To verify that the bad economic news is global, Julia Kollewe of Guardian.co.uk is reporting that photography giant Olan Mills ceased trading on Boxing Day (typically the day after Christmas) and has become one of the most recent casualties of the economic problems the world is facing.
As Kollewe says in her article “Fears for Christmas photography presents as studio Olan Mills collapses,” there is a lot of concern from people who have pre-paid for Christmas shots that they will not get their pictures or a refund.
Olan Mills has 34 stores in Britain and Wales. Of these stores, 25 are located in Mothercare stores, Mothercare being the leading retailer for baby needs in the United Kingdom.
Olan Mills is a privately owned photography studio founded in 1932 by Olan Mills Sr. and Mary Mills currently headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They specialize in family and church portraits.
While the British leg is going down it would appear the American retail operation is alright.
People are not happy with Olan Mills for a couple of reasons.
The company has not been upfront with its employees. It has left them in the dark and many have found out when they came to work they were laid off or terminated.
The biggest reason they have lost public trust is that they have waited until after the Christmas season to go into administration (receivership).
Olan Mills sold numerous packages for the Christmas season and took in a lot of prepaid funds and then made their announcement. They have left it up to credit card companies to refund to their clients but debit and cash purchasers will just have to wait and their chances of getting a refund are slim.
Adding to the irritation and suspicion about Olan Mills is the fact that two years ago they were in the same situation right at the Christmas season. At that time they were lucky to get a management buyout.
It is difficult to understand how there can be a large problem since retail sales have increased 12.8%.
When my wife and I had our first son we went to Olan Mills. Being doting parents, we got a new photo every month.
Even after we told them exactly what we wanted, we were made to sit down in a booth and listen to a sales pitch.
There was an element of commission paid to the photographer.
Once again, as we look at the problems occurring with businesses, it is easy to note that companies that specialize are being hit the hardest.