September 20, 2014, 06:20:49 AM

Author Topic: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  (Read 9177 times)

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2014, 03:12:12 AM »
Sad news. My office is also in the same building as theirs, so it will be extra sad to lose them. No more playing with lenses at lunch time...
That is sad indeed ... I moved to a new office last month and it is just 5 minutes walk to the local Canon/Nikon autorized dealer, so lunch time activity just got better for me :)
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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2014, 03:12:12 AM »

GuyF

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2014, 10:22:18 AM »
TBH calumet uk stores aren't doing much better , since they changed from KJP - anyone remember that? - since Calumet it's been downhill all the way. Decent staff left and now mostly uninterested ex students and older staff looking bored that don't know half of what I read up on with little real world experience to add into discussions. Plus many basic items have to be ordered in especially.. recently I needed a couple more standard stands and white backgrounds.. not in stock!!!
and enquired about the sony A7r , was told better go to john lewis !!
Crazy for a pro shop. Seems like they stock bags and tripods mainly now.
Times are a changing I really don't know where to buy equipment  from these days apart from the Flash centre for Elinchrom which have awesome customer service and knowledge.
As some one mentioned this could really affect Bowens lighting as Calumet  as a major distributer in UK / Europe.

RIP calumet .. globally in 2 years

I'd hired a 500mm f4 mk2 from them prior to deciding if I should buy one. The salesman showed me on their computer system that their trade price for the lens was more then the sale price! They were making a big loss on each one  - he said they make their money on accessories such as memory cards, bags, tripods, etc. Yikes, you've got to be selling lots of tripods to make up the loss on a big white.

I'm surprised they're still operating here in the UK.

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2014, 12:55:25 PM »
We've heard the stories of people's cameras being locked inside the closed stores, but how many people still have a hired 400 2.8II that they can't take back?  8)
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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2014, 01:11:37 PM »
I once ordered a 70-200 F4 L IS lens from these guys. Shortly after ordering, I found a practically brand new one locally off Craigslist for way cheaper.  So I asked for and was granted a return by Calumet. I shipped my completely unopened packaged right back to them (I didn't even open the Calumet packaging, let alone the Canon packaging). Later on I checked my credit card online statement to see if I got refunded.

They did refund me.......and also charged me a $60 restocking fee for a package that I didn't even open.

If that's how they ran their business, I say Good Riddance!

So wait, you found a used (yeah, unopened and brand new) lens for cheaper.  So you sent back your order.  Doesn't matter if you opened it or not.  You bought it, you committed too it!!!!  Restocking fee's are there for a reason --- why --- because people do that!!!  Thrifty folks who say, wow, I could rent that lens for $XX per day - or - I could buy it and send it back within a month for less. 

Either way ---- we can't both complain that there are no longer brick and mortar stores, then screw those brick and mortar stores when we see something cheaper elsewhere.  Talk about reframing the arguement ---maybe it wasn't due to bad management --- maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...


Lets say you shoot portraits.  You book the client, they commit to a minimum price, you do the shoot, you make the edits, they pick their prints, you order their prints...   you deliver them even.  And 2 days later they call you and ask for a refund because they found someone down the street that was able to do it for cheaper?   How long are you going to stay in business with customers like that????
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2014, 01:14:25 PM »
We've heard the stories of people's cameras being locked inside the closed stores, but how many people still have a hired 400 2.8II that they can't take back?  8)
So you have a 400 f/2.8 L II lens that the Calumet store is not ready to take back? that's cool 8)
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Rienzphotoz

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2014, 01:23:48 PM »
I once ordered a 70-200 F4 L IS lens from these guys. Shortly after ordering, I found a practically brand new one locally off Craigslist for way cheaper.  So I asked for and was granted a return by Calumet. I shipped my completely unopened packaged right back to them (I didn't even open the Calumet packaging, let alone the Canon packaging). Later on I checked my credit card online statement to see if I got refunded.

They did refund me.......and also charged me a $60 restocking fee for a package that I didn't even open.

If that's how they ran their business, I say Good Riddance!

So wait, you found a used (yeah, unopened and brand new) lens for cheaper.  So you sent back your order.  Doesn't matter if you opened it or not.  You bought it, you committed too it!!!!  Restocking fee's are there for a reason --- why --- because people do that!!!  Thrifty folks who say, wow, I could rent that lens for $XX per day - or - I could buy it and send it back within a month for less. 

