Wolf Camera Closing Novato Store

The parent company has filed for bankruptcy and the closure of the downtown Novato location is expected this summer.

Discount signs have gone up in the windows of the Novato  store on Grant Avenue after its parent company announced it has filed for bankruptcy.

The parent company, Ritz Camera & Image announced restructuring of its 265 stores on Friday.  Novato Wolf Camera will be one of 128 that will be closing after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It came out of its first bankruptcy less than three years ago.

According to an article in the Wasington Post, the change comes as "brick-and-mortar consumer electronics stores face increasing competition from online rivals" and more people are using cellphones to take pictures rather than purchasing cameras.

Store manager Kelly Banfield said that she expects the Novato store to be closed within four to six weeks but that the Mill Valley location will remain open.

Banfield has been the manager at the Novato store for 12 years. "I have a lot of great customers that we're going to miss."

The future for the five employees at Novato's Wolf Camera, along with half of the 2,000 workers nationwide, remain uncertain.

Cameras, accessories and other photo services are all currently marked at 10 percent off, according to signage in the windows.

Maria Escobar June 27, 2012 at 05:02 AM
I like to support the "mom and pops" and not the huge big box stores. I will be sorry to see this store close. Another place of employment lost in Novato.
Donna Borok Moss June 27, 2012 at 05:15 PM
And going to Target is just the kind of thinking that drives small stores in our community out of business.
Brandon Connaughton June 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
As a former employee of Ritz Camera, I can say that the prices were comparable to any location, even matching big online retail like amazon. The issue stems from an unsustainable business model. 6 cent prints were never worth the time of the company resources. If the lab ran at peak performance with modern equipment, perhaps, but not a 20 year old fuji frontier. The best service they have going in the Photo Patrol, their answer to Geek Squad. Except they dont pay well enough to keep talented associates around. Good job for a kid living at home or a retiree paying for a hobby, but not an adult. Www.acwtechs.com !!!
Heidi Eberle June 28, 2012 at 06:12 AM
As the world go more digital small companies like Wolff/Ritz will fade away. I will miss each and every one of the staff. They are so helpful, especially to one like me who has no idea of this and that. Guess I better get down there to get the camera I wanted. Was going to wait...good by good people. You will be sorely missed.
Lothrop Withington Jr. June 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM
As a avid photographer, I can attest that no "real" photographers shop at Ritz / Wolf - maybe in a pinch. It's a mall store. Pros go to places like B&H, ect. Prices and selection are outlandish and the staff is not very knowledgeable - about photography or their limited product selection. Petaluma has a good independent camera / photo shop, I would drive their before going to cheesy ol' Ritz.


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