Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 3:15 PM on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photo Depot picks up where Eagle Eye leaves off

Name has changed, but new owner plans to build on business established by John and Suzi Luzadder

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Karen Garvey, the owner of Photo Depot, poses with some of the different albums and frames available in the store, formerly Eagle Eye Photo. Garvey plans to build on the business established by John and Suzi Luzadder and continue offering graphic design and procesing of 35 mm film. Later, she hopes to bring back the portrait studio that once was part of Eagle Eye Photo.

With a history in the Homer area spanning 30 years, Eagle Eye Photo, owned by John and Suzi Luzadder, has come to an end. At least in name.

Since February, the photo reproduction and graphic design business has been owned by Karen Garvey.

Its new name: Photo Depot.

Garvey, a four-year employee of Eagle Eye, is picking up where the Luzadders left off after purchasing the business from her former employers earlier this year.

"They got to the point where it was a good time for them to look at the rest of their lives and make some decisions, and they decided to enjoy one another," said Garvey. "So, we're trying to take it and rebuild it a little bit."

The business first opened its doors in the Hillas Building on West Pioneer Avenue and then spent some time in the space currently occupied by Subway. It has spent the majority of the past three decades in the 4,000 square feet of its current location at 601 E. Pioneer Ave., Suite 123.

Still being offered are the graphic design capabilities for which Luzadder became known.

"A big part of the business when John was here was graphic design," said Garvey. "I hope people will still consider us an option."

Five kiosks are available for the public to prepare digital photos for printing and there are two black and white printers for the public's use.

"People that do a lot of printing know it's the cheaper way, to come here and print rather than buy paper or toner for home," said Garvey.

Customers who want colored photos have only to let Garvey know and the images will print on equipment behind the counter.

Also continuing to be offered is development of 35 mm film.

Suzi Luzadder stopped replenishing the picture frame inventory several years ago and Garvey is running a sale on what is in stock.

"I would love to bring frames back again, but the companies Suzi ordered from wanted larger orders and we can't do that as yet," said Garvey. "Somewhere down the road, maybe; but not now."

Also in times past, a portion of Eagle Eye served as a portrait studio.

"That's something we're going to try to bring back," said Garvey.

What Photo Depot has going for it, according to Garvey, is "the reputation that Eagle Eye Photo has established over the years and the loyalty of John's customers."

"A lot of people have had very strong relations with him from doing graphic design work," said Garvey. "I'm hoping those customers will see fit to stay with us. We're trying to do everything John did, and are slowly getting the business back on its feet again."

Providing assistance is Garvey's daughter, Pam.

"She's basically the heart of the new ideas, bringing us some fresh energy," said Garvey. "That's what John told me this place needed, some young energy."

Some of that energy is being channeled into a photo contest, with first-, second- and third-place winners chosen by the community. Each contest will feature scenes specific to Homer, with the theme for the first one "how can I tell spring is on its way."

Winning contestants will be invited to leave their photos on display in what Garvey is calling "the winner's circle."

Also stepping in to lend a helping hand as his schedule permits is Garvey's husband, Larry, owner of the chimney sweep business, Chim-Chimney.

"Our main priority is getting the things we have in good running condition and then we are going to add some new aspects," said Garvey.

Born and raised in Alexander Creek, a remote location about 50 miles from Anchorage, Garvey spent the first two years of married life in Fairbanks, a year in Soldotna and a year in Kenai.

"We came to Homer because we took a family ride down to the end of the road one day. We'd never seen Homer. We crested Baycrest and there was no turning back," she said.

Having spent the past 24 years here, she hopes Photo Depot will be a place where she and her family can join forces. "We have a lot of fun together," she said.

For now, Garvey is focusing on putting the business back on its feet.

"We have some financial challenges before us, but Homer is a good community where well-built relationships seem to be the thing that can carry some small businesses through," said Garvey. "That's our ace in the hole."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.