ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. ( -- A national photography studio chain abruptly shut down, and St. Louis-area customers are left wondering if they can ever get the memories they paid for. 

"We were up doing holiday stuff with our families for Christmas and Hannukah," said Alexandra Lugger, recalling her recent visit to Portrait Innovations. 

She went into the portrait studio's Chesterfield store, and there was no indication anything was amiss.

"Everything was fine. People were having their pictures taken. People were picking up pictures," she said. 

Lugger thought it was business as usual, so purchasing a $50 gift certificate for family photos wasn't a big deal.

But she was in for a surprise.

"Maybe five days later, I Googled to see if they had any packages available because I was going to suggest some," Lugger said. "It said they were permanently closed." 

News 4 did some digging, and it's as if Portrait Innovations never existed.

The national chain's website is down, no phone numbers are working, and every location is shuttered.

"We've recently heard, from consumers, they are not getting responses from the company when they try to contact them with problems they are having," Rebecca Phoenix with the Better Business Bureau.  

She recommends consumers like Lugger dispute the charge if paid with a credit card, and file a complaint with the BBB. Then they should contact their attorney general's office.

Alexandra lugger - portrait innovations customer

“I think it’s really shiesty. I think if you know you are going out of business have a going out of business sale, you know?” Lugger said.

Lugger received her money back from her credit card company, but she wonders how many others have not.

The BBB says in North Carolina, where the photo studio is based, nearly two dozen have filed complaints.

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