Low-priced photo portrait studios closed
Appeal Staff Writer
Customers can no longer pose for low-priced portraits at the Carson City and Carson Valley Wal-Mart supercenters.
The Portrait Corp. of America studios inside the discount stores closed Sunday, following the corporation’s August Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. A company representative did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
David Epling, former manager of Wal-Mart’s Carson Valley portrait studio, said Monday that he and three other employees were given little notice that they were losing their jobs. He said customers were also caught unaware.
“The Douglas County one shut down at 5:30 p.m., and I was questioned by people,” he said Monday. “They were surprised we were closing. They wanted to make an appointment. I closed the one in Carson City at 6:30 p.m.”
Epling said he received notice on Feb. 6 that the studios were closing. He also assisted at the Carson City studio, which was staffed by two workers.
“Personally, I think they just priced themselves out of business,” Epling said.
The studio sold a 35-portrait pack for $9.88.
Now, Wal-Mart portrait customers must drive to Reno, where several portrait studios are still operating.
As for Epling, he filed for unemployment on Monday.
A Carson City Wal-Mart manager said a decision hasn’t been made on what business will occupy the vacant space.
Toni Langson, co-owner of Little People Portraits in Carson City, said its advantage over Wal-Mart has always been to take more time and care with portrait sessions. Its prices range from $24 per sheet to $200 for various packages.
“I hope we do see some more business,” she said. “Maybe we’ll get good employees from them.”
Portrait Corp. of America Inc. is the provider for Wal-Mart, operating studios in more than 2,500 locations in the U.S., Canada, Germany, the U.K. and Mexico. The company is reorganizing following its Aug. 31 Chapter 11 filing. The North Carolina corporation expects to emerge from the reorganization, according to a press release.
Epling said there are portrait studios in the Wal-Mart stores at West 7th St., Kietzke Lane and Northtowne Lane in Reno.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.