Closure of a North Dakota photography company impacting Black Hills wedding industry

“It came as a bit of a shock,” said a groom. “I thought it was a practical joke.”
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:16 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Planning a wedding is no small feat but what happens when after months of planning and working with vendors, your photographer closes its doors with no warning.

As much of a far-out story as that seems, it’s the reality for many couples after the sudden closure of a North Dakota company.

”It came as a bit of a shock,” said a groom. “I thought it was a practical joke.”

These are the words of a groom-to-be, finding out his wedding photography company shut down, eight days before tying the knot.

“A week, well eight days, before the wedding, we received an email stating that they were not going to be able to cover our wedding,” continued the groom-to-be, James Eastman. “And due to unforeseen circumstances, they were going to keep the 2,400 dollars that we had paid in full and not offer any explanation as to how or when we might receive a refund.”

“I along with all the other subcontractors were sent the exact same email that our clients were on Thursday,” said Haley Bentz, a photographer from Spearfish, contracted through Glasser Images. “We had no clue that this business was going to close and so we were in the dark as much as kind of everybody else was.”

Our sister station in Bismark, North Dakota reported that according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Glasser Images received more than 500 thousand dollars to help with payroll, utilities, and rent since 2020.

Bentz said she felt Glasser’s struggle last summer but thought things were improving, “I was like awesome, this summer they’re able to pay us on time, everything is working out, and then my paychecks started coming later and I haven’t been paid since August and I know that some other photographers haven’t been paid since May or earlier and are out thousands of more dollars than I am.”

Work 1 to 2 weddings a week from April to November, earning $20 an hour for an 8 to 10 hour day, Bentz should have earned at least 14,000 dollars this year through Glasser but she and a number of other photographers across the region are out thousands of dollars, not to mention so are their clients.

“With a refund not being issued, it’s not like we can just, you know, say shucks and go find and pay for another photographer because we’re just out that money that they took from us,” said Eastman.

Luckily Eastman and his fiance Savannah were able to contact their contracted photographer, Bentz, who is still able to shoot their October 15th wedding.

But Bentz said there’s still reconciliation to be made, ”And I think that we all need to kind of stick together and hold Jack Glasser accountable for his actions.”

According to KFYR in North Dakota, Jack Glasser, owner of Glasser Images issued a statement through Fargo attorney Tim O’Keeffe saying, “We’ve been in business for 16 years and up until COVID-19 hit, we were successful and growing, but then things drastically changed for the worse.”

We also reached out to Sanstead Law Office, the lawyer who sent the closure notification email to clients and staff, but have not heard back.

Five civil lawsuits have been filed against Glasser Images in North Dakota.

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