Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ritz Camera Ist Kaput

Unfortunately, my speculation on the fate of the downtown Ritz Camera has come to fruition, with the store on Fenton Street now scheduled to close following a liquidation sale. Beltsville-based Ritz Camera is liquidating 300 stores and our location made the death list. While certainly not its biggest customer, I did patronize Ritz at least a few times, which is more than I can say for a lot of stores in Silver Spring (e.g. all of City Place) so I do lament its passing somewhat. The Ritz Camera up 29 in the Burnt Mills Shopping Center seems to have escaped the ax for now.

The liquidation sale is scheduled to start tomorrow. Those thinking you will be getting a great deal on a DLSR camera should be forewarned that these liquidation sales are a scam. The liquidators will raise the price to full MSRP then "discount" it from there, resulting in a new price that is actually higher than Ritz was selling the item for prior to the liquidation. You could potentially get some deals toward the end if there's anything left besides ugly picture frames. I'm going to try and buy some discounted 120 film, if possible.

So what could you possibly find to replace the Ritz these days? How about a GameStop? Sure, they may have the most annoying employees on Earth, but it's one of the few retail chains doing well in this economy, and right now there's nowhere around to buy video games. Just my 2¢. Hopefully they will find replacements for this and other departed stores. God forbid we end up anything like The Boulevard at the Capital Centre.

Speaking of troubled retailers, you may see some changes at our Borders, where they are re-focusing on books by reducing their selection of music and movies. Borders isn't in bankruptcy yet, but that day could come soon.

At least there's some positive retail news for Silver Spring. In a long-overdue development, two older buildings on Georgia Avenue are finally getting rehabbed and being made available for lease. One is the former armed forces recruiting center which until now had trees growing inside of it. The other is down a few blocks at Ripley street. It's odd that now that we are in the midst of an economic downturn these are finally being renovated. You'd think this would have been done years ago, especially in the case the recruiting center building, which is an eyesore and an embarrassment to what is supposed to be a "revitalized" downtown. (Ironically, it is right across the street from the "Silver Sprung" office...)

Here are the two buildings in their pre-renovation states:


Eric said...

Haha, one time I swore I saw trees in that building, coming up where the roof should be. Every time I'd walk by there, I'd try to figure out if they were actually inside the building, or if they were to the side and I was imagining it. I've been vindicated!

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Any idea of what is coming in those locations. Frankly, though, anything would be an improvement over their current state.

Vagrarian said...

I'm happy about the recruiting center being rehabbed...that was a serious eyesore. I've been watching the work from my office window. Once I snuck in there but was too wimpy to go down the stairs. The place was a wreck.

Tina & Drew said...

Good call Singular, Gamestop NOW please. Drove through Tivoli Square this morning and was totally jealous of their Best Buy... Would be nice to be able to walk for my gaming fix and not have to go to Wheaton.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the liquidations will be the same as the situations seen recently in post-mortem big box stores. In those cases, the entire company was purchased by a liquidator, who did with the merchandise, and the prices, as they pleased. These sales will most likely still be overseen by Ritz Camera, and thus, be ran under more ethical standards.

Sligo said...

They auctioned off the stores that are closing to liquidators this week, so they aren't actually Ritz any longer.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. Darn, that sucks. Though I wouldn't have expected to see any deals on a D-SLR anyway.

Sligo said...

Turns out it will be the exact same people who did the Circuit City liquidation. As of Saturday morning around 10:30, it didn't seem like there was any liquidation "sale" in progress at the Silver Spring store, though.

Anonymous said...

Here is my extensive inner tour of the Army Recruitment Center last summer:

Brent said...

Believe it or not, we have a new INDEPENDENT RETAILER in Silver Spring -- in City Place, no less, and (almost unbelievably) in the Steve & Barry's spot. I cut through there today -- it's called Sitari and (from the outside at least) appears to be more of the usual ShittyPlace ShittyStuff. But pretty amazing that anybody can pull off an opening of anything right now.

Thomas Hardman said...

Historically, deep recessions have tended to be times of successful innovation.

Sometimes this is because when times change, the economic models that both supported the Big Names and suppressed upstarts can no longer support the Big Names. While they wait for times to return to what they were, kept unable to change by both sudden loss of revenue and their very size and "inertia", the smaller and more lean companies can quickly change their own methods and modes.

Huge department stores aren't working too well, or they're only seeing activity in one of their departments, that can't support the inactivity in the other departments? Launch an upstart that sells what the active department sells, sell fresher stock, and do it more economically.

Really, this is classic and it's been seen repeatedly. Even Microsoft got its start this way, as to some degree did Apple's "Mac" line. Both of those companies pretty much snapped up the worthy parts of PARC Xerox, and IBM, respectively. Xerox elected to stick to its core of duplication of hardcopy rather than press forward with the graphic user interface and "mouse" it had pioneered, and IBM didn't want to branch out from its mainframe business enough to write its own operating system for its new line of x86 chips, so Bill Gates bought a semi-defective OS and whipped it into something marginally useful. And the rest is history.

Look for something similar to be ongoing in the intergrade between the Large Anchors and the mom-and-pop Specialty Shops. 20 years from now, Hot Topic might be, I dunno, the next Hecht's. ;)

Anonymous said...

Anyone know wtf was going on this morning (Sunday, 4/19) in dtss by the old turf? I was woken up by clapping, music, someone on a microphone... must have been about 8am. It sounded like they were starting a road race or something.

Thomas Hardman said...

Rehearsal for Hitler's Birthday?

More likely, something to do with Earth Week/Earth Day.

rb said...

"....was going on this morning (Sunday, 4/19) in dtss by the old turf? "

According to the Silver Spring Regional Services Center website, The Earth Day 5K at 8am.

Anonymous said...

Know what else Ist Kaput? This blog apparently. 26 days since the last post?

Sligo said...

Jeez, sorry I went on vacation!

Vagrarian said...

The old recruiting center has a new floor and now actually has a roof!

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