Wolfe’s closing after 97 years in Downtown Topeka

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A legendary landmark Downtown Topeka business is closing this summer. Wolfe’s Camera, a mainstay at 7th and South Kansas, is telling 13 NEWS they’ll begin a camera and equipment liquidation sale next Tuesday and plan to close their store in July.

Dee Harkness is President of Wolfe’s and says their staff of nearly 15 people “are just ready to retire and do something new.”

Harkness and his brother-in-law Mike Worswick, who owns the building, confirm they had a buyer in line 18 months ago before the COVID pandemic, but the possible interested party decided to buy other Topeka properties instead. Talks are continuing with another buyer now.

Harkness said Wolfe’s isn’t closing because people take pictures on their phones. Fully 90% of their business is done online on their Wolfe’s website, which will also shut down in July. Just 10-percent of what they make comes from the brick and mortar store. They continue teaching classes on how to take the best phone pictures, help avid camera photographers get better, and have done huge business transferring digital pictures, even films, old photos, and videos into other formats.

“Who will do that 200 to 300 photo services that we provide? There will be no replacement for that. It’s gone. But thanks to Topeka for 97 years, it’s been a great ride.”

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