How to Build a Business that Survives

When my father, Norman Chernick, opened Camera Corner in 1953, his two man team worked out of an 800 square foot store on the corner of Washington and Walnut Street. By the time I took over as President and CEO in 1984, Dad had moved us to a much larger location and began carrying office equipment from companies like Bell & Howell and Apple Computer. We had over a thousand regular customers and relationships with close to one hundred vendors.

Today, I have the honor of steering a ship that’s 120 people strong and doesn’t just serve Green Bay. We have customers in multiple states! We’ve evolved into more than just a store, we’re a solution center; a company that doesn’t just sell you a computer, we sell the computer, network, servers, storage, phone system, and conference room… and we’ll design it… and we’ll install it… and we’ll pick up the phone if you ever need help with anything.

Since our 60th anniversary announcement, I’ve gotten numerous calls, emails, and letters of congratulations. I’ve had people say, “60 years is such a long time, what’s your secret?” Well, it all comes down to relationships.

We built CCCP on relationships. I love having customers become my friends. In just a few weeks, we’ll be hosting a huge technology expo at the KI Convention Center. Most people would look at an event of this scale as a rather arduous task, but to me it’s fun; because I get to spend the whole day surrounded by the vendors and customers that I’ve come to know and love over the years. Are we going to be talking business? Of course, but we’re going to have a lot of fun, too.

I instill customer service into my team as well. To work for me, you’ve got to care… Genuinely care about the company, and the customer. So I guess, as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What started as a family business, continues to be run as a family business. Not only does my wife Rebecca play a critical role in the company, but so does the rest of our family Ryan, Ben, & Christy.  And every member of my team becomes an extension of our family, working together to ensure that our customers come first today, just as they did 60 years ago.