KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man is working to return memories to families across the metro after a national chain of portrait studios abruptly closed all of its locations.
Brian Bononi discovered piles of canvasses and pictures inside Portrait Innovation's location on North Boardwalk Avenue in Kansas City, when he entered the store to take measurements.
"The whole time I’m walking around and I’m thinking to myself, 'This is someone’s first memory, someone’s last memory, someone’s traditional memory. And they are just going to get thrown in a dumpster at some point,'" he said.
Bononi contacted the building's leasing agent, who gave him permission to remove the photos from the vacant store.
He and his family organized the memories and tried to contact some of the customers they found numbers for. On Monday, he created a Facebook post asking families to reach out so he could see if he has their memories.
"I want everyone to realize we’re not a scam. This is legitimate,” he said. “We’re not asking you for anything. We’re not taking anything from you. We’re going to let you leave with your photo because that’s what you’re missing.”
Bononi and his family created an email to help reunite families with their photos. He is asking those who have had photos taken at Portrait Innovation's Boardwalk location, but have not picked up their orders, to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name and phone numbers.
Bononi will look through his list and see if he is able to assist.
"We’re not going to stop,” he said. “We have to get these to everyone we can.”
Portrait Innovation suddenly closed all of its national locations around the first of the year. The company's Facebook pages and website pages are both down. The company's North Carolina corporate headquarters phone number is disconnected.