A lot of people woke up today and went to work and were locked out. These people were the people that worked at Calumet Photographic‘s US locations, of which there were 32 locations across the country. They also have a presence in Europe including The UK, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. The people working at the US locations came to the rude awakening of the fact that their company had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy overnight and all assets were to be liquidated. As such, all of the stores were locked and none of the employees notified of the bankruptcy ahead of time. The European locations remain untouched, but a lot of people are in shock and can’t even access the company’s website, which is currently down.
I have personally shopped with Calumet before in San Diego, at their Escondido location, and they weren’t necessarily the best photography store compared to some of the others in San Diego. However, they still were a nice alternative to ordering everything on Amazon or getting things when you needed them. Even so, Calumet did offer a lot of services to photographers from amateur to professional and were a pretty decently stocked store, but didn’t always have everything that you needed, from my experience.
On the company’s Facebook page, there is a status that reads, "After 75 years of business it is with a heavy heart that we announce our immediate closing in the United States (our European stores will continue). 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." In addition to that, they posted a status a few hours later stating, "Stay tuned, as we are exploring opportunities to reopen select locations to keep serving our customers. We will post any updates here if there are any."
This is likely because there are a lot of customers that still have photos, equipment and other things that Calumet still has in process for business before the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, according to the Chicago Tribune (where the company is headquartered) In its Chapter 7 filing, it listed between $50 million and $100 million in assets and $10 million to $50 million in liabilities, which makes the situation all the more confusing considering that the company isn’t really overly extended in terms of liabilities. It may be more likely that the management ran out of financing options and they had no choice but to liquidate. Even though, I’m not entirely sure why they didn’t file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead and try to rebuild.
Here’s an interview with an employee of Calumet explaining to Petapixel exactly what went down behind the scenes.