CREVE COEUR, Mo. – After four decades in business, Creve Coeur Camera is closing its doors on Olive Boulevard as soon as it sells out of inventory. Owner Stephen Weiss said it was a tough decision but he believes online retail hurt his business.
Weiss is holding a going-out-of-business sale for all the cameras, lights, camcorders, lenses, and the list goes on. Rather than fighting it, Weiss decided to take his business in another direction and added the camera business has been tough and a victim of fierce online competition.
“Over the last 6 to 8 months, business has started declining,” he said. “We were up to 10 stores and doing $18 million to $19 million. Now we have gone down as low as $7 million and we are at the last store.”
The news spread quickly as the announcement was posted on its Facebook page.
“Bottom line is they go online and they buy a $40 or $50 flash and our flash is $179. We just can’t compete and they are directly shipped from China to Amazon,” Weiss said.
Customers have been pouring in the last few days trying to catch the sale.
The store has had several break-ins over the years. In one instance, would-be thieves cut their way through thick drywall, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Once inside, surveillance cameras tracked their every move.
The owner said he doesn't care how difficult the business gets he will always love it. The location will not go unused until the business sells the rest of its inventory.
Creve Coeur Camera will continue to offer classes and photo trips under the name St. Louis School of Imaging.