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Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Headquarters||Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Products||Cameras, video, film, audio, computers, electronics|
B&H Photo Video (also known as B&H Photo and B&H and B&H Foto & Electronics Corporation) is an American photo and video equipment retailer founded in 1973, based in Manhattan, New York City. B&H conducts business through online e-commerce consumer sales, business to business sales, and its one retail location. Customers engage with B&H via its websites, retail store, phone sales and customer service, email, and chat channels.
B&H stands for Blimie & Herman, the founders of the store.
Ownership and clientele
B&H Photo Video targets professional photographers and videographers. Although it is visited by more than 5,000 customers every day from Sunday to Friday, most of the company's business comes from the Internet and corporate sales. It operates a warehouse located in Florence, New Jersey. The company carries a wide range of consumer electronics products, with an emphasis on professional and specialty photographic equipment.
The business owner, Herman Schreiber, and many of the store's employees are observant Satmar Hasidic Jews. The store is closed on Shabbat, most Jewish holidays (except for Hanukkah, when business dealings are permitted), and Christmas. Although the web site remains open, e-commerce orders are not taken or shipped between Friday evening and Saturday evening, and on Jewish holidays.
B&H opened in 1973 as a storefront film shop at 17 Warren Street in Tribeca, and took its name from the initials of owners Blimie Schreiber and her husband, Herman. Later in the 1970s, B&H moved to a large loft at 119 West 17th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in the Photo District and began to expand its stock to a wider range of film and photography products. In 1997, the store moved to its present location. In addition to photo and video equipment, the company offers computers, lighting, audio equipment, TV's, mobile phones, drones, lenses, and more. It now has more than 2,000 employees.
B&H is located just south of Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, at 420 Ninth Avenue at the intersection with West 34th Street. In 2007, B&H opened a second floor above its original sales floor making a total of 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2) of sales space. The first floor sells professional lighting, binoculars, scopes, video equipment, audio equipment, darkroom equipment, film, and both home and portable entertainment; the second floor focuses on film and digital photography, computers, printers, tripods, scanners and related accessories.
Also in 2007, B&H moved its offices to 440 9th Avenue in Manhattan. As the company has grown, it expanded its office presence to accommodate sales, customer service, buying, marketing, and various back office functions; these functions are housed in 150,000 square feet of office space.
In 2015, B&H added an Apple authorized shop to the computer department with an assortment of Apple products. There is an Apple employee in shop to assist and consult. In 2016, Vaio announced that they signed a contract with B&H photo video to offer their products.
B&H and its employees have been active supporters of organizations dedicated to bringing photography and videography to broader audiences. In 2018, B&H sponsored Bushwick Stories, a documentary workshop for young storytellers created by the Bushwick Film Festival. For many years, B&H has sponsored NYC Salt, a program that offers intensive photography training to NYC high school students. B&H also sponsors programs and fellowships at BRIC, the largest presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn. B&H has worked with partners including Intel to donate tech equipment to NYC public school classrooms.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, B&H organized 'Days of Appreciation' for healthcare workers at Lenox Hill Hospital and other NYC hospitals.
In October 2007, it was announced that B&H Photo agreed to pay US$4.3 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against Hispanic workers, while not admitting any wrongdoing.
In November 2009, a lawsuit against B&H Photo alleged that the store refused to hire women, in violation of New York City and New York State Human Rights Laws. The lawsuit, brought by four women, sought class action status on behalf of all women discriminated against by B&H over the course of many years. Given B&H's prior alleged discriminatory practices, the lawsuit sought US$19 million in compensatory and punitive damages to deter future discriminatory practices.
In February 2016, the United States Department of Labor Office of Contract Compliance filed a lawsuit against B&H alleging that the company had only hired Hispanic men into entry-level jobs in a Brooklyn warehouse, and then subjected them to harassment and unsanitary conditions. On August 16, 2017, the company announced that it had settled this matter for a reported $3.22 million, while not admitting any wrongdoing.
In November 2019, According to The Verge, the Attorney General of New York state filed a lawsuit alleging that B&H knowingly failed to pay millions of dollars in sales taxes due in New York. The company's spokesperson has said that "B&H has done nothing wrong and it is outrageous". According to B&H, the Attorney General is alleging that customers should pay sales tax on pre-discounted prices, not on the actual selling price, which is the widespread industry practice.
In May 2018, B&H was named by Forbes Magazine as one of America's Best Midsize Employers for 2018. The Forbes recognition was based on independent employee surveys conducted by Forbes.
Also in 2018, B&H's consumer website was recognized as the Best for User Experience of any e-commerce company by the Baymard Institute.
Newsweek named B&H as one of America's Top Companies for Customer Service in 2019, with top position in the consumer electronics category based on over 130,000 customer evaluations. Newsweek again recognized B&H for excellence in Customer Service for 2020.
Ratings and reviews
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to B&H Photo.|
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Please note that B&H does not process Web orders from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
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- "B&H Named Top Company for Customer Service by Newsweek". Fstoppers. November 22, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "America's Best Customer Service 2020". Newsweek.com. January 2020.