Either way ---- we can't both complain that there are no longer brick and mortar stores, then screw those brick and mortar stores when we see something cheaper elsewhere.  Talk about reframing the arguement ---maybe it wasn't due to bad management --- maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...


Lets say you shoot portraits.  You book the client, they commit to a minimum price, you do the shoot, you make the edits, they pick their prints, you order their prints...   you deliver them even.  And 2 days later they call you and ask for a refund because they found someone down the street that was able to do it for cheaper?   How long are you going to stay in business with customers like that????
Harsh, but true.
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Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2014, 01:25:32 PM »
Sadly, just another sign of the times.

It's extremely difficult to simultaneously serve locally and compete globally. Pricing pressure is stiff, and knowledgeable retail staff has been displaced by online reviews and feedback from previous purchasers.

We've transitioned from handling the gear in a local store and then buying it there, to handling it in the store and then buying it online, to buying it online without first handling it, and then just sending it back if it doesn't meet expectations upon receipt. No wonder the brick and mortar stores are drying up.

I think the end is in the foreseeable future for nearly all specialty electronics stores. What we will have left is the big box stores for entry- and mid-level gear, and the online merchants for the high-end, specialty gear. The only local specialty shops will be those that can continue to differentiate in some unique or special way that appeals to its surrounding customer base.

+1000 ---  of course, the online merchants (b&h and adorama) have brick and mortar operations.  But still, I can count lots of times where I've needed something, call the local shops to see if they have it, and they don't.  Of course, they can order it but then you add it all up - it takes longer for the local shop to get a product in that it does for B&h to ship to me (I live in Buffalo ny so even if I do the standard UPS it's here in 3-4 days) and it's cheaper and I don't have to go anywhere to pick it up!  I'll buy from the local shops when it makes sense.  But more times than not they don't have what I need in stock because Buffalo is a smaller market and can't support a larger store (and we have it all split up weird too - 1 store that specializes in nikon and one that does canon).
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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2014, 01:25:32 PM »

Chuck Alaimo

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2014, 02:02:41 PM »
Whoa! I should have looked at the court filing first. They are listing less than $50,000 in assets. I'm guessing there are individuals on this forum (not me) that have more than that in Canon equipment.

I don't know how this works in the camera retail business. Is it customary for a supplier to retain ownership of the stock until it is sold?

Maybe it will be the Canon refurbished store that gets all this stock back?

Read the comments on the article - here it is - 

"The inventory was being used as collateral. We had auditors in about every other month to count things to make sure we had what we said we had."  (this commentor claims to be an employee and his statements sound pretty consistent and legit)

As to this:
It is sad when companies that have been around for a long time suddenly disappear ... but its a shame that the owners of the company gave no warning to their employees ... hope the employees are rewarded well and find better jobs.

From what I've read about chapter 7...it's the nasty of the nasty.  Management would not be allowed to tell employees prior to the closing because of how severe the situation is.  It's don't to prevent things like, the employees walking out with half of what's in the store!  Here's 2 lawyer comments:

"I am a US lawyer, but I don't practice bankruptcy law. I'm not an expert. Having said that: it's possible that Calumet wasn't allowed to warn employees, or at least that it might have caused problems if they had. As I understand it, the idea is to lock the doors of your business and hand the key over to the court, and then it's up to the court to oversee the feeding frenzy of creditors.

If a business warns its employees in advance, what happens if those employees steal a bunch of equipment on their way out the door? That equipment would have been sold to repay creditors, and now it can't be. Those creditors have every reason to look at management and ask, "Did you look the other way while these thefts occurred because you didn't want to see us repaid? Did you arrange to split the proceeds with your ex-employees?" It would undermine the point of bankruptcy protection.

But again, I don't practice bankruptcy law and I would welcome correction from someone who does this stuff every day."


And the reply to that -

"I am also a lawyer who doesn't practice bankruptcy law directly, although I have a lot of experience with it incidentally. Your comment is on the money, although another concern is creditors either trying to get special treatment if they know bankruptcy is imminent (which the bankruptcy court then has to try to undo) or immediately ceasing to provide services (such as utilities, computing services, etc) which would cause premature disruption of the business and, again, ultimately harm creditors.

