MARYSVILLE — Daniel Jolly took over Clear Image Photo and Frame at a time of upheaval, invested heavily in high-tech equipment and grew the business into three stores.
And his story paid off in Microsoft's recent Small Business Contest, earning him a tie for a third place in the national competition.
“I heard about the contest through the Small Business Administration,” Jolly said. “Entries had to include a short business video. Since I'd been wanting to make a video about Clear Image for a long time this was a good opportunity to do it.”
Jolly won with his two-minute video about his business and online voting from customers, friends and family. His prize was an $800 Microsoft Surface laptop and a one-year subscription to a Microsoft 365 small-business software program.
“Microsoft asked small business owners to tell how they creatively grew their business, what they learned and how they developed successful customer service,” he said.
Jolly bought Clear Image Photography in 2009 from Joe Gogal, who founded the business in 1988 and is now an Edward Jones representative in south Snohomish County. It was a challenging time when the mainstay of the business, developing film and printing, was waning as the era of digital cameras and home printers was growing at a soaring rate.
Jolly, who developed a passion for photography in college, managed Clear Image's Lynnwood store, which is now closed. He transformed the business into a center for digital photography and began expanding his services.
Today Jolly and his wife, Christi, parents of four children, run the business. He and his staff handle professional photography for special events, school graduations and sports teams, pets, newborns and families as well as providing a large portrait studio at the Marysville store at 9023 State Ave.
His specialties include photo restorations and framing services for photos, paintings, documents or other items. His business growth has meant adding slide scanning, transferring home movies to CDs and handling any service related to today's visual world.
Success led to opening a fast-growing Clear Image branch in Sequim and another in downtown Everett at 2806 Colby Ave.