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Longtime Zellers employee remembers the glory years

When Zellers store #100 on Eramosa Road closed its doors on Oct. 13, it will mark the end of an era.
The first Zellers store in Guelph was downtown on Wyndham Street. When the new ‘big’ store opened, staff moved from downtown to Eramosa Road. I had the privilege of working in store #100 from October 1968 to July 1970. In those days there was a wide aisle between Zellers and Dominion. There were entrances at the front on Eramosa and at the rear, with check-outs lining both sides of the common area.
The popular Zellers restaurant was next to the rear entrance, and the pharmacy beside the restaurant. There was no Sunday shopping, but we were open 13 hours on Saturdays. All paperwork was done by hand (patient files, etc.) and prescription labels were typed.
A revolutionary move during that time was IMICO (International Malleable Iron Company) and Blue Cross introducing a plan where the customer paid 35 cents for a prescription and the pharmacy would bill the insurance company directly. Management was not enthusiastic about this idea, and we had to convince them that we would lose a lot of customers if we didn’t adopt this concept.
Another new idea was the introduction of charge cards issued by banks. Zellers had its own charge card, and it took a while before Visa or Mastercard were accepted in its stores.
When store #125 opened in Willow West Mall in August 1970, I moved there to work part-time for more than 20 years.
In 1970 there was nothing west of Silvercreek Parkway but open fields. That store closed in 2010 after 40 years.
I have fond memories of both stores – especially staff and customers. As the days wind down for Zellers stores, I think especially of Stan Heap, Francis Chan, Irmgard Emmert, Ev Hersey, Stella Ferraro, Mary Macerollo and Eva Sutton, with whom I worked in the pharmacy on Eramosa Road. They were like a family to me.
Zellers, thanks for the memories.
Liz Gray
Guelph

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