When Stuart Schwartz launched local photography hub three years ago, he that Mill Valley had plenty of photography enthusiasts interested in a range of photo services and classes.
On the eve of the to celebrate its move from a tiny space to the more than 6,000-square-foot , Schwartz is doubling down on that hunch in a big way.
“Would I have ever thought three years ago that we’d be doing something this big? No way,” Schwartz says. “But we’ve been totally thrilled with the response form the community, and my gut is telling me there are additional needs and potential uses for a photo center like this here in town. So here we are.”
Schwartz has broadened his business model dramatically, expanding existing the offering of digital photo services, quadrupling the number of photo classes offered and added a huge photo studio that can be rented out.
Rentals, in fact, encompass much of the Image Flow’s new, massive space at the end of the 401 Miller Ave. row of businesses behind Marin Theatre Company.
“Almost this whole place is available for rental,” Schwartz says.
That includes an all-use secondary studio, a classroom/meeting room where MTC’s board already plans to hold its September meeting and everything in between. Everything in the main room is mobile, Schwartz notes, so that renters can use it for anything they wish.
The Image Flow is also now home to a handful of family businesses, like Stuarts wife Jacqueline’s RSVP Catering and his son Taylor’s video editing and production business. San Rafael-based Marin Frames is renting a small space there to provide framing services to the center’s photographer clients.
Schwartz notes that he tried to reuse as much old wood from General Hardware as possible, turning an old checkout stand into a bar and some shelves into a picnic table.
As for , there will be food and wine from RSVP, live music from Donna D Plus Three and a new photo exhibit from , the longtime Blithedale Canyon resident who has shifted from making cookies to an award-winning photography career. Her latest work, dubbed "Time Piece," explores Hazen's collection of old watch parts.
Schwartz says he plans to rotate photography exhibits quarterly and “everything we’ll have on our walls will be printed here. And we want to keep this place to local artists – that’s how we started and we’ll do everything we can to keep it that way.”
The 411: The Image Flow’s grand opening party is Saturday, July 14 at 7 p.m., 401 Miller Avenue, Suite A. Hazen’s “Time Piece” exhibit runs through September.