Film-processing firm Qualex to slash 100 of 150 jobs at Durham HQ

The Eastman Kodak subsidiary also will shut down three processing labs, affecting some 200 other workers in the U.S. and Canada. Qualex was no longer profitable in a world going digital, Kodak said.

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Kodak faces increasing digital competition.
DURHAM, N.C.Qualex, an Eastman Kodak subsidiary that provides photofinishing services, is laying off two-thirds of 150 employees at its Durham headquarters and shuttering most operations by March.

A spokesperson at Kodak (NYSE: EK) headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., confirmed to that Qualex employees have been told most are losing their jobs.

Citing slowing demand for traditional photo development services as consumers embrace digital cameras and images, Kodak also is shutting down its three Qualex labs that develop film and make prints, two in the U.S. and one in Canada.

The Qualex business unit was no longer profitable, said Chris Veronda, a Kodak communications manager. The cuts reflect Kodak’s refocusing on digital products and services, he added. Kodak has been hard pressed by the global economic slowdown and on Dec. 10 withdrew its financial guidance for this year.

The labs are in Allentown, Pa., Dallas and in Hamilton, Ontario. About 200 workers will be affected at those facilities, Veronda said.

Qualex touts itself as the “largest wholesale and on-site photo finishing company.” It once employed several hundred people in Durham The shutdown of a call center in November 2004 cost 300 people their jobs.

The Qualex headquarters is at 3414 N. Duke St. The company launched in 1988.

One Qualex division, called “Event Imaging Solutions,” will continue to operate. It offers picture-taking at theme parks, malls and special events.

Other businesses that Qualex supports include mini-labs and kiosks for film processing and service and support for thousands of mini-labs and kiosks at retailers, including Target, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger.



Rick Smith, Reporter

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