Photo studio leaves thousands without their memories

Dave Culbreth

Photo studio leaves thousands without their memories

CREATED Apr. 9, 2013

Cape Coral - (FOX4)

Since the abrupt closing of the company that runs more than two thousand portrait studios in locations such as Wal-Mart and Sears stores last week, thousands of customers have been left looking for answers. In a statement on its website the company, CPI Corp says it is trying to fulfill as many orders as possible and urged customers with questions to contact their local store.
Three weeks ago a Cape Coral woman went into the Wal-Mart to get $40 worth of family photos taken. Nicole Cucuzza went to one of those places which is just inside the front door called "Picture Me Studios". A week ago tonight she got a call saying her photos were ready to be picked up. What she didn't know was that the very next day the company went out of business. "When we went to get them on April 4th the studio was closed,” she recalled. When asked what she saw she said “Nothing. It was dark. No sign, nothing. We just got a phone number from a Wal-Mart associate, an 888 number which I called. I was on hold for about 3 hours and nobody picked up."
So she called FOX4 hoping we could help. I checked the company out and found that it went out of business last Wednesday. On its website it said if you want your photos see a store manager. But that's what Ms. Cucuzza said she had done. "I talked to a very nice lady here at Wal-Mart who informed me that they're a separate company from the portrait studio and that there's nothing they can really do to help us because going into the property is illegal," she said.
We also found that the company had some 2,000 locations around the country. "I emailed. I called. Nothing,” she said. “I've gotten no response whatsoever.” She said she googled their name and found that they shut their doors completely the day after they called me to pick up my pictures"
So, I went into the Wal-Mart myself to see if FOX4 could get her some answers. What I found was a note saying go to the customer service desk to pick up your photos. I called Ms. Cucuzza back, told her that, and said let's go in and see what they say.
A few minutes later we walked out with her photos in hand. "I wouldn't have come back here to get my pictures because I was told that they couldn't help me.”
I asked, “So, the last contact before today you had, you thought you were done?” She said, “Oh yea, absolutely. That's why I got in touch with you guys."
She told me she hopes others see this and it helps them. "As a matter of fact when I went in there now she told me that people were getting really upset about this.” I asked, “So, there are still other people?” She said, “Oh yea there's more people and actually I didn't know that I was going to be able to get them but I did, thanks to you guys!"
If you have photos at the Picture Me studio in the Wal-Mart on Del Prado in Cape Coral that you had given up on, go get them! Tell em FOX4 sent you!