Wolf Camera Closes in Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake’s Wolf Camera with doors locked.

Imagine my surprise as I walked up to Wolf Camera on Route 14 and discovered the store closed.

That’s where I bought my camera and had taken it back to be shipped off to be cleaned.

The sign on the door said Vernon Hills would have all photos left there and, presumably, my camera when it comes back from the repair shop.

Sign on the door of the closed Wolf Camera store in Crystal Lake.

You will remember the Ritz Camera merged with, maybe bought, Wolf.

The Ritz location near Best Buy then closed.

Now the second chain camera store in Crystal Lake is gone.


Wolf Camera Closes in Crystal Lake — 5 Comments

  1. That was a good store, staffed with professional, knowledgeable people.

    Unfortunately, today buyers do not reward that.

    They might go to this store and “shop”, then buy their camera at Best Buy or online.

    Result? Another one bites the dust!

    Are customers still willing to pay for quality service? No.

    The only thing I saved from my 18 years in the life insurance business was a slogan on an 8 1/2 x 11 card from Northwestern Mutual.

    “In the beginning there is price; in the end, there is cost.”

    This is true, whether you are buying life insurance, cars, cameras or anything else.

    I bought my Rollei many years ago at Schiller’s in St. Louis, a professional photographer’s store.

    Got good advice and, while I paid a little more, I got value.

    I bought my Nikon 35mm camera at a professional photographer’s shop on Broadway in Denver, next to Carl Swanson’s gun shop.

    Paid a little more for quality service and advice; it was worth it.

  2. Ummmm. Crystal Lake, at least on Route 14, is starting to look like Detroit in the 1970s. Does any one else notice?

    Cute street lights, fancy curbs, and nice clocks just cover up the fact that businesses are closing. Algonguin looks good, so does LITH.

    I think it’s time the City of Crystal Lake start appreciating businesses rather than constantly obstucting their success.

  3. I used to go there but stopped shopping in Crystal Lake (I shopped there often). If I am paying quite a bit into the sales tax pool then I should get into Crystal Lake beach or Three Oaks at a decent price. My personal boycott! 🙂

  4. I visited Wolf last November shortly before making a major overseas trip.

    I walked in the store with 3 things on my list: a lens cap to replace one I had lost, a spare battery and a spare memory card.

    The salesman proceeded to belittle me for not having the specific model number of my camera lens, then told me that all lenses from that manufacturer use the same size lens cap. W

    hen I asked about the spare battery, he showed me one and asked if I really wanted to spend that kind of money.

    He told me that they were cheaper at Best Buy.

    At that point, the taste in my mouth was so bad, I didn’t bother with the memory card.

    I paid the $10 or so for the lens cap and then went to Best Buy and spent another $100 or so that I had intended to spend at Wolf.

    I later went to the Wolf camera website and reported my experience.

    No response.

    I am very willing to pay for quality of service, but I am not willing to pay to be insulted.

    I don’t know if this closure can be blamed on the City of Crystal Lake.

  5. I am a local, small business owner. As such, I go out of my way -whenever possible-, to shop & support other local businesses rather than feed another enormous corporate conglomerate after my dollars.

    As a photographer, I stopped regularly at this shop for things that were both, needed and sometimes things I just simply wanted. The staff was generally polite and answered whatever questions I may have had. My main challenge was that they never had what I was looking for and I constantly heard the “we’re a small store, they don’t send us anything” excuse for not having certain things. I wasn’t looking for rocket ships or anything off-the-wall but rather simple every day items that any legitimate shop should have in-stock at least most of the time. When I’ve run into those scenarios elsewhere, the store generally tries to call somebody or offer to get/order the item for me in order to earn my business and keep me from going elsewhere, …but no such luck here. I’d have to go to Schaumburg, Oak Brook or simply order it online as I didn’t have the time or was willing to spend my time driving around looking for stuff.

    It is a shame that they had to shut down.
    – Does it surprise me? Not in the least bit.
    – Is it deserved? Based on my experience shopping at the store (or trying to), yes.
    A poorly-run store in a tough economy doesn’t stand a chance.

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