Downtown Ottumwa's Photo Shop Colormaster to close its doors

Downtown Ottumwa will be a little less colorful starting Friday, as the Photo Shop packs away cameras and closes its doors for good. Trudy and Keith Caviness have owned the business since 1970 and are closing the shop so they can retire.

"We had equipment problems and the manufacturers told us it was going to cost $40,000 to $50,000 to get things back up and we weren't interested at our age in re-investing in our business," said Keith Caviness. "So that was the right time for us to say, we're done."

"It just was kind of a sign that it's time to move on," Trudy Caviness added.

The Photo Shop began in the Zillman Building before moving to the Industrial Park. The shop has been at its current location at the intersection of Market and Main streets for about seven years. The shop has not only stood the test of time in Ottumwa, but it's also adapted to the times, keeping up with technology and changing from black and white to color, film to digital.

"Everything used to come in over the mail, now everything is electronic," Trudy said. "And in today's world, many people don't print a lot, they're actually, again, electronically sharing their pictures and that kind of thing, so it's really changed over the years."

What hasn't changed over 40 plus years? The shop's relationship with the community. And the customers will be what the Cavinesses miss most.

"The people of Ottumwa and the surrounding area have been very good to us as far as a business," said Trudy. "We have some very loyal customers and that is neat, and small businesses had a hard time because, of course, you can buy on the internet and every place else, but it's really nice to see the loyalty of the area people to small businesses."

Working at the shop for four decades means a lot of memories, many with long-time employees, but the Cavinesses say the ones that stick out are the moments they were able to save or salvage a photo for someone who thought the memory was gone forever.

The Cavinesses said they will spend their retirement with their grandchildren and working in the community. They also said they are proud of the fact they worked side-by-side in the Photo Shop for all these years.