Charlotte portrait studio company files for bankruptcy, closes dozens of locations

Portrait Innovations’ corporate headquarters at 2016 Ayrsley Town Blvd #200
Portrait Innovations’ corporate headquarters at 2016 Ayrsley Town Blvd #200 Google Earth

A Charlotte operator of professional portrait studios has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed dozens of locations.

Portrait Innovations, which has its corporate offices in the Ayrsley development in southwest Charlotte, is undergoing a “restructuring strategy” as a first step in a five-year growth plan, the company said in a statement.

The company also said it has closed 63 underperforming studios in August. The employees of those studios were offered transfers to other nearby studios when it was possible, Portrait said. The company continues to operate 119 other studios, which will remain open as usual.

As is the case for other traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, a decline in customer traffic at some of Portrait Innovations’ studios over the years has resulted in a decline in sales, the company said.

A Portrait spokeswoman would not say whether the bankruptcy filing will mean more layoffs.

The company said it will also expand its retail footprint with new concept studios in Walmart Supercenters. Portrait will also staff up at studios during the busy holiday season.

“With the support of our creditors and investors, the Portrait Innovations team has made a strategic decision to restructure our business and focus on growth,” said CEO John Grosso said in a statement emailed to the Observer.

“We remain committed to providing the highest quality products and customer service. We are well positioned for future growth with enhanced offerings and studio locations to best serve our customers.”

Other photography companies have experienced other similar reorganizing as the industry changes. Minnesota-based Lifetouch National School Studios, for instance, closed its Charlotte production facility in late November 2015, resulting in the layoff of 206 local jobs.

Portrait Innovations operates roughly 200 studios across the U.S., according to its website.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta