Without Prior Notice, Calumet Just Closed Down Every One of its Stores in the US, and Filed for Bankruptcy

“It has been a joy to share our passion for photography with you all of these years. We’ll miss each other and we’ll miss all of our customers. Thank you for everything.”

That was the last post written by Calumet on their US Facebook page before it disappeared along with their website last morning. And just as abruptly as their online sites closed down, their retail stores in the US closed down as well. Reports have been coming in from different locations across the country of employees that couldn’t even get inside the buildings to see what was going on. Just like that, they were informed that they no longer work for the company anymore.

From Calumet's UK Facebook Page

Calumet is a relatively large chain of stores based on photography and videography products. They’ve been responsible for helping many people kickstart their careers heading into professional photography. Just earlier on Thursday Morning, Calumet announced that they’re officially closing down their stores set in the US. A while later, it became clear that the company filed for bankruptcy, which came as a shock to many of the employees stationed in the stores that weren’t even warned of the closings in advance.

The company has begun its preparations to liquidate, listing up to $50,000 in assets and $1 million to $10 million in liabilities in its Chapter 7 filing on March 12, 2014. As far as we know for now, the bankruptcy hasn’t affected Calumet’s stores in the UK as of now.

PetaPixel just recently got the chance to interview an anonymous employee of Calumet who approached them to give a heads up on what exactly was happening behind the scenes. Already, the source said, the employees working had doubts about the company after having been denied paychecks twice, stating in one occasion that “the last paychecks that were due to hit employee bank accounts last Friday never showed up.” When asked what the company was doing wrong, the former employee gave a number of reasons, including that one significant factor could have been the fact that they just never really had much stock to sell.

It’s pretty rough for the many people affected by the store, as well as those who worked there, but it does look like much of this was destined to happen. With services like Amazon, who can ship many of the products Calumet held within two days through Prime, Calumet couldn’t afford to be low on stock and disappoint customers who took the time to make the drive to a nearby store. If a company wants to maintain good business when it doesn’t provide services as accessible as others, it needs to make sure it maintains the best quality possible in the services it does offer.

Right now, this is still a developing story, and when more updates come in, they’ll certainly be posted here. Until then, drop by below and let us know what you think of the situation right now. Did you shop frequently at a local Calumet? Did someone you know work there? Feel free to scroll down and share what you have to say!

[Via The Chicago Tribune | Employee interview via PetaPixel]

  • https://www.facebook.com/dcrosby Dave Crosby

    Sad news.

  • https://www.facebook.com/dcrosby Dave Crosby

    Sad news.

  • http://twitter.com/mike_stoba mike stoba photo

    “@petapixel: Exclusive – Calumet employee reveals what was happening behind the scenes: http://t.co/MiYTlC6yUo

  • https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.keys1 Jonathan Keys

    Their Uk pages are still on….is it worldwide?

    • David Addams

      U.S. only.

  • Fred Smith

    This is bad news for those who like stores to visit, but a sign of the times. Margins for retailers are getting shot since Chinese knock-offs for many products can be sold via eBay for around what the retailers pay. Few retailers use the Adorama and 47th St. Photo model of creating Chinese-made house brands. I never minded paying a little more from a store that I could visit with a showroom that allowed me to see and feel products. Paying a lot more makes no sense to the newer generation of photographers and photo buffs, many of whom prefer to put their iPhone photos on Facebook and do not want expensive DSLRs , tripods, mounting material, lighting equipment, etc. I feel badly for the employees and the locals who depended upon these stores, but the fact remains that we export lots of services and technology to the rest of the world, and import camera equipment. More and more of the camera equipment is being sold online and not through retail stores.

  • Leighflet

    Trying to get my camera back from 22nd St. location in Manhattan. It was in for repairs. Any tips