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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.