Yes, it sucks, but this is how it has to be. If this were Chapter 11 (Restructuring) it would be different, but Chapter 7 (Liquidation) is an ugly, ugly process and there are no winners.I feel bad for the employees and those who have equipment in for service, as well as those who've already paid for merchandise that will never be delivered. Hopefully they at least manage to get the service equipment back to its rightful owners and pay their employees, although that latter seems unlikely."


Last copy past moment - that employee I qouted, he actually posted the email he recieved notifying him of what was happening:

Personally I'm not entirely sure I can believe anything that comes out of corporate. We had been struggling the past year, but around the start of the year we had been told things were turning around. That we had refinanced. That things would get better. They didn't. They actually started getting worse. As of a few days ago, we heard they were trying to refinance things again, so they could finally run the company the way they wanted to. We got this email last night:

• Over the past couple of months, management has been working tirelessly in an

effort to get the Company’s lender to support our plan to restructure the business.

We believed that we had a very viable plan that would allow Calumet to be a

healthy, profitable company. As of yesterday, the lender had given us indications

that they would support our efforts. However, to our surprise and despite all of

our hard work, the lender today suddenly decided that they would not support us;

• As a result, we have been forced to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this

means that we must cease operations, shut our doors and terminate all employees,

effective immediately. This means you are not to show up for work tomorrow.

We are so sorry that it has come this. This is not what we had anticipated.

• We will make arrangements soon for everyone to come and get their personal

belongings.

• There will be a lot of questions that people will have that we do not have answers

to, but we will make every effort to get answers. If you have a question, please

write it down and send it to me and we will do our best to get back to you as soon

as we can. We ask that you be patient since this is all new to us.

• We will be requesting that the lender agree to pay payroll through today, but there

is no guarantee they will agree to do so. As soon as we receive a response, we

will let you know.

• Again, we are so sorry that this has happened and personally thank you for all of

your hard work and dedication.


So...sounds to me like there were a lot of factors leading to this.  An older company struggling to transition to the new emerging economy - a new economy filled with ways for people to get the same thing for less.  Maybe that's why they bought all those new storefronts?  Either way - with an already bad financial forecast they borrowed a bunch of $$, bought new stores in key locations...sounded great on paper but in every article and forum I read on this I hear stories of the same old story - I went in and they didn't have what I needed in stock, could have ordered it there but it would have been cheaper, easier, and faster online.   the other big thing I've read is that they really pushed those classes. 

It's a nasty nasty thing. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 02:08:06 PM by Chuck Alaimo »
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Steve

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2014, 03:57:41 PM »
From what I read they were gotten at by specifics of the U.S. tax system that imposes tax on local stores which instantly gives online shops from other states a 10% price advantage?

In the US, most states have a sales tax that gets charged and it is different for each state.  Online stores, so far, do not need to charge each state's sales tax unless they ship to a buyer in the same state they are based in.  So if you live in California and you order from, say Newegg which is based in California, they charge California state sales tax but everyone else in the US can order from them tax free.  Its a confusing system that heavily favors online stores.  A European style VAT would be better but people here would burn the country down rather than implement it.

For Calumet though, this is just an excuse.  Lots of retail stores operate at a profit even with competition from online stores. Here in Portland, OR we have Pro Photo Supply which, as far as I can tell, does tons of business.  Every time I go there it is super crowded and there's always a wait to talk to a salesperson.  I think their secret is knowledgeable, skilled staff and catering to professionals' needs, crazy as that sounds!  That said, it seems to me that it would be in the best interests of Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc to offer some sort of incentive to B&M stores to make up for the huge difference in overhead.  A physical presence can make a big difference when someone is deciding to purchase or not. 

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2014, 06:20:54 PM »
Calumet  for many years was  manufacturing company, cameras, dark room equipment, film processors. They innovated and they made sturdy stuff. I had a calumet 8x10 camera that was built like a tank. The transition to digital and the shift of manufacturing to China made their gear obsolete or no longer cost competitive. I stopped shopping there when they never seemed to have what I wanted in stock. Why pay a premium when you have to wait for delivery anyway? The landscape is changing and the companies that don't evolve with it will soon be extinct.

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2014, 03:07:06 AM »
maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...

They made more money from me through that transaction than from selling a tripod to someone who decided to keep it. Maybe I screwed them......but maybe if they hadn't charged me for that return, I would've gone back to them for other stuff.

