London Camera Exchange becomes employee-owned company

London Camera Exchange home page
London Camera Exchange is now an employee-owned company. The six-decade-old used and new camera retailer made the change earlier this year, passing ownership to the management team and employees. According to a statement on the website:

The people working in the business have not changed and they are totally committed to retaining those traditional family business values while building on the sturdy foundations that such long experience delivers. The transition occurred without the burden of excessive debt, so the shops continue to carry the breadth and depth of stock that has been key in forging such a successful business.

LCE always has a great range of new and used cameras, lenses and optical equipment like binoculars and telescopes and this has not changed. Part-exchange is always welcome, and LCE will buy unwanted equipment outright at the best possible prices.

Each branch has always had a large degree of autonomy, enabling them to respond to local demand, but now the whole LCE team have an even greater commitment and level of engagement with customers, knowing their actions impact upon their Company’s success and their own future prosperity.

U.K. site ePhotoZine reported the move was originally planned for March 2020 but it was delayed due to the pandemic. An Employee Ownership Trust was set up with trustees consisting of employees who will represent the company’s 140-person workforce.

Outgoing owner Steve Hall commented: “While the business is breaking direct links with the family of its founders, we are essentially moving to the ownership of the broader London Camera Exchange family,” says Steve Hall, outgoing owner, to ePhotoZine. “My father was a great believer in people, and this is something that he would have wanted. I am pleased to be able to pass over the business to its loyal employee family in such great shape.”

“London Camera Exchange has gone about its business in a modest and carefully-managed style over the years,” said Nick Richens, managing director, who oversaw the process”This has allowed it to grow and prosper – most recently in a harsh business environment. It is testament to the people working within the group that it has stood the test of time and has established the strong foundations that will enable this new ownership model.”

Richens will become the chief executive of the new company, with current director Lee Harasyn stepping into his shoes as managing director.

According to ePhotoZine, once non-essential shops are permitted to begin trading again, London Camera Exchange plans to expand its high street portfolio with the opening of a new store in Park Street, Bristol.