Kodak announces closure of labs

DURHAM Kodak's three remaining labs in the US and Canada and their headquarters in Durham are shutting down.

The closings were announced Tuesday to employees. The three labs employ a total of 300 employees, less than 100 are staffed in Durham. Employees will receive a separation package that includes severance payments and outplacement assistance.

Currently, an events imaging business in Durham remains open, but wholesale central lab photo finishing has been in a long slow decline.

The labs in Texas, Pennsylvania and Ontario, which is operated by subsidiary Qualex, Inc., will end pickup and delivery by the end of March 2009. The majority of digital operations will also end by the same time period.

The announcement comes as consumer demand for pictures has become focused on either in-store 1 hour photo services or home printing options. As a result, Kodak has focused its initiatives in those arenas.

Kodak's vice president and general manager says the timing is unfortunate, but the company wanted to let employees know of their decision as soon as possible.

Kodak will continue operation of another Qualex division, Event Imaging Solutions, Inc., which offers themed picture taking at theme parks, malls and special events.

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