WASHINGTON -- Fancy camera enthusiasts: Your mothership is calling.
D.C.'s new Leica store -- the first Leica store in North America -- has its grand opening on Wednesday and Thursday, with a lineup of workshops, parties and other events designed to work up a frenzy for the high-end, hand made German cameras and binoculars.
Roland Wolff, Leica's director of corporate retail, says the store is bound to become "a destination" for the camera company's very, very passionate followers. (Wolff bristles at saying that these followers belong to the so-called "cult of Leica." Plenty of others find cult to be the appropriate term.)
On top of displaying a wide and lustworthy range of piteously expensive products -- Leica's signature M9 camera costs about $7,000 -- the store will offer photography classes and lectures, as well as rotating exhibits of photographs taken with Leica cameras, serving to inspire new users and those who are already members of Leica's ... extremely loyal following.
D.C.'s been a rough town for camera shops lately, but don't worry if you leave one of these workshops inspired but still not quite ready to fork over $7,000.
"The store is a communications tool, a marketing tool," says Wolff. "It doesn't have to make money. If it breaks even, we're happy. If we can educate people, if we can show them what Leica photography is about, then we're very happy."