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Photo studio ownership changes hands

WORTHINGTON -- Maria Del Rosario Barrera is the newest owner of Ax Portrait Studios on Oxford Street, purchasing the store a little more than two weeks ago. She takes over for longtime owner Brenda Hurlbut, who operated the business for more than...

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New Ax Portrait Studios owner Maria Del Rosario Barrera is shown inside her Worthington business. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / Daily Globe)

 

WORTHINGTON - Maria Del Rosario Barrera is the newest owner of Ax Portrait Studios on Oxford Street, purchasing the store a little more than two weeks ago.

She takes over for longtime owner Brenda Hurlbut, who operated the business for more than 20 years.

Hurlbut wanted to retire from ownership and Barrera wanted to become a business owner, making the two a perfect match.

“We were both very happy,” Barrera said. “A little bit of crying, too, but it was good.”

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Three employees handle the picture taking and editing for the studio, while Barrera focuses, for now, on managing the store. However, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been learning from her employees on how to take shots herself.

“I like to take pictures - I’m not professional, but I like it, so we can learn,” Barrera said. “I’m the person who’s in training right now.”

Barrera moved to Worthington from Mexico in 1999 to live with would-be husband Jesus Barrera. She worked a number of jobs in babysitting and home care before becoming director of information at St. Mary’s Church.

At the church, everybody calls her “Chayo.” She’s been the director for one and a half years, and doesn’t plan on quitting now that she also runs the photo studio.

“I think it will involve much more of my time, but it’s working right now and I think I want to do both,” Barrera said. “I just get there early, then come here and go right back after.”

Confident she can handle both, Barrera said she’s looking forward to learning more about running a business. Hurlbut and staff at the studio have been helping Barrera settle in.

“I’m excited and kind of nervous, too” she said. “Because it’s a new thing - any time you get a new car, a new house, a new job, it’s kind of the same feeling.”

For now, the business won’t change much. Ax will continue its usual offering of portrait shots, family photos, passport photos, framing and custom greeting cards.

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