeed on the gruff side I have never had a problem with the service I received. My father-in-law has a Rolleiflex camera from the 50s and we take his film there to be developed and the prints have always come out very nicely. I also had them process a bunch of black and white prints for a historic preservation project I was working on awhile back and they too came out fine. I just think of the owner as a "character" - just go with that expectation and be nice and he will give you good service. I always chat a bit with him to warm him up...
Worst Service I've Ever Experienced. Upset and Offended..
Yes, Photo Cullen is one of the last small photo stores in the area--that is exactly why I wanted to take my business there. I wanted so badly to support it, almost to the point where I walked around the shop's isles looking to make excuses about why I should buy something I don't necessarily need. But finally, 36 exposures later, my chance came in the elegant black cylinder I extracted from the back of my camera. It was time to re-visit Photo Cullen, and do my part at keeping a small professional photo store in business.
while the clerk (who i understand is the store's owner and only employee) was taking down my information, I asked what product (CD, Etc.) he recommended I purchase so that I could view a proof sheet and not actually get prints of the photos just yet. This seemed to upset him, and he strongly suggested I purchase prints. I politely told him I don't necessarily want them because they require organization and storage space. The clerk then suggested that "if [I] had any friends, [I] could give [the prints] away," and subsequently, that "if [I] did my job as a photographer, [I] should desire prints." This took me by surprise, but wasn't enough for me to argue or talk back--I just asked for a photo CD. As I was leaving the store, however, I remembered that I had taken a number of double exposures on the roll, and thought it might be a good idea to warn him--just in case. So I went back in, and took the precautionary measure of warning him; after all, these 36 photos exist nowhere else in the world and could never be captured again (surely this is something a professional photo processor can understand). But to my surprise, he told me sternly, "It DOESN'T matter, because you're NOT getting prints! JUST LET IT GO!" That was the last straw. Floored, I asked for my roll of film back, to which he protested, "where are you going to go? There's nowhere else. Where are you going to go?" I told him I'd rather go anywhere else--CVS, even, if he is going to treat customers so poorly.
I only took the time to write this review out because of how upset i was to be treated so poorly by a professional who i looked up to and wanted to support. It's a crying shame, but Photo Cullen can go out of business, for all i care.
Kent may be odd, but he knows Photography.
The Hallanders have had Photo Cullen since 1959. That is 50 years + in the business, and Kent has seen it all. The fact that his store remains as one of the few retail shops in New Jersey should be testament in itself. So he might be odd, but he knows his stuff w.r.t. photography and equipment. For the retail shop these days you have to sell experience because you certainly cannot price compete the B&H's and the Best Buys.
Kent knows his way around the darkroom as well, and is one hell of a restorationist. He took a picture that was in hundreds of pieces, assembled, re-photographed, retouched, and printed a beautiful final product. There are few with these talents.
If you are a bargain hack, go to Best Buy, but if you want to learn something, go see Kent.
BEWARE OF PHOTO CULLEN!!!! HORRIBLE SERVICE!!!. I never take the time to write these reviews but I had to let everyone know about my experience. I have NEVER been treated so horrendously than by Kent Hallander, the owner of Photo Cullen. I really don't know how they stay open because I am not the only person to have the same experience with this store. After my encounter, I heard many many horrible stories about Photo Cullen. I paid $10 for each print for my college portfolio so I expected high quality. The photos he printed for me were the worst quality I have ever seen! I could have gotten better quality and must nicer service at CVS. While I was talking to him he turned his back to me, laughed at me, and told me I was ignorant. What happened to customer service? Or even respect for others? The bill was $400 and fortunately I was able to deny them all. I WILL NEVER GO TO PHOTO CULLEN AGAIN!
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