Professional photographers as well as casual shutterbugs started returning to Calumet Photo in Oak Brook on Sunday.
The store had been closed since March when the company filed for bankruptcy.
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About two weeks ago, Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based C&A Marketing Inc. salvaged the 75-year-old brand from bankruptcy court by paying about $4 million for five stores, including the one in Oak Brook and another in Chicago.
"It's great to have a place come back like this," said Rob Hart, president of the Illinois Press Photographers Association and adjunct faculty at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. "As a community, we need a place to go where they understand what we need for a job and have it in stock, or to clean or repair our equipment and have it done by people you trust. There's no replacement for that."
The Oak Brook store reopened with the same staff of about 10 workers and same equipment on the shelves. A new addition is RitzPix, an imaging system that allows customers to use their images to create cards, books, albums and other products. The store also will start to carry more higher-end equipment, such as the Mamiya and the Hasselblad brands.
The Oak Brook store was the most forward thinking, said Chaim Pikarski, C&A Marketing's executive vice president.
"Even though the chain had struggled, this store in Oak Brook was doing well. It had all the requirements of a good store, so that's why we decided to reopen it quickly. It also had a very loyal and dedicated staff, which made the store successful," Pikarski said.
Now that the Oak Brook store is reopened, the parent company is reconstructing its e-commerce website, which should be running soon with phone support, Pikarski said.
Calumet filed bankruptcy in March and closed its five stores in Chicago, Oak Brook, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and San Francisco. The company may reopen the Chicago store, but is scouting alternate locations in the city, said Pikarski.
C&A Marketing is a manufacturer, distributor and online reseller
of cameras and photographic equipment. It is also the Polaroid licensee for instant digital camera, sports video camera, IP home security cameras and photo accessories.
In addition to its recent acquisition of Calumet, C&A also owns and operates 14 Ritz Camera and Image stores nationwide, including Wolf Camera in Northbrook, Camera World, and Inkley's Camera.