Rick Chernick, CEO, Camera Corner Connecting Point12:00 PM EST Fri. Nov. 21, 2008
Chernick is the quintessential small business solution provider CEO dominating his local market by the force of his personality and the quality of his company's services. Chernick's business savvy has caught the eye of his major vendor partners including Hewlett-Packard where he sits on the vendor's SMB national advisory council. And he has met more than once with HP Chairman and CEO Mark Hurd.
There's a reason vendors seek Chernick's counsel. He has fashioned a tiny camera store opened by his Dad 55 years ago into a $38 million business that sells and services technology for every segment of the market, from hard-to-get consumer electronics to sophisticated enterprise solutions. That's no small matter in an age where technology dominates home, business and entertainment lifestyles and hardly any solution providers break out beyond a few technology specializations or markets.
Camera Corner Connecting Point's all things digital blanket gives the company, located in the heart of Green Bay, Wisc. (population: 100,000), the home of the community-owned Green Bay Packers, a technology market penetration per capita that may be unmatched in the country.
Chernick says it is simply his desire to make sure he can meet all the needs of his customers that has him providing everything from iPods, Sony TVs and home theatre systems to high powered data center solutions powered by products from the likes of HP and Cisco hardware and VMware. Camera Corner is one of only 300 HP Gold resellers in the U.S. and is one of HP's largest education resellers in Wisconsin and an HP Public Sector Elite Partner. In the Fortune 1000 market, the company's multi-talented team of 21 network engineers and four network consultants provide data center hosting services and business continuity protection services. All this while the company's retail showroom at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets sports a Digital Photo Cafe, allowing consumers to edit and print digital photos with the help of Camera Corner staff.
"The fact that photo and video have gone digital positions us well," says Chernick. "Computers, photo and video are all coming together and we have experts for all of it."
Chernick says the retail business may be a small slice of the business but it's important to him and his team. "We have retail fine-tuned," he says. "We can make money. We are (price) competitive and have service. We know who our customers are and we take very good care of them. They've been coming in here for years. And I don't want my CEO friends or business customers going to Best Buy to buy a home computer, cameras, printers or a TV set for the living room. Why should they? I want them to buy it here!"
Chernick says his end-to-end digital model may not be for every solution provider but it works in Green Bay. "You have to know your market and play off it," he says. "We do that pretty well."
Chernick's passion to build a long-lasting personal relationship with every sale backed up by unparalleled customer service and commitment pays off in loyalty and friendship that goes beyond business. "We want a relationship," says Chernick, a member of the Packers board of directors who often hosts clients at Packers home games."We want to know everything about a customer." That has won Chernick and his team of 100 employees raves from customers.
Bruce Carew, principal of the Greenville Middle School, Greenville, Wisc., who has been a CCCP customer for 20 years, is one of those loyal customers. He says Camera Corner/Conecting Point (CCCP) letters stand for: "C " Customer First, C- Cutting Edge, C-Chernick " After my 20 years of experience, you know what the Chernick name stands for, and P " Pleasure to Work With." That may be the ultimate compliment for the ultimate digital age solution provider.