My former employer, Ritz Cameras, has just announced that they’re closing more than 300 stores across the country. Of those, eleven are based here in Washington. I’d actually heard a little bit about this through a former coworker whose store is one of the eleven, but I had no idea it was going to be this widespread.
The one bittersweet side effect to this for local photogeeks is that all these stores need to liquidate their inventory, so starting tomorrow, there may be some pretty good deals available if you happen to be close to a store that’s being shuttered. If I wasn’t unemployed right now, you can bet I’d be keeping a close eye on the sales…unfortunately, I don’t exactly have a lot of expendable cash at the moment.
Retail inventory valued at more than $50 million will be liquidated at the stores that are being closed. Store closing sales offering substantial discounts on all inventory at those locations will begin on Saturday, April 4, and are expected to continue until everything is sold to the bare walls.
Daniel Platt, senior vice president, capital markets, for Great American Group, said, “Long-time Ritz Camera customers as well as those with any interest in cameras, photography and video-related products will find a tremendous selection of quality, brand-name merchandise at greatly reduced prices. Shoppers looking for distinctive and unique gifts will find these sales particularly appealing, as well.”
Among the thousands of products that will be available at reduced prices are digital cameras and accessories, digital SLR compact cameras, digital frames, binoculars, camcorders and video accessories, and other popular electronic items.
Taken from this list, here are the eleven Washington state stores that will be closing their doors (looks like my store in the Northgate Mall was spared, but that’s small comfort):
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras Columbia Center 6607 W Canal Dr Kennewick WA 99336-0000
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras #72 Bellevue Square 266 Bellevue Sq Bellevue WA 98004-0000
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras #77 Bellis Fair Mall 1 Bellis Fair Pkwy Ste 126 Bellingham WA 98226-0000
- Kits Cameras Westfield Southcenter 172 Southcenter Mall Tukwila WA 98188-0000
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras #14 Pavilions Centre 31507 Pacific Hwy South Federal Way WA 98003-0000
- Kits Cameras One Hour Photo Westlake Center 400 Pine St #300 Seattle WA 98101-0000
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras Downtown Woodinville 13804 Ne 175Th St #104 Woodinville WA 98072-0000
- Ritz Camera / Kits Cameras #18 Everett Retail Center 910 Se Everett Mall Way #101 Everett WA 98208-0000
- Kits Camera 1 Hour Photo Olympic Village 5500 Olympic Dr Nw Ste A107 Gig Harbor WA 98335-0000
- Kits Camera 1 Hour Photo Kirkland Park Place 336 Park Place Kirkland WA 98033-0000
- Kits Cameras Mill Creek Town Center 15407 Main St Ste 101 Mill Creek WA 98012-0000
This just hurts to see. Say what you will about the Ritz/Kits family — and I know they’ve got their fare share of detractors as well as fans — there’s a lot of good, knowledgeable, passionate photographers employed in those stores, and this has got to be affecting them in very uncomfortable ways. Best of luck to all of you.