Ritz Camera files Chapter 11

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by david b, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. david b

    david b Member

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    Yup, Ritz Camera filed for Chapter 11.

    What killed them? Their photo-finishing business or the lack thereof.

    And did you know that they also owned Boaters World?

    Read more here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009
  2. eric

    eric Member

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    I think the innernet killed brick and mortar shops. I've been to a "ritz" type store once and my friend bought a $15 lens cap. I can get that for like 4 bucks on the innernet.

    And who in the world has money to buy any of those uber digital stuff anyway? No one has the money to go to the movies (than goodness there's a second run movie theater near me for a $1.50) let alone buy a fancy $5,000 digital camera so they can take pictures of little Joey at the soccer game.
     
  3. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Member

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    I went to a Ritz once. I was treated like a leper because I still shoot film and the store was nearly empty anyway. I won't miss them. I have several camera shops in my area, one that doesn't even stock cameras, just accessories, film and a lab. They are very competitive on internet pricing. One that has a walk in fridge full of film that even beats internet pricing if you buy more than 5 rolls at a time. An economy like this just shows us who is the weakest of the bunch. The strong will survive and thrive by the time this is all over with.

    D.
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I was never impressed with Ritz either. All this makes me a bit nervous though. I just hope Huron Camera, which is in a nearby small town, can hold on. Sure, they carry digital stuff, but also cater to film. Good selection of film, chems, paper, etc. and a pretty large selection of used 35mm cams and lens with a few used enlargers as well. It's nice to be able to drop in for some film, or just browse.
     
  5. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Another casulty of the great economic enema of 2008-09.
     
  6. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think the downturn only sped up the inevitable. Somewhere along the line Ritz lost focus. In my recent visits I couldn't find a feel or identity in the store, more like "here's the stuff", and "here's the price". Also, it became increasingly hard to find anyone who knew anything. I'm not really going to miss them if they fold, but I am sorry for anyone who loses their job.

    On the bright side, the more this happens, the more room for good companies to survive.
     
  7. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I thought Huron went out of business some time ago. They dropped out of the used camera shows a couple of years ago, and about the same time their website disappeared.
     
  8. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    That kind of attitude is guarranteed to kill a chain even in good times. When will retailers get it, bad customer service+ poor selection= poor sales and eventually trip to chapter 11 or CCRA if you are in Canada.
     
  9. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Ritz always struck me as having a very curious business plan. They appeared to avoid any appeal to professionals and serious amateurs, which put them in direct competition with WalMart and every corner drug store in the world for the joe-sixpack mass market - the very market that blindly rushed into the conversion to digital that drove them out of their core business, processing.
     
  10. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Their bankers reduced their line of credit, accelerating the cash flow problem. When bankruptcy 'protection' is filed, all the payables become 'pre-petition claims' and are held up until a plan of reorganization and payment schedule/amount approved or the business is liquidated. This puts additional cash flow pressure on the suppliers. Hang on, lots more to come before this is over.

    Bob
     
  11. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    That is exactly how I felt about Ritz the last time I went to one. They had a bunch of odds and ends like camera bags, cleaning cloths, a few tri-pods. Nothing that would draw me to the shop for anything essential.
     
  12. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Well, there are 2 near me that do a good job of processing film. They don't just print like an automaton - they actually look at the prints to see if they look good. They can even do 120 by hand in the back. Since Walmart will be all I have left, I'll have to do it by mail or drive 1 1/4 hours each way to the only other lab around here. Walmart is not an option, since the one here does a worse job than a 10 year old could.
    For the retail end, Ritz lost out to places like Best Buy as well - amateurs could go there and get about as much help in recent years.
     
  13. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Do they have...

    an association with Ritz Collectable Cameras in Arizona?

    I've dealt with them (Collectables) and was very pleased on several occasions. I recall one incident where one of three filmholders that I bought in a package had no backing plate. I called and they were able to send another holder without my returning the defective one.

    Some of their prices are too high, some were considerable bargains. The staff was courteous and professional.

    Jo
     
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  15. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Sad in that it represents a shrinkage in the business.

    But, its just fulfillment of their destiny as far as I can see.

    Ritz drove me to buying out-of-state via Calumet and B&H back in the eighties when they consumed Barry's in Dallas which was a good pro level store with branches in several cities in the SW.
     
  16. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Doesn't Chapter 11 mean re-organization, not death? So, Ritz isn't dead yet, just "tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk".

    Yeah, Ritz had its problems, also its strengths. A big part of what killed them was paying rent in a mall. Ritz was primarliy located in malls.

