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Saunders Variety marks 40th anniversary

Jerry Saunders weaves through the racks of his Saunders Variety store in Alberton. The business is marking its fortieth anniversary this month.
Jerry Saunders weaves through the racks of his Saunders Variety store in Alberton. The business is marking its fortieth anniversary this month.

ALBERTON -- Time and lots of it, is a very important commodity in running a successful business, suggests Jerry Saunders, owner of Saunders Variety.

He has been running the clothing and footwear store on Alberton’s Main Street for 40 years. He took over a former Fraser Bros. store on September 17, 1977.

“We don’t do a 20-hour week here, either,” he stressed. “It takes a lot of hours to make things work.”

He came by that work ethic early in life. He worked fulltime at Myricks of Alberton during the summers from the time he was eight, starting off earning $5.00 a week packing groceries. After eight years with Myricks he took a job with Coca-Cola and delivered product Summerside west for 10 years.

On May 10, 1974, his 26th birthday, he opened Jerry’s Grocery in Alberton and expanded into Saunders Variety across the street a little over three years later.

As he reflected Thursday on his years in business, customers were flocking into his store for his 40th anniversary sale. He’s appreciative of all his customers, coming from all over the Island and beyond, and of his hardworking staff.

“People tell us they like the service,” he says proudly. “And we try to have what they want.”

Although brand names and styles change over time, clothing and footwear have been the mainstay of the business. Silvers and Under Armour are among the top selling brands now and, surprisingly, socks.

“It used to be wool socks and a few white socks, and now it’s just…” daughter Nicole cuts in, “socks upon socks upon socks.”

She grew up in the business and is now the assistant store manager. She and her father is the team that attends the seasonal clothing shows and decides what merchandise to order for the next year. It’s a team effort, she said.

The CAT Ridgemont shoe has remained a big seller for the store for close to 25 years. “I most certainly let people know I still carry it,” he says.

The store currently has a staff of seven.

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