B&H Photo Video (also known as B&H Photo and B&H and B&H Foto & Electronics Corporation) is a Jewish American photo and video equipment retailer founded in 1973, based in Manhattan, New York City.[1] B&H conducts business primarily through online e-commerce consumer sales and business to business sales, as they only have one retail location.

B&H Photo & Electronics Corp.
Founded1973; 50 years ago (1973)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
FoundersBlimie Schreiber
Herman Schreiber
HeadquartersManhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
40°45′11″N 73°59′47″W / 40.753124°N 73.996281°W / 40.753124; -73.996281
Number of locations
ProductsCameras, video, film, audio, computers, electronics
WebsiteOfficial website

Ownership and clientele edit

David Brommer, manager of B&H Internal Events
The exterior of the store on West 34th Street

B&H Photo Video targets professional photographers and videographers. It operates a warehouse located in Florence, New Jersey.[1]

The owner of the company, Herman Schreiber, and many of the store's employees are observant Satmar Hasidic Jews. The company’s only brick-and-mortar store located in Manhattan is closed on Shabbat, most Jewish holidays, and Christmas. Although the B&H website is accessible on Shabbat, checkout and processing of online orders are unavailable during that time (from sundown Friday evening till Saturday evening) along with Jewish holidays according to local (New York) time.[2][3]

History edit

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 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.

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.

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.[4]

The store has an extensive conveyor belt system that runs along the ceiling.[5][6]

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.[7] In 2016, Vaio announced that they signed a contract with B&H photo video to offer their products.[8][9]

Philanthropy edit

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.[10][11] For many years, B&H has sponsored NYC Salt, a program that offers intensive photography training to NYC high school students.[12] B&H also sponsors programs and fellowships at BRIC, the largest presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn.[13] B&H has worked with partners including Intel to donate tech equipment to NYC public school classrooms.[14]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, B&H organized "Days of Appreciation" for health care workers at Lenox Hill Hospital and other NYC hospitals.[15]

Controversies edit

Discrimination edit

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] Given B&H's prior alleged discriminatory practices,[16] the lawsuit sought US$19 million in compensatory and punitive damages to deter future discriminatory practices.[19]

In 2011, a lawsuit alleged discrimination against Hispanic workers.[20][21]

In February 2016, the United States Department of Labor Office of Contract Compliance filed a lawsuit against B&H alleging that the company had hired Hispanic men only into entry-level jobs in a Brooklyn warehouse, and then subjected them to harassment and unsanitary conditions.[22] On August 16, 2017, the company announced that it had settled this matter for a reported $3.22 million, while not admitting any wrongdoing.[23]

Tax evasion edit

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.[24] The company's spokesperson has said that "B&H has done nothing wrong and it is outrageous".[24] 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.[25]

In September 2021, the NY Supreme Court ruled in B&H’s favor and dismissed the Attorney General’s suit agreeing with B&H’s position in the matter.[26]

Recognition edit

In 2015, B&H's Google Play app was named the "Best Mobile Shopping App" at the Mobile Shop Conference.[27]

In 2016, Consumer Reports awarded B&H Photo its No. 1 Top Rating for Best Electronics Retailer.[28] In 2018 it named it the leading online consumer electronics retailer.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32] Newsweek again recognized B&H for excellence in Customer Service for 2020.[33]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Goldman, Adam (December 12, 2005). "New York camera shop combines 18th-century Jewish traditions and the hottest digital technology". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on May 16, 2006.
  2. ^ "B&H Photo Video". Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2010. Please note that B&H does not process Web orders from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
  3. ^ "B&H order processing schedule". Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Japanese group pays $210M for 9th Ave. property". Crain's New York Business. December 12, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "Inside B&H conveyor system…". Swiss Miss. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Lâm, Par (June 6, 2011). "BH Photo: Visite de la Mecque des boutiques photo" (in French). Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "B&H Photo's Manhattan superstore opens prestigious Apple-authorized mini-store". AppleInsider. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Vaio Expands Distribution With Ingram Micro On Board". Twice. April 13, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "CORRECTING and REPLACING VAIO Expands Distribution Channels to B&H Photo Video, DataVision and Ingram Micro". BusinessWire. April 13, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "B&H Photo, Canon & Bushwick Film Festival Present Bushwick Stories". The Bushwick Film Festival. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  11. ^ "A celebration of film diversity this weekend in Bushwick". am New York. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  12. ^ "NYC SALT | PARTNERS". www.nycsalt.org. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  13. ^ admini, BRIC (March 9, 2016). "About BRIC". BRIC. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "Chelsea Public School Receives $25K In Donated Laptops". Chelsea, NY Patch. November 18, 2019. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  15. ^ "B&H Electronics Sponsors Day of Appreciation for the Medical Staff of Lenox Hill Hospital". New York County Politics. June 15, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "EEOC and B & H Reach $4.3 Million Settlement in National Origin Discrimination Case". Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. October 16, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
  17. ^ "Gadget Retailer Faces Discrimination Suit". NY1. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on November 22, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  18. ^ "B&H Photo Sued For Talmudic Discrimination Against Women". The Village Voice. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  19. ^ Eligon, John (November 18, 2009). "It Was Some Day in Court For Ampersand". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  20. ^ Del Signore, John (December 14, 2011). "B&H Photo Sued Again For Discriminating Against Employees". Gothamist. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  21. ^ Ross, Barbara (December 14, 2011). "B and H Photo discriminated against us, say 2 Hispanic employees in lawsuit". Daily News. New York. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  22. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (February 26, 2016). "B&H Electronics Store Sued for Discrimination of Hispanic Workers". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "B&H to Pay $3.22M to Settle Lawsuit Filed by the Dept. of Labor". petapixel.com.
  24. ^ a b Lecher, Colin (November 14, 2019). "B&H dodged millions in taxes, New York attorney general alleges". The Verge. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  25. ^ Eustachewich, Lia (November 14, 2019). "B&H failed to pay millions in sales tax: attorney general". New York Post. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  26. ^ Marks, Jeffrey. "B&H Photo Prevails in NY Sales Tax Dispute (via Passle)". Passle. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  27. ^ "B&H Photo Video Wins Best App of the Year at Mobile Shopping Conference". Yahoo. October 19, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  28. ^ "Best electronics retailers". Clark Howard. November 19, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  29. ^ "Top Electronics store Reviews | Best Electronics store – Consumer Reports". www.consumerreports.org. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  30. ^ "B&H Photo Video on the Forbes America's Best Midsize Employers List". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  31. ^ "Top 60 E-Commerce Sites Ranked by UX Performance – Baymard Institute". baymard.com. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  32. ^ "B&H Named Top Company for Customer Service by Newsweek". Fstoppers. November 22, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  33. ^ "America's Best Customer Service 2020". Newsweek.com. January 2020.

External links edit