    They were not competitive on lens caps and other itmes on the widgit board, but would beat any "honest", not gray market, price on a camera.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I never had a good opinion of them. They never seemed to be much of a serious camera store, and the quality coming out of their labs was all over the place- you had to shop around and try out every Ritz in your metropolitan area to find out which ones were good, and then re-sample every spring and fall when kids went back to school/got out of school because their lab staff were frequently high-school/college kids who would either work for the summer or go on vacation and maybe/maybe not come back again in the fall.
     
  18. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Around me at least, Ritz has always stunk. I never got it and I've never once bought a thing from them. Then again I always had Adray Photo just down the block. Not many were better, but even they are now closing shop. IMO it is not the economy, it is Best Buy and all the other elctronic/appliance stores that have the current crop of "cameras" at better prices. The only thing they are missing is the high-end and pro stuff... and who buys that anymore? At least not at a volume that will keep a speciaty store like that open. Even their processing labs can't compete. I can order my snapshots on Snapfish and have them ready at the corner Walgreens before I can even get there. It's sad to be sure, but unless they start finding a way to market to a much broader niche market, even the best shops that still exist outside of big city centers are only marking time before they too shut down.
     
  19. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Ritz's competition ultimately became Best Buy, Target, and WalMart. They ceased to provide any value added services and have been floundering for some time. The sad fact is--most people don't need a "camera store" anymore.
     
  20. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Quite honestly this is hardly a surprise to me. My nearest Ritz is in a major suburban mall in a location that was formerly part of a smaller regional chain (Camera Shop). Back when, it was near where I worked and convenient to stop by at lunch time or on my way home. Under the previous ownership there were mature, knowledgeable people running the place. The processing of C41 was done right there by a woman who obviously knew what she was doing and I would get a wave and a hello when I brought film in. Shortly after Ritz took over, all the original staff were gone. On one occasion I came in to pick up pictures and they couldn't find them; I had to come back the next day. Another time I picked up pictures and though I had asked for double prints, there were only singles. I was told if I gave them 20 minutes, they'd do another set, so as I had some other shopping to do, I said OK. As I was returning from my tour of other stores, I saw the young woman who'd been running the machine wandering off across the mall with another young woman, and thought "oh good, they're done." When I got to the store, the guy at the counter went looking all over the place and couldn't find the pictures. I ended up waiting until the operator came back from her break -- now wouldn't you think she'd have left them at the register --- "here's that guy's extra prints." Credit where credit is due, the counter guy was obviously embarrassed and very apologetic. They also gave me the missing prints at no charge in the earlier incident.

    Then a pickup up of five roll's worth disclosed that one was somebody else's prints. That eventually got straightened out, but was pretty much the end of my association with Ritz. I felt zero confidence in leaving film I'd put money and effort into the midst of such chaos. Interestingly, when I ferreted out one of the few remaining "pro" shops in a nearby town, there was one of the former Camera Shop employees behind the counter. "Yeah, we've been getting a lot of their old customers."

    I don't think you can truly say the Internet killed them, as they also sold online -- that's how I bought my Canon Elph Jr. I think it was primarily a lack of attention to basic organization and customer service. And also no depth of stock beyond the most trivial consumer items; they are supposedly a source of Lowepro and Tamrac bags but seldom had anything beyond a few P&S pouches in this store near me.

    DaveT
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    no, no association ...
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i believe one of the founder's children started boater's world,
    the ritz near us has a boater's world attached to the ritz ..

    the photofinishing at the store near me was very good, i have had
    then make prints for me before, kind of a step above robot, and a step
    down from a pro lab ..
    the store near me also sold pro film and darkroom supplies,
    seamless, and other supplies a pro would use.

    oh well, now we have even less choice ..
     
  23. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Still here... so far.

    http://www.huroncamera.com/

    I usually get over there every two weeks or so.
     
  24. rthomas

    rthomas Subscriber

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    I've had mixed experiences shopping at Ritz (and Wolf Camera in Charlotte, NC, which is the same company). At times I have gotten absolutely great service... but, my feeling is that most Ritz Camera employees won't talk to you unless you're waving your money around, and most of them don't actually know that much beyond sales techniques and the latest SPIFFs on cameras. Even if you have been a regular customer and have ocassionally dropped a lot of money on gear... they usually have other things to do. I've heard some of their sales people tell outright lies to uneducated customers, and even seen them sell polarizing filters (not UV/Sky filters) as "lens protection," which is patently ridiculous. But, enough ranting... Chapter 11 doesn't mean they're out of business (yet), but they have definitely lost at least a part of their business because people like me finally had enough abuse/indifference from their sales staff.
     
  25. R W Penn

    R W Penn Member

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    Ritz/Wolf in orland Park Ill large shopping center sells Ilford photo paper BUT WILL NOT SELL CHEMICALS. So I order from freestyle the tax and shipping charge wash.
     
  26. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    It strikes me that this thread is a good instructional for any business owners.