Employees blindsided by portrait studio closure - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Employees blindsided by portrait studio closure


Friday the cameras inside the Lufkin Sears Portrait Studio sat idle after the CPI Corporation closed all of its U.S. portrait studios.

"Up until the day they closed the doors they had us shooting customers and didn't tell us anything," said former manager Misty Pyle.

 Nationwide more than 2,000 studios inside Wal-Mart, Toy R Us and Sears were shut down Wednesday night after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Former manager Misty Pyle said she found out about the closure on Facebook and after talking with her district manager she was told to file for unemployment.

"I got to work and it said do not clock in your studio is closed," said Pyle.

Former sales associate Pamela Yarbrough said it was business as usual on Wednesday and no one was warned of the coming closure.

Former employees say the studio had been doing well and they had appointments through the weekend, now customers are on their own."

"I did some shoots, I did appointments, I called people and told them their pictures were in," said Yarbrough.

Former employees were left a document with information on how to handle insurance and final pay checks.

"We made the best memories that we could for people," said Yarbrough.

 In December former employees say they were told the company was struggling but they were working with buyers to improve the situation.

 Pyle said she has filed for unemployment but is doing freelance photography.

All customers that have already paid for portraits can call the store manager and will be able to pick up their pictures from the store.

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