Wolf Camera in Colorado Springs is closing its doors as part of a post-bankruptcy liquidation by its parent company.

Employees were telling customers Tuesday that a going-out-of-business sale had begun at the store at Academy Boulevard and Constitution Avenue, and signs inside and outside advertised the closing. However, employees said they didn’t know the exact date the store would close.

Representatives of Maryland-based Ritz Camera & Image LLC, Wolf’s parent company, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday about a closing date for the Springs store.

According to reports in several business publications, Ritz, a nearly century-old, family-owned company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. After being unable to find a buyer, the company received permission Monday from a bankruptcy court judge to liquidate the company and close its 137 stores, according to the news reports.

In addition to the Colorado Springs location, there are six Wolf stores in the Denver area that will close.

Wolf Camera, based in Atlanta, took over the Academy and Constitution site in 1998 after the company acquired Denver-based Robert Waxman Camera & Video. Three years later, Wolf was acquired by Ritz after the Wolf chain itself sought bankruptcy protection.

Wolf’s closing is another sign of dramatically changing times for the camera industry, which have been exacerbated by the poor economy of the last several years.

At the retail level, specialized camera stores face stiff competition from big box stores as well as Amazon.com and other online retail services. Meanwhile, digital cameras are eliminating the need for film finishing and developing services.

Another well-known Springs name, Shewmaker’s Camera, closed its doors on North Academy in early 2009 after shutting its downtown location a few months earlier.

On a larger industry level, Eastman Kodak Co. said this week it was cutting another 1,000 jobs as it gets ready to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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