Calumet Photographic filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last night and has closed all its US stores. Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is the liquidation chapter, which permits a business to close down and pay off its debts in an orderly manner. If you were a customer and have something on order or left something with them for repair, there are a lot of unanswered questions today. Unfortunately, it will probably be a few days to a couple of weeks before you get an answer from Calumet.
Since last night, I have received some calls and e-mails about where to shop locally now for camera equipment. We all want to see and feel new equipment before we buy and local camera stores are your best bet for that as well as knowledgeable staff, i.e., skip the big box stores. Those of us in the Washington/Baltimore area are lucky because we have three terrific local, independent dealers: (1) PhotoCraft in Burke, Virginia, and Embassy Camera in Washington, DC; (2) Ace Photo in Ashburn, Virginia; and (3) Service Photo in Baltimore, Maryland. I have shopped at all three and, although I favor Photocraft, I can recommend them all without reservation.
How will the local market shake out? It is difficult to say. After Calumet, there is really no other national chains left. So, let’s support our local, independent camera stores. We need them.