Penn Camera files for bankruptcy

It’s not a good week for independent stores. First D.C.’s Melody Record Shop calls it quits on Tuesday, now Penn Camera Exchange files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

The Beltsville-based retailer, with eight locations in the Washington area, is shrinking after 58 years in business due to “a dramatic decline in sales performance during the preceding holiday period,” according to a release.

Five of its stores will close immediately, while the remaining stores, including ones in Rockville and Tysons Corner, will hold clearance sales. Customers with repairs or other business at the shuttered stores can head to the locations in Rockville, Tysons Corner or 18th Street NW.

Penn Camera is one of the region’s best known spots for photography equipment and workshops. With its selection and experienced technicians, the company rivaled another homegrown retailer, Ritz Camera. Ritz went through its own bankruptcy tribulations in 2008, but emerged from the reorganization still kicking.

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