Without prior notice to either its employees or customers, The Picture People studios abruptly closed its doors last week. With the parent company going out of business, studios all over the USA have closed, leaving their employees jobless. Furthermore, customers who have paid for, but not yet had, their shoots and those with gift cards are all in a state of limbo.
Reportedly, The Picture People has been on the Better Business Bureau’s radar for a few years. The business had an “F” rating due to 50 complaints filed against it over the last three years. The chain operated across the USA in WalMart, Buy Buy Baby, Sears, and other in-mall locations. Dead Pixel Society writes that the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016.
As CBS Pittsburgh reports, the manager of a local studio inside a Sears received a call from her district manager who told her to close the doors and take the money to the bank. She called customers first to come and get their waiting portraits. They were the lucky ones, but many others have been let down, not knowing when or if they will get the photos they paid for.
After the abrupt closure of the entire chain, employees and customers reportedly complained on social media, wondering about photos that had been taken but not yet collected. The company was silent for a couple of days, and its website has been taken down. But CBS managed to get a local studio on its phone number, and there was a recording as a notice to the customers:
“Due to significant financial challenges, adverse business conditions, and unforeseen circumstances, TTP Operating, Inc., the company, or Picture People, is no longer able to continue its business operations. While the company is unable to continue its operations, we are hopeful that it will be able to continue under new ownership soon. If new ownership emerges, we will contact you directly to book your appointment and offer you special incentives for the inconvenience.”
Considering the “if new ownership emerges” part, it doesn’t seem like it’s a certain thing to happen. In the recording, The Picture People invites customers to leave a message and share their concerns. However, there’s no following beep that lets you record a message.
The company was apparently struggling financially, but its customers and employees were still let down as the business closed so abruptly. It reminds me of Calumet’s story, a chain that also closed without prior notice. For now, there is no further info on The Picture People case. We don’t know what will happen with the employees who were suddenly left jobless or the clients who paid for photos and didn’t get them. But if we hear more, we will let you know.
[via CBS Pittsburgh]