Diner was setting for start of 40-year romanceBy: Laura Newell, Features Editor
Marc and Connie Chan are well known in their community as business owners, chamber members and a loving couple – but not many know that their love story goes back to a gut feeling almost 40 years ago.
When Connie first moved to Sacramento in 1973, she began working at Denny’s on the corner of 15th and Broadway. Little did she know that was where she would find the love of her life.
“One night, I came around a corner and noticed six guys had been seated at my table,” she said. “I zeroed in on one of them and walked to the other end of the restaurant and told (coworker) Sally, ‘I just saw the guy I’m going to marry.’”
At that time, she was going through a separation from her first husband and had filed for a divorce. She also had a young son. Still, her eyes were set on Marc.
“The guys had one cup of coffee between them and desserts,” Connie said. “The guy I saw was different from anyone I had known. His hair was shoulder length, with a blue bandana around his forehead, beads with a metal fish around his neck, smoked a pipe and there was an aroma of patchouli oil. In addition, he made me laugh every time I came back to fill the coffee cup.”
At the time, Marc was 21 and Connie was 20.
“Mark always had a new joke, he could always make me laugh – he still tries,” Connie said with a smile.
After their first meeting at Denny’s, Marc returned with his friends the next night. Connie said after asking to wait on his table, she ended the night by slipping Marc her phone number.
“I have never seen Marc so quiet,” she laughed.
Marc said he was in shock and almost thought his friends were playing a joke on him because they were all trying to get Connie’s attention for a date.
“I thought I was getting punked,” Marc said. “I thought is this really Connie’s number? I thought my friend put her up to this. But, I was very interested. I called her the next day and we went out to a show that night.”
Connie said her eyes were only set on Marc.
“That was 40 years ago,” Connie said. “Was it love at first sight, I don’t know. I do know that Marc is my soul mate and I do love him with all my heart and soul.”
The couple was married on Feb. 8, two years after they met. Fast forward 38 years later, they now have three grown children and live a full life in Folsom. The moved here in 1990.
After working in the real estate field for many years, Connie decided to open The Healing Station at 530 Plaza Drive, in Folsom.
“I decided to open The Healing Station because I always relied on massages for stress,” she said.
Marc was called to help with outside sales at the massage and skincare studio, after retiring from his career with Sacramento Regional Transit.
“We work very well together because Connie is here and I’m out in the field,” Marc said. “I think anything that keeps you active, both mentally and physically, will strengthen a relationship.”
Through their business, the couple also became very involved in the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. Marc has held a variety of roles while working with the chamber.
Still the couple said it’s important to always keep their relationship strong and remember that they are each individuals as well as a team together.
“I would tell young couples to get to know one another before committing to each other. I think commitment happens before marriage, it’s when you both are ready. If only one person is ready, it won’t work,” Marc said. “Connie and I were very fortunate to discover each other.”
Connie also had love advice for new couples.
“I think that you need to learn to accept the other person for who they are individually,” Connie said. “In any relationship you have your ups and downs. So it’s a matter of listening to each other and giving space when needed. You need to understand each other as individuals, then using that understanding to make your relationship stronger together.”
So how will this happy couple spend Valentine’s Day? It’s Connie’s birthday and a week after their wedding anniversary, so they say they simply plan to spend time together.