Social media quickly exploded Thursday night as Bismarck-based business Glasser Images abruptly said they were closing.
The company let clients know through email, while also stating: SORRY, no refunds.
Clients were sent an email saying: “The past and ongoing effects from the pandemic have caused irreparable damage that has forced this decision to happen extremely and rapidly and immediately.”
The email goes on to say: “Due to closing, if there is anything paid, we will not be able to provide any refunds.”
The closing of doors leaves many contracted employees unpaid, and customers short on both money and memories.
Bride to be Tia Dolechek is one of many brides devastated by the Glasser news.
“Our wedding is on October 16th, so next Saturday. We pretty much have everything done, so we were smooth sailing just trying to get all the busy stuff done,” Dolechek said.
She says she received an email Thursday night informing her that she no longer has a photographer to capture her special day. Dolecheck said she and her fiancé had already paid over $5,000, some of that money invested just a week ago.
“We booked two additional hours just last week and paid a thousand dollars. Knowing that they are in such a hurry to book all of these weddings and take all this money from people is just so heartbreaking,” Dolechek said.
After receiving the news, she turned to social media for help in finding a new photographer. She says within an hour she found one.
“We had tremendous help, an outpouring. This town is absolutely amazing as far as recommending small businesses,” said Dolechek.
Emily Smedshammer knows just how precious those wedding pictures can be.
“I was just married in June, and we did almost book Glasser for videography,” Smedshammer said.
Smedshammer is also a photographer. She’s been contracted through Glasser since July, and she’s owed thousands by the company.
“I haven’t been paid for any of them and that includes weddings for this month. It’s very frustrating for me. A lot of those weddings I do are through Glasser, so I was definitely counting on that income,” Smedshammer said.
On Friday, Smedshammer shot a wedding she’d signed on to shoot through Glasser. She won’t see a dime back from the company, but she’s still willing to volunteer to make a couple’s day special.
“It’s not fair to the bride, this isn’t her fault. This was completely out of the blue,” Smedshammer said.
Overnight, Glasser Images shut down its Facebook page.
Checks into public records show Glasser Images has accepted more than $500,000 in federal PPP loans since COVID-19 began.
Dolechek says she has filed a claim through the North Dakota Attorney General’s office and is seeking legal counsel hoping that somehow she’ll get her money back.
One viewer told KX News that on average, each wedding Glasser Images booked cost around $2,000 to $3,000.
A Facebook group has been created for anyone affected by the closure of Glasser Images, at the time of publication, the group had over 1,600 members.
Glasser Images specialized in everything from wedding photography, video, senior pictures, family portraits, newborn photography and more.
The company booked business in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado.