As some readers may be aware, at the end of August 2017 ILFORD Photo’s main US distributor WYINT Distribution LLC abruptly announced the closure of its South Carolina HQ pending a wider restructure of the business.
It took another two weeks for further detail to slip out but on September 8th the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Minnesota, which indicate the company has over $100M in debt.
Over the past three weeks, a number of ILFORD dealers have reached out to the film photography community over social media to confirm they they had not been affected by the closure of WYINT, or that they have found alternative sources for ILFORD products.
Whilst comforting, both social media and internet forum chatter has been bubbling away, with users cobbling together stories both about what happened to WYINT and the implications to ILFORD’s supply over the coming weeks and months.
The removal of any press information, and deletion of all social media accounts by WYINT – with the exception of a single LinkedIn page – has not helped to allay the fears of concerned photographers and resellers/retailers but there is a ray of hope for clients of WYNIT, as it seems the company is still fulfilling previously placed orders.
What does this mean for film photographers in the US relying on ILFORD photographic products? I reached out to ILFORD for an update, which Sales Director Giles Branthwaite was more than happy to provide, here it is:
At the end of August our US distributor WYNIT unexpectedly halted its US distribution operations and has since filed for Chapter 11.
To ensure our product remains available in the US, as a short term measure we have been supplying US dealers directly from the UK, aiming to meet the needs of the ‘Back To School’ season.
We are also looking into alternative longer term arrangements and would like to reassure the US film photography community that they can continue to expect to see and purchase ILFORD products at their usual stockists.
As a representative of one of WYINT’s larger creditors was quoted as saying, “…the situation is obviously less than optimal”, but it seems that ILFORD at least, are on their way to normalise their US distribution situation.
Thanks for reading and please drop me a line in the comments if you need any further clarification.
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