Well, it’s here: the end of those (sometimes painfully posed) family portraits done in a style that can only be achieved by a visiting your local mall. The end of the era of the Sears Portrait Studio as we know it.
This week all of the portrait studios at Sears locations nationwide were abruptly closed. And this came as a shock even to Sears stores themselves, since their in-house photography departments are independently run by a photography company called CPI.
CPI ceased operations in all of their studios,”after many years of providing family portrait photography.” CPI has worked with Sears since 1959 and had studios in all of the 788 Sears stores.
The main reason for the closures? Apparently the rise of digital photography is to blame. Many may have guessed this would have happened but it was a big surprise to Sears. “We were notified Thursday that CPI is ceasing its U.S. operations at retailers across the country immediately,” Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said. Nothing like no notice at all!
But Sears would like to continue to offer portraits to families, as they have for decades and is now “exploring all options.” And it’s a market that some see as a mainstay.
“It’s really just an expectation now, people demand speed and they demand quality and convenience,” John Johnson, chief executive of Picture People said. “I’ve been in this business for 25 years and fundamentally, this business has never changed: You’ve got a mom, and a new baby or young child, and she wants a beautiful portrait to hang on her wall, and that is never going to change.”
Have you ever gotten portraits taken at Sears? Do you think this is a dying industry?
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hurt by the rise of digital photography.