RITZ CAMERA - A Legacy of Our Economy (USA)

Started Sep 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Vegasluvr
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RITZ CAMERA - A Legacy of Our Economy (USA)
Sep 17, 2012

Just read about Ritz Camera holding a blow out "Going Out of Business" sale in Hawaii. I have been in the photographic industry since 1979 working in two camera stores. In those days we had Camera World (bought out by Wolf; Wolf bought out by Ritz); Kits Cameras (bought out by Ritz Cameras), Robert Waxman (a Colorado electronics retailer bought out by Ritz) and Inkleys (a Utah dealer bought out by Ritz also). Ritz/Wolf Cameras bought out a lot of small camera chain stores in the 1990s.

Because of Amazon.com and other Internet dealers who can under cut brick and mortar stores, many iconic camera stores was forced to close. Now the only photographic retail stores are Samys Camera, B&H Cameras, Adorama and a few other well established retailers.

When I began my career in photography, we used to have 35mm SLR cameras from Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus and Hasselblad stacked to the ceilings. Lenses were jam packed to the ceilings as well. One Christmas I remember selling 200+ Canon AE-1s; 180 Nikon FAs and a few years later when the Minolta Maxxum 7000 was introduced, we sold something like 300 between Halloween and Christmas!!

Ritz Camera's problem was it did not keep up with the times. Their Quantaray lenses and flashes were pure junk. They should have had Vivitar make their lenses and rebadge it. Which leads me to great camera products which is no longer around.

I used to shoot with Vivitar Series-1 lenses and flashes. Minolta was also a great camera. Light-weight and easy to use. Kodak had the best 110 cameras. Polaroid had the best instant cameras (SX-70, Spectra). I remember selling tons of the Spectra cameras and their films.

Today I walk into Samys and you will be lucky if they have Canon L-series lenses in stock. Or, you will have to put your name on a waiting list to get a hold of a new Canon 1Dx camera body! I like the new catch phrases, "Pre-Order", "Get on Waiting List", "Out of Stock - Waiting List available".

One store showed me their pre-order. Canon allotted only three cameras to that store and when the three camera bodies came in, none hit the sales floor. All had customer names on them! We never did that when I worked in a camera store.

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