Calumet Photo Will Rise Again

Recall when we published news that Calumet Photo vanished in the U.S. Well, it seems that Calumet may rise from the ashes like a phoenix. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "Calumet Photographic Sold to C&A Marketing" who paid $3.125 million in cash for the Calumet assets, including inventory. C&A Marketing is a bit of a scavenger; having won the right to make Polaroid-branded video cameras, accessories and other products after the 2008 bankruptcy filing. And in 2012, C&A Marketing acquired certain Ritz Camera stores and the company’s RitzPix online imaging business out of Ritz’s second bankruptcy filing. They're currently evaluating which stores to reopen and their “first priority” will be to rehire former Calumet employees. No word on when, but keep an eye out for developments.

Retailer Calumet Photographic, whose abrupt shuttering this year shocked photography pros and enthusiasts, is under new ownership.

C&A Marketing Inc. of New Jersey recently won bankruptcy-court approval to acquire former Calumet stores in such cities as Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., after beating a rival bid from a company formed by ex-Calumet employees.

C&A Marketing hopes to revive the seller and renter of high-end photography equipment, which opened in 1939 and filed for bankruptcy liquidation in March. Court papers show C&A Marketing paid $3.125 million in cash for the Calumet assets, including inventory.

The company is no stranger to picking up the pieces of a bankruptcy. After Polaroid’s 2008 bankruptcy, C&A Marketing won the right to make Polaroid-branded video cameras, accessories and other products. And in 2012, C&A Marketing acquired certain Ritz Camera stores and the company’s RitzPix online imaging business out of Ritz’s second bankruptcy filing.

“We learned how to bring a distressed brand back to life,” Chaim Pikarski, C&A Marketing’s executive vice president, told Bankruptcy Beat Friday.

Mr. Pikarski said the acquisition is a “natural” next step from the company, which has grown from selling cameras and consumer photography equipment and accessories online to adding brick-and-mortar stores to now targeting professional photographers who turned to Calumet for equipment they need to do their jobs.

“The rental business is a booming business today. People want equipment that they can’t afford and don’t need every day of their life,” he said.

While the average consumer is snapping cellphone photos and sharing them online, C&A Marketing is counting on photography professionals and enthusiasts to drive business.

“There’s always going to be people who want a picture that’s better than an iPhone picture,” Mr. Pikarski said. “You can’t take pictures of birds in the sky with an iPhone, at least not yet.”

Mr. Pikarski has already visited some Calumet stores and will stop by the rest in the coming weeks, as C&A Marketing determines which stores to reopen. Wherever they need to hire, he said the company’s “first priority” will be to rehire former Calumet employees.

The sale should also resolve, Mr. Pikarski hopes, concerns from customers who, due to Calumet’s abrupt bankruptcy and closure, haven’t been able to return rental equipment or obtain equipment they dropped off for repair. He said stores that don’t reopen permanently may reopen temporarily to take care of this, and he expects the company to provide more information to customers soon.

“We’re going to even all that out,” he said.

C&A Marketing writes of the matter:


Update (5/8/14):

News of the first store re-opening is trickling in... In this case, Calumet Photo’s Oak Brook store to reopen Sunday which is located at 1600 W 16th St. in Oak Book, IL.

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