MARYSVILLE — Clear Image Photo once operated five locations and processed up to 800 rolls of film a day.
That was before the domination of digital cameras. On its busiest day this past year, the one remaining Clear Image store processed no more than 50 rolls.
Next week, the business at 9023 State Ave. in Marysville will stop processing film altogether, owner Joe Gogal said. As a result, his work force will shrink from a dozen people to just three.
Clear Image isn’t disappearing, however, as its portrait studio and event photography business will keep operating.
“It’s still a viable, going concern,” Gogal said.
He started Clear Image in 1988 with one-hour developing and other photography services. Eventually, he opened other stores that offered quick photo developing.
In the late 1990s, digital cameras began making inroads in photography. It didn’t take long for the film processing business to drop off.
“Midway through the year 2000, it really started taking a turn for us,” Gogal said, adding that his processing business fell off by 30 percent between that time and 2002.
Clear Image certainly isn’t the first, nor the last, photo shop to succumb to the digital age. Earlier this year, Crown Image in Everett shut its doors after nearly 60 years in business.
Clear Image will hold an open house between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday to allow customers to visit with longtime employees Marge Gogal, Joe’s sister, and Denise Wesley, who are leaving the business. The store also will offer substantially discounted photo equipment in the next few days.
Then, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Clear Image will be closed to renovate the portrait studio and make other changes. The business will then reopen after the holidays.
Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.