Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-13-2014, 06:26 PM   #1
Banned




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Millstone,NJ
Posts: 6,491
Calumet Photo in the US Officially Declares Bankruptcy, Gave Employees Zero Notice

QuoteQuote:
According to my coworker, management was notified of this decision late last night, and told not to open for work the next day. My friend is still waiting to hear when/if he will be allowed to go back to the store and collect some personal belongings left on his desk.
Calumet Photo in the US Officially Declares Bankruptcy, Gave Employees Zero Notice

QuoteQuote:
PetaPixel: When did you find out that the Calumet store was closing?

Calumet Employee: Officially, I heard last night when I got an email from my store manager. He said that the company was filing for Chapter 7 and that they store would be closed. Unofficially we had been expecting something like this for months. Twice Calumet had not been able to pay their employees. The last paychecks that were due to hit employee bank accounts last Friday never showed up. No updates were given until around 4:45 when the company promised “live checks” the next day. The problem was blamed on the service we use to punch in and out with.

PP: So you guys really did have no warning at all then. You said there were signs that closing was ‘imminent,’ what sort of signs are you referring to?

CE: We had been having trouble getting equipment in stock for a long time. The first obvious things were products like Nikon cameras and lenses. Whenever we asked why there was a problem managers would blame Nikon or whatever the supplying company was. Eventually the problem spread to Epson, Sony, Fuji and various others. It’s hard to say how many vendors we were on credit hold with but most likely all of them. Most recently, Canon was the only supplier we were receiving stock from. Finally, once UPS would no longer pick up shipments from the company, things seemed obvious.

PP: What do you think the company was doing wrong?

CE: In March 2013 the company bought a few Penn and Ritz Camera stores in the DC/Baltimore area. This spread out the company in a positive way. Having more locations is a great thing. That being said, customers expect these locations to have stock. The upper management never seemed to understand this. Corporate expected sales to be made by special order. Customers will tell you the real benefit of a brick and mortar is that you can get you hands on products before spending significant amounts of money on them.
Exclusive: Calumet Employee Reveals what Was Happening Behind the Scenes



03-13-2014, 09:03 PM   #2
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,500
This is a sad day indeed. Calumet was a great place to get quality professional quality gear with a long heritage. It will be missed.

Edit: Note that there are discrepancies between the PetaPixel article and the news story in the business section of the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune cites assets of between $50 million and $100 million, not the $50,000 claimed in by PP. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-calumet-photographic-clo...0,868130.story

As for the short notice to employees...Sudden closure of a business can happen with little warning. All it takes is for a major lender to "call in the note" on a loan, even a line of credit, that was secured by critical assets. It happened to me once.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-13-2014 at 09:12 PM.
03-13-2014, 09:19 PM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Alabama
Posts: 2,450
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
This is a sad day indeed. Calumet was a great place to get quality professional quality gear with a long heritage. It will be missed.

Edit: Note that there are discrepancies between the PetaPixel article and the news story in the business section of the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune cites assets of between $50 million and $100 million, not the $50,000 claimed in by PP. Calumet Photographic abruptly shuts down, files Chapter 7 - chicagotribune.com

As for the short notice to employees...Sudden closure of a business can happen with little warning. All it takes is for a major lender to "call in the note" on a loan, even a line of credit, that was secured by critical assets. It happened to me once.


Steve
It happened about a decade or so ago to an electronics chain who had a store here. The employees all left that night, just a routine day. They arrived the next am for opening to find the doors chained & a notice of bankruptcy on the doors...
03-14-2014, 12:02 AM   #4
Veteran Member
adwb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bristol UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,632
That'sgoing to create a problem for the pros from here that used to book their kit from calumet USA to use for a shoot there rather than cart their kit over

03-14-2014, 03:28 AM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
tomwil's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 778
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Edit: Note that there are discrepancies between the PetaPixel article and the news story in the business section of the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune cites assets of between $50 million and $100 million, not the $50,000 claimed in by PP. Calumet Photographic abruptly shuts down, files Chapter 7 - chicagotribune.com
According to the actual court document, Calumet only has up to $50,000 in estimated assets.

Also, within the PP article, Adorama may be next:

QuoteQuote:
I’ve heard from industry people the next major store to close in NYC will be Adorama. They too have had their credit held by a few manufactures over the last year. And some companies are awaiting payments for invoices 180 over due.

Last edited by tomwil; 03-14-2014 at 05:45 AM. Reason: Added info
03-14-2014, 12:03 PM   #6
Junior Member




Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 29
And to think they just swallowed Penn Camera here in DC. Glad I got my film out two months ago.

That just leaves Empire and Photo Craft here in Northern VA. I don't know of any other shops. Photo Craft has been very crowded lately, they carry Pentax. Calumet didn't in Tyson's Corner, VA.

Wonder when the sale of assets there will start? Hmmmm, where are you camera gear piggy bank?
03-14-2014, 12:50 PM   #7
SMC PENTAX LENSES
Loyal Site Supporter
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 23,426
I will note that we criticize Pentax for not being in Brick and Mortar stores. We relate that over the years they got kicked out because their credit terms were too tight or their Dealer Minimums too high. But which companies were the ones to precipitate Calumet closing down (according to the article)?

First Nikon, then Epson, Sony, Fuji . . . . .

In some ways I think Pentax has been right all these years. One big hit like Ritz or Calumet can wipe out the entire ten prior years of profit for a small company like Pentax.

