After nearly 20 years in business, the Ellis family will close their Franklin Street gallery this month.
The gallery features authentic art by Native Alaskans.
Johnny Ellis, an ivory carver who specializes in jewelry, started his business in a vending cart downtown, then moved to a small shop in the Merchants Wharf before the family moved to the heart of Juneau's tourist district in 1991.
They made a point of working directly with the state's Native artists, never selling knock-off's, Kathy Ellis said.
She said she enjoyed developing relationships with artists from around the state.
"We've seen a lot of artists progress" over the years, "it's been wonderful."
Johnny Ellis plans to wholesale his work around the state, including in Juneau.
"Carving ivory was my hobby before my profession and I'm happiest in my shop," he said.
The Ellis family said one change they've noticed in 20 years - besides the increase in the number of cruise ship tourists visiting town - is a change in Northern Alaskan art such as dolls, baskets and ivory, because a lot of the young people are not picking it up.
Popular with locals looking for gifts for family and friends, the shop was one of the few on Franklin that opened for Christmas and gallery walks during the off-season.
The couple said they are ready to live quieter lives after working long days, seven days a week every summer for more than two decades.
They plan to stay in Juneau.
Their son, Leo Ellis, was only 8 when the couple opened the gallery. He helped run the gallery, and also plans to stay in town.
The Ellises said Sept. 15 would likely be their last day, or whenever their merchandise is all gone.
Contact reporter Kim Marquis at 523-2279 or email@example.com.
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