Smartphone claims another victim: Department store portrait studios

portrait.jpg Changing times and all that - it's just a lot easier, not to mention cheaper, to take out your phone and shoot family pictures rather than schlep over to Sears or Wal-Mart to get it done professionally. Today comes word that CPI Corp., which operated more than 2,000 locations in the U.S., many of them in department stores, abruptly shut down its studios, leaving workers and customers in a lurch. CPI had notified the SEC that it was struggling to meet its obligations with lenders, so the announcement wasn't totally out of left field. Still, who bothers to read SEC files? CPI has provided photo services for Sears' customers since 1959. From AP:

Some suddenly displaced CPI employees, believing the company could wrongly foist the responsibility of filling outstanding customers' orders onto Wal-Mart and Sears, were hustling Friday trying to make good with the clients while absorbing the shock of losing their jobs and related benefits, including insurance coverage. "There's almost no word to describe this. It's devastating," said Jennifer McDowell, a three-year CPI employee who until Thursday managed a four-employee studio in a Wal-Mart in St. Charles, a St. Louis suburb. "We gave so much for this company and worked so hard."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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