Last week, the company that ran studios in Walmart, Sears and Babies"R"Us abruptly closed and now, customers are left wondering how to get their pictures that had not yet been picked up.
On Good Friday, Michael Cook and his wife brought their 6- and 4-year-old sons, and 1-year-old daughter to the Walmart in Naugatuck.
Dressed in their Easter best, they all sat for a family photo. They were told it would be ready in one week.
Seven days passed and they heard nothing. So, they picked up the phone and the line was disconnected.
"It's very frustrating. I mean it wasn't a lot of money but the fact of the matter is, it took time out of our day, get the pictures taken," Cook said. "It's a 1-year-old, 4- and a 6-year-old. To get them all together, it took forever to get them all set. They were cute pictures and now we don't have those."
The Associated Press reported that CPI Corp. closed more than 2,000 studios in the country.
Eyewitness News contacted CPI, which is based out of St. Louis, however, the only person Eyewitness News could actually speak with was working at the distributor's office.
No one at the CPI headquarters picked up.
Eyewitness News visited several Connecticut Walmarts as well as Sears and found the lights off with no one manning the Pictureme Portrait Studio.
"They should have called. All they had to do was call us and say 'hey, we're going out of business, you can come take your pictures' - or give us some sort of idea," Cook said.
However, Cook learned about the closure the same way as thousands of other people.
According to the Wall Street Journal, in the recently completed fiscal year, CPI's loss quintupled to more than $60 million, while sales fell 24 percent.
The following message is posted on Sears' portraits and Pictureme's website.
"After many years of providing family portrait photography, we are sad to announce that all of our U.S. portrait studios are now closed. We appreciate your patronage and allowing us to capture your precious memories. We are attempting to fulfill as many customer orders as possible. If you've had a recent session, your portraits may be available at your Sears, PictureMe or Kiddie Kandids portrait studio. For assistance, please contact the customer service department at your local store."
The message indicates that customers can still pick up their pictures, but when Eyewitness News visited stores, there was no one at the studios.
"That moment, the picture that we got, you're never going to capture it again," Cook said.
Cook said the manager at the Walmart told him if he brings his receipt, they'll give him a gift card.
He appreciates that, but said he just wants his pictures.
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