Venerable Calumet Photo supplier declares bankruptcy

A sign that said “closed” posted on the door of Calumet Photo’s Goose Island store was the abrupt end to the Chicago-headquartered retailer’s 75 years of business.

The company has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, a move that was swift and unexpected, the sudden closing catching employees and customers off-guard.

According to the filing, the company has assets between $50-$100 million and liabilities in the $10-$50 million range.

The company had planned to close all of its US stores immediately, according to a posting on its Facebook page, but then said it was exploring options to keep some of its stores open.  Its European branches, however, will remain open.

Founded in 1939, Calumet over the decades grew into a full service sales and rental of photographic supplies and was central to years of Chicago’s then-flourishing advertising print business.

In 2012, it owned and operated a chain of 32 locations worldwide. 

“It has been a joy to share our passion for photography with you all of these years,” the company posted on Facebook. “We’ll miss each other and we’ll miss all of our customers. Thank you for everything.”