The whole epic Aurelius/Bowens/Calumet saga now seems to be drawing to a conclusion. And what a journey it’s been. Calumet USA goes bankrupt, Calumet UK and Bowens are bought out by Aurelius. Recently, Bowens winds down and is sent into liquidation. Now it seems the Calumet is going to disappear, too. At least in name.
Calumet just sent out an email blast to all of their customers to let them know that from tomorrow, things are changing. Calumet and Wex are merging into one giant retailer. Sometime later this week, the Calumet Photo website will be closing down, and moved to the Wex website. Presumably Calumet’s 8 stores around the UK will also be rebranded to match.
The above notice appears when you load the Calumet website. The email sent out to customers also reinforces that all outstanding orders (including pre-orders and back-orders) will be shipped out as soon as possible. The stores are unaffected and it will be business as usual. While all online enquiries will be directed to Wex, the stores will still keep the same staff. This is a far cry from the way Calumet USA announced its closure in 2014 – not to mention Bowens.
The Calumet open days will still go ahead in stores across the UK. The Calumet Academy workshops will continue to be available alongside Wex events, and existing bookings will all remain valid. All Calumet customer accounts have been copied over to the Wex website already, and you just need to go to the Wex account login page and request a new password to access your account.
It’s a shame to see the Calumet name finally disappearing from the UK. But, it sounds like there are great things ahead for Wex.
Personally, I think that’s a good thing, for both Calumet and Wex. It’s certainly better than the alternative. My affection toward Calumet was mostly nostalgia, although I haven’t used them for a few years. They were the first “big” photographic retailer I bought from in the UK and they always treated me right. Often, though, I found they didn’t have what I needed in stock.
Wex have also treated me very well, too. I’ve bought from them a number of times over the last few years, since the days when they were still called Warehouse Express. Their customer service and support has always been exemplary. They also usually had what I needed, and could get it to my door the next day.
A FAQ page has been added to the Wex website, going over some of the commonly asked questions they’ve received regarding the merge.