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Elliotts shutter Marysville camera shop after 42 years
They met in 1955 as high school students at a Junior Statesman convention in Sacramento and 16 years later moved to Marysville to open Elliott Photo on D Street. There, Gary and Marjorie Elliott in 1984 would have a baby room built for their grandchildren.
"We didn't take coffee breaks," Gary Elliott, 73, said. "We took baby breaks."
"We loved it," he remembered.
Their children, who worked at Elliott Photo, were able to be with their kids and the Elliotts got all that time with their grandchildren.
After 42 years the Elliotts will retire at the end of March from the business at 412 D St., where customers can take advantage of 40 percent discounts in the camera shop and scrapbook supplies.
"It's bittersweet," their daughter, Debbie Bates, said of her parents' retirement. "I'm so happy for my folks."
But she remembers opening the first color photo processing lab north of Sacramento at Elliott Photo and learning about photography from her father. "We are a great team," Bates said.
Gary and Marjorie Elliott plan in retirement to continue to pursue their love of photography.
They sold the picture and art framing business that is part of the D Street store to Joe and Judy McLeod, who will move J&J Framing on Plumas Street in Yuba City to the 414 D St. site next month.
The scrapbook supply business that the Elliotts added — and that now occupies about 2,000 square feet — is for sale as well, but Gary Elliott will continue to teach the one-on-one camera classes he has been offering for more than 40 years.
He began working at Pardee Photo in Sacramento as a 15-year-old high school student after his parents said he could get a car if he could afford to pay for the vehicle and gas. Elliott still has a photo standing in front of the candy-apple red 1950 Ford Coupe he drove.
Photography, not Fords, became his passion, and he and Marjorie knew they wanted to own their own camera shop in a small town. A store in Palo Alto proved a possibility, but the Santa Clara County city was too big for Marjorie.
And then Marysville beckoned.
"It was small and I knew where my kids were," Marjorie said of the town's appeal.
Elliott Photo grew from the 2,000-square-foot location that had housed the Albrecht & Lowe camera store. Along with art and picture framing and scrapbook supplies, a digital portrait studio was added.
Gary Elliott served as president of the downtown business association called Magic — for Marysville Area General Improvement Corp.
He and Marjorie were able in 1981 to have dinner with famed photographer Ansel Adams at a national photography convention in Monterey.
"What a joy to meet that icon," Gary Elliott said. "He was very gracious."
But it is family, not the famous, that has been the couple's focus.
A sign in the store reads, "The love of a family is life's greatest blessing."