Shoppers at the Ritz Camera in the Annapolis Mall may not have noticed a change, but the store is one of 18 locations nationwide to survive the company's bankruptcy.
"That store was not closed at all," C&A Marketing spokeswoman Melissa Hoistion said. "The store itself actually remained open, and we've been gradually increasing our stock."
Ritz, the country's largest specialty camera retail chain, announced it was going bankrupt in June after 94 years in business, according to The Chicago Tribune. On Sept. 10, Ritz announced it would be liquidating all of its nearly 300 stores because the company failed to find a buyer in a bankruptcy auction, according to Reuters.
Then, a New Jersey-based company called C&A Marketing bought the company and announced plans to keep Ritz's website and a few retail locations.
“We chose these eighteen stores to re-open because they are in key markets across the country that need a personal, knowledgeable photo speciality shop, which also serve as an integral part of their communities,” C&A Marketing President Harry Klein said in a press release. “The Ritz Camera Family of brands has long been synonymous with high quality customer service and we plan to uphold that proud tradition, while updating the retail mix to reflect current market dynamics.”
Nearly all of Ritz Cameras locations had closed their doors by Oct. 31—including the Solomon's Island location in Annapolis, which closed this summer. A location in Towson and one in Bethesda remain the only other Ritz stores open in Maryland.
The 18 brick and mortar stores being kept open are staffed by the original store employees.
"We found out about a week before the closure date,” Annapolis Store Manager Gregory Sim said. "Most of us are very excited about it. There's lots of renewed interest and everything since people found out they won't have to start looking for a new job."
He said his customers are happy too since Ritz is the only camera specialty shop in Annapolis that does printing. People can print photos at most area drug stores, but those images are ink jet where Ritz uses a chemical process.
"The quality is just much better," Sim said.