CHATSWORTH, Calif. - Porn Valley was buzzing today with the news that Empire Distributors has abruptly closed up shop, locking the doors to its warehouse after a decade in business.
Empire was one of the largest one-stop adult DVD distributors on the West Coast, handling product from nearly all of the industry's major studios. Now, those manufacturers are left with outstanding invoices and missing product reportedly running into six figures on some individual accounts.
Owner Roy Karch, not to be confused with the director of the same name, was unavailable for comment.
More than a dozen reliable sources reported the news to AVN throughout the day, all representing big players in Porn Valley and points beyond.
Empire's sudden closure is a stark sign of the times in the X-rated video industry. For many customers, Karch has been a longtime friend and an honest business associate.
"You're not going to find anybody to say a bad word about [Karch]," said Lewis Adams of Red Light District. "When I needed someone to support my product back in 2001, he stood up and said, 'I'll take 30 of a number COD.'"
Empire merged with Triplex Distribution in 2007.
In addition to running Empire Distributors, Karch was a partner with Ed Kail in the short-lived Epic Interactive. He teamed with the owners of DVSX to launch the XCartel label in 2006. His most recent venture was the wholesale distribution house Pacific Coast.
According to one source who requested anonymity, an Empire representative relayed word that Karch will return next week to discuss return authorizations with company owners and sales reps.