I once made the honest mistake of buying a used 16-35 lens from B&H and didn't realize when I bought it that it was a MKI when in fact I was looking for a MKII. B&H took back that return from me with no fees. In that case, I don't know if I screwed B&H or not. I do know that I've gone back to them and bought from them several more times and will keep doing so.


Rienzphotoz

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2014, 08:57:17 AM »
maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...

They made more money from me through that transaction than from selling a tripod to someone who decided to keep it. Maybe I screwed them......but maybe if they hadn't charged me for that return, I would've gone back to them for other stuff.

I once made the honest mistake of buying a used 16-35 lens from B&H and didn't realize when I bought it that it was a MKI when in fact I was looking for a MKII. B&H took back that return from me with no fees. In that case, I don't know if I screwed B&H or not. I do know that I've gone back to them and bought from them several more times and will keep doing so.
I did not consider that ... but that's a good point.
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expatinasia

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2014, 09:14:31 AM »
I once ordered a 70-200 F4 L IS lens from these guys. Shortly after ordering, I found a practically brand new one locally off Craigslist for way cheaper.  So I asked for and was granted a return by Calumet. I shipped my completely unopened packaged right back to them (I didn't even open the Calumet packaging, let alone the Canon packaging). Later on I checked my credit card online statement to see if I got refunded.

They did refund me.......and also charged me a $60 restocking fee for a package that I didn't even open.

If that's how they ran their business, I say Good Riddance!

So wait, you found a used (yeah, unopened and brand new) lens for cheaper.  So you sent back your order.  Doesn't matter if you opened it or not.  You bought it, you committed too it!!!!  Restocking fee's are there for a reason --- why --- because people do that!!!  Thrifty folks who say, wow, I could rent that lens for $XX per day - or - I could buy it and send it back within a month for less. 

Either way ---- we can't both complain that there are no longer brick and mortar stores, then screw those brick and mortar stores when we see something cheaper elsewhere.  Talk about reframing the arguement ---maybe it wasn't due to bad management --- maybe it was too many customers like you who screwed them...sorry if that's harsh...but...to put it on a personal level...


Lets say you shoot portraits.  You book the client, they commit to a minimum price, you do the shoot, you make the edits, they pick their prints, you order their prints...   you deliver them even.  And 2 days later they call you and ask for a refund because they found someone down the street that was able to do it for cheaper?   How long are you going to stay in business with customers like that????

e-Honda was perfectly within his right to do what he did, and Calumet were in their right to charge. Neither can complain.

I was looking at extra batteries for the 1D X earlier on B&H, one of the customer review reads: "I ordered two LP-E4N Battery Packs From B&H. I chose B&H because they offered 2-day shipping and there competitor did not. The batteries arrived on time despite having the biggest snow storm of the year. We ended up going with a different camera for the shoot and no longer need the batteries so I had to return them. B&H made it so simple to return the items. I just applied for a refund and they got back to me very quickly then I dropped them off at the UPS store and my money was refunded the very same day. I look forward to doing business with them again soon."

Same thing really.

1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2014, 09:14:31 AM »

East Wind Photography

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2014, 09:18:35 AM »
By the time you add free shipping and no sales tax collection, plus the 30 day free returns.  It doesnt make much sense to pay more at a local store unless you need something for a shoot tomorrow.

For less expensive items it doesnt matter much.  However for bodies and lenses, the buy local fees can be huge.

I personally buy from only companies with really good return policies as ive had my fair share of returns for items that did not meet upmto my expectations or had some manufacturing tolerance issues.  I sometimes pay a bit more just to have that safety net to return something.  If more local businesses were like that i would do more business.

Also remember that even though you are not charged sales tax for online orders, you are supposed to pay the tax to your state.  If you dont you are evading taxes and thats a crime.  ;)


Don Haines

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2014, 09:22:44 AM »
My preference is to deal with a bricks and mortar store,  but my local camera store has almost nothing in stock for higher end lenses.... They do not have a 28-70F2.8 or a 70-200F2.8 in stock.... And those are good selling lenses. They do not stock a 5D3 or a 1DX....

If there is anything I want, they have to order it in and it costs considerably more than from online and takes a lot longer to arrive.

It is as if they want me to purchase online....
The best camera is the one in your hands

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Re: Calumet Photo Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2014, 09:22:44 AM »