Calumet listed $50MM - $100MM in assets and $10MM - $50MM in liabilities - which can possibly be a net assets of $50,000

Last edited by monochrome; 03-14-2014 at 06:35 PM.
03-14-2014, 06:08 PM   #8
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,500
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Calumet listed $50MM - $100MM in assets and $10MM - $50MM in liabilities - which can possibly be a net assets of $50,000
You are so very astute. The filing document listed $0.00 in liabilities despite providing a list with page after page of creditors (most appearing to be accounts payable for inventory). Think about it a bit. An established B&M likely owns a substantial amount of real estate outright as well as a good chunk of shelved and warehoused inventory. The $50K figure for total assets is ludicrous. The office furniture is worth more than that.

AP also quoted the $50MM - $100MM figure and they are usually pretty good at vetting their sources.

Edit: There may be more to this story. Chicago Business published an article dated 3/13 that indicated a Tuesday (3/11) filing of documents with the commonly-quoted larger numbers including both assets and liabilities. The pdf referenced above was filed end-of-day on the 12th.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-14-2014 at 06:25 PM.
03-15-2014, 01:15 AM   #9
Veteran Member
Parry's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 541
Sounds like Jessops in the UK.
03-15-2014, 01:49 AM   #10
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2009
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 248
I have been a Calumet customer in Chicago for a while - I even bought my first Pentax DSLR, a K10D, from them. Between then, and now, I haven't visited them as much as I thought I would - despite how close they were.

I am slightly surprised that brick and mortars like Calumet didn't learn from the likes of Circuit City. They didn't compete well with vendors who focus on online sales, and their prices were not very competitive with the likes of B&H, Adorama, etc. While I am not any representative sample, I couldn't make myself to buy from them, unless I needed something urgently. And recently, when I wanted some backdrop paper, I found another vendor in Chicago who carried it for cheaper. And when I wanted some prints, I rely on MPix or UPrinting. I wonder how much longer is Best Buy going to last.

It is sad to see an establishment close, especially for the employees. But, it is also sad that such establishments didn't learn how to compete in this day and age in different channels, and bring about their own demise.
03-15-2014, 07:23 PM   #11
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 31,500
QuoteOriginally posted by pentaman Quote
It is sad to see an establishment close, especially for the employees. But, it is also sad that such establishments didn't learn how to compete in this day and age in different channels, and bring about their own demise.
Calumet had a Web store and their pricing was competitive. I have bought from them in the past. The problem as I understand it was that they overextended and were no longer able to secure working debt (a.k.a. a line of credit or unsecured debt) from the lending institutions that they had dealt with in the past. This can even happen with companies that have a consistent revenue stream and who pay their bills on time.


Steve
03-15-2014, 09:28 PM   #12
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2009
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 248
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
This can even happen with companies that have a consistent revenue stream and who pay their bills on time.
The fact they couldn't secure working capital/debt, despite assets/revenues/profits, tells me their lack of business acumen, despite a long business histoy. I advice startups and small companies, and one of the things I have them focus is their cash flow and how to secure working capital. Actually, I have been in situations were I had to worry about it, and decline/not go after big deals. But we are talking about a 75-year old company.

In terms of their web presence, I can't really speak of it other than anecdotally. They weren't as competitive as Adorama, B&H, etc., who despite their physical presence, could create a huge following among photography buyers. Calumet, in my opinion, never had going for it (which tells me about their poor strategy).
03-15-2014, 11:03 PM   #13
Veteran Member
magkelly's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,900
I'm sorry to see them go because that's a sad thing but when it comes to situations like this I'm more sorry for their employees. I really hope they have the decency to see that they get their last paycheck at least. Been there, done that and I think it's just plain mean to treat your people like that. The big creditors they'll deal, but the people who worked for them, they own them better than no warning and no last paycheck. I've actually had this happen, gone to work, owed a couple of week's pay, found the door closed, realized that I was getting stiffed. It's so painful. I sincerely hope they do get that and unemployment too. They deserve it.
03-16-2014, 07:32 AM   #14
SMC PENTAX LENSES
Loyal Site Supporter
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 23,426
QuoteOriginally posted by pentaman Quote
The fact they couldn't secure working capital/debt, despite assets/revenues/profits, tells me their lack of business acumen, despite a long business histoy. I advice startups and small companies, and one of the things I have them focus is their cash flow and how to secure working capital. Actually, I have been in situations were I had to worry about it, and decline/not go after big deals. But we are talking about a 75-year old company.

In terms of their web presence, I can't really speak of it other than anecdotally. They weren't as competitive as Adorama, B&H, etc., who despite their physical presence, could create a huge following among photography buyers. Calumet, in my opinion, never had going for it (which tells me about their poor strategy).
Perhaps they wanted to grow and had a choice - buy some small chain somewhere else or invest in the internet operation to become a third with B&H and Adorama.
  1. Who wants to compete with Amazon?
  2. Their advisor / broker doesn't get a commission by referring them to a web consultant, but does by referring them to an investment banker / business broker.
03-26-2014, 09:43 AM   #15
Adorama Camera Representative
Helen Oster's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 550
QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote

Also, within the PP article, Adorama may be next:
What?! I didn't see that!
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
calumet, company, employee, employees, nikon, photo, photo industry, photography, products, spread, stock, store
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Photo Rumors: The first Pentax Boutique in the US is now closed kevinschoenmakers Pentax News and Rumors 33 07-02-2011 02:43 PM
Nature Did anyone else notice all the Raptors in Virginia this weekend? cdurfor Post Your Photos! 5 10-18-2010 01:24 PM
Nature Steaming river in the cold (-26 below zero) melander Post Your Photos! 11 12-21-2009 10:03 AM
Court declares Franken the winner of Minnesota Senate race deejjjaaaa General Talk 33 07-04-2009 09:44 AM
Possible US bankruptcy? bymy141 General Talk 46 03-20-2008 05:29 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:08 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top