Canon Experience Center Ready to Host and Serve
By Stan Sholik
Canon still photographers and videographers owe themselves a visit to the new Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa, California. A hybrid of Disneyland and an Apple store (but without sales) for Canon users, the 38,000-square-foot renovated industrial building is part history lesson, part gear showroom, part service facility, part studio, and part Canon Professional Service (CPS) member refuge.
The opening of the facility was celebrated on November 5, with corporate representatives from Canon mingling with media for a ribbon cutting and behind the scenes tour. While there is plenty to entertain enthusiast photographers in the lobby, there is clearly an effort to welcome, inform, and service professional Canon photographers.
The Canon Experience Center is located in Costa Mesa, CA. Photo courtesy of Canon USA
Canon executives were present for the ribbon cutting at the grand opening. (Left to right) Joseph Warren, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Human Resources, Canon U.S.A., Inc.; Eliott Peck, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc.; Seymour Liebman, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Canon U.S.A., Inc.; Yuichi Ishizuka, President and COO, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc.; Toru Nishizawa, President and CEO of Canon Virginia Inc.; Charles Womack, Vice President and General Manager of Customer Support Operations, Canon U.S.A., Inc. ©Stan Sholik
Have you ever wondered what the full line of Canon lenses looks like? Or wanted to look through a 600mm f/4 or 800mm f/5.6 lens mounted on the Canon body of your choice? In the lobby is a display of every lens that Canon currently manufactures, and representatives are there to answer questions and mount lenses on bodies for you.
The center of the lobby is dominated by a display featuring miniature trains running through beautifully designed settings. The display is ringed with cameras and lenses, both still and video that you can hold and operate while taking photographs of the trains.
Photo courtesy of Canon USA
Of course there are large prints displayed around the outer perimeter of the lobby, taken by Canon Explorers of Light and printed on Canon large-format printers, which are also on display in the lobby. There is an alcove with a functioning portrait set, a series of stations for dropping off and picking up repairs, and a lounge for CPS members.
Photo courtesy of Canon USA
This lounge is particularly impressive. Separated from the main lobby, it offers a quiet place for CPS members to meet with clients, edit images, or simply to relax before heading back into Orange County traffic. Members can also pick up loaner equipment here, or handle Canon gear in relative privacy.
As impressive as the front end of the Canon Experience Center is, it occupies less than an eighth of the building. The greater part is occupied by the service center. Seventeen technicians at present, with a goal of building to 36, handle an average of 70 to 100 repair orders per day. Turnaround time for CPS members is under two days, with many of their repairs completed in one day or less. Where estimates are required, turnaround time averages about 4.5 days. Everything from still cameras and lenses to broadcast video lenses are repaired by techs trained by Canon. While we weren’t allowed to photograph in the service area, the darkrooms we were shown where still and video lenses of any focal length are tested and adjusted are very impressive.
An area of the lobby is dedicated to managing service drop-off and pick-up. Photo courtesy of Canon USA
After the tour we were escorted to a presentation in the 35-seat theater where Canon Live Learning, Explorers of Light (EOL), and Canon Professional Services events will be held throughout the year. There we learned that the next day would herald the grand opening of Canon’s new 33,682-square-foot support center in Albuquerque. That facility officially began operations in June 2014, providing support to Canon’s professional photographic, cinema, printing, office solutions, and eCommerce customers. It is also an additional U.S. call center, joining the Chesapeake, Virginia, location to ensure uninterrupted US-based customer service operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Costa Mesa and Albuquerque centers join Canon facilities for both professional and consumer clients located in Jamesburg, New Jersey, Itasca, Illinois, and Newport News, Virginia.
At the end of the day it was clear that Canon is seriously committed to providing the highest quality customer experience possible. Even a dedicated Nikon photographer like me is impressed.
Stan Sholik is a commercial/advertising photographer in Santa Ana, California, specializing in still life and macro photography. His latest book, “Shoot Macro” (Amherst Media), is now available.