The Calumet acquisition decision has been made by the US Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Illinois.
New Jersey company, C&A Marketing Inc. outbid the proposal of CalPhotoUS, owned by former principals of Calumet, purchasing some assets and debt of the former Calumet Photographic for just under $4 million. The purchase includes the option to open five of the former chain's 14 stores. CalPhoto had offered $2.825 million for the remnants of the chain.
Chaim Pikarski, executive vice president of C&A Marketing Inc. said they would decide soon how many, if any, of the old Calumet stores, they would reopen, and if they would move any of the stores to new locations.
C&A Marketing, located in Ridgefield Park, NJ, is a leading global manufacturer, distributor, and online reseller of cameras and other photographic equipment. They are the Polaroid licensee for instant digital cameras, sports video cameras, IP home security cameras and photo accessories. C&A has been expanding their RitzPix.com imaging business.
The company clearly plans to fold the old Calumet into their other brands of Ritz Camera and Image, Inkley's, Wolf Camera, and Camera World.
C&A Marketing has posted a message to former Calumet customers on their website which outlines their immediate plans.
In the message they explain:
• They are evaluating the Calumet stores and state they “know there is a very real need for high-quality, customer centric retail locations in strategically located major markets across the country.” They intend to announce their “specific retail plans shortly.”
• The stores which are opened will carry a “comprehensive range of top-flight photographic and imaging equipment,” which are already carried by their Ritz Camera & Image locations.
• They will be announcing what to do with equipment rented from Calumet, repairs, etc., soon.
• They will reopen the Calumetphoto.com website shortly, which will provide additional information and instructions for former Calumet Photographic customers.
I have learned that it will be only a matter of weeks before they intend to reopen all of Calumet's online presence, and should have made their Calumet retail store decisions by then, as well.
Harry Klein, President of C&A Marketing said of the acquisition,
“There's a strong social component to photography and imaging that doesn't exist with most other retail categories. Whether you make a living with your camera, as is the case with many Calumet customers, or you are a casual photographer, pictures are personal. We know what didn't work for Calumet and we know what's working for Ritz and Polaroid, and our other imaging related entities, and we are prepared to invest the time and capital to rebuild.”While there are certainly no guarantee about what the future will bring to former Calumet customers with regard to such things as store credits, equipment in for repair, gift cards, etc., Chaim Pikarski said,
“If we move forward with a variation of the traditional retail model, online or a hybrid representing both, Calumet’s customers can look forward to their loyalty being rewarded in the very near future.”