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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
November 8, 1996     Cape Gazette
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November 8, 1996
 

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CAPE GAZElq'E, Friday, November 8 - November 14, 1996 - 48 BusiNEss & REAL ESTATE " Lloyd's IGA - crossroads of Lewes- celebrates 25 years By Dennis Forney Lloyd Purcell went to work one morning 25 years ago for his first day as owner of the IGA grocery store at the comer of Manila and Savannah Rd. in Lewes. The day before, he and Frank Robinson signed the papers offi- cially transferring ownership of the store to Lloyd. "We got ready to open for busi- ness that day," said Lloyd, "and Mr. Robinson told me to put mon- ey in the cash register. "I said, 'I don't have any mon- ey'" "'You said you don't have any money?' he asked me." "'That's right,' I told him, 'you have it all.' And I had to borrow $200 to get through that first day." Frank Robinson financed every- thing for the purchase of the gro- cery business that he had owned and operated for 30 years. "He stuck his neck way out for me," said Lloyd. "But I never missed a payment and now the business and property are paid for. "None of his children had an interest in the business and I had worked for him for eight years. When he was ready to get out he asked me if I was interested. I had always sworn up and down that I never wanted to own my own business but it's been a good thing. I'm sure I've done better than if I had worked for someone else. But it's a heck of a lot of work. I'm not sure I'd do it all over again." Lloyd's IGA celebrates its Sil- ver Anniversary - its 25th - with a special sale this week. While cus- tomers enjoy savings on many items for the occasion, they can also feel a part of local history as they push carts up and down the aisles. Building goes way back When customers first entered the building housing Lloyd's IGA, Savannah Rd. was still paved with dirt. Glenwood Harrington operated a grocery in the building before Frank Robinson and before him was John Prettyman. "The build- ing goes back to about the turn of the century," said Lloyd this week. "My understanding is the door's been swinging without interruption all those years." "I think it started out as an ice cream parlor and school children used to come here for lunches before the Lewes school had a cafeteria," said Dottie Purcell. Dottie and Lloyd both graduated from Lewes High School and all the business they knew came from classes taught at the school by Fred Wiedmann. "Never went to college," said Lloyd. "All my training's been on the job. And I learned a lot from Mr. Robinson." Lloyd and Dottie married in 1963 - eight years before they pur- chased the business on Nov. 19, 1971. "We just about had our house paid for and then we had to remortgage to get some working capital for the business. Mr. Robinson was a workhorse. He would always say 'Get it in high gear,'" said Lloyd. "He said work would never hurt a person and he's right --I think." "And that's how he went about business," said Dottie, "and he expected everyone "else to do the same. We call him EverReady because he just keeps going and going and going." (Frank Robinson's now 85 and has a lawn mowing business. "You ought to see him working out there in the summer," said Lloyd. "He told me recently he'd sell me the mowing business too if I wanted it but I'd have to wait a few years.") Lived at the store For the first ten years of their ownership of the grocery, Lloyd lived at the store (for all practical purposes) and Dottie stayed at home raising the couple's three children. Dawn, Darren and Amy have all been involved in the busi- ness at one time or another, stock- ing shelves, cutting meat, trim- ming produce and working the cash registers along with their morn and dad. For the past 15 years Lloyd and Dottie have worked side by side in the busi- ness. Dottie started out by manag- ing the produce section and took over office operations when Marie Collins retired. Lloyd learned the business from years of working in a variety of stores including a dell in Avon- dale, Pa., Tom Bests former gen- eral store at Nassau, A&P in Lewes and Safeway (now gone) on Rt. 1. "It's the only business I've ever known." When Lloyd and Dottle bought the business, one of the fn'st deci- sions Lloyd made was to open on Sundays. "I wasn't sure how the people were going to take the store being open on Sunday but I figured I needed every penny I could get to keep my payments up," said Lloyd. "I worked seven days a week for so many years that now I feel guilty whenever I take two days off in a row." They quickly found that they really needed to "get it into high gear" for the main summer weeks between July Fourth and Labor Day weekend. "Our business goes up by about 45 percent in those months," said Lloyd. "It really is insane - nonstop." Over the years Lloyd's IGA has provided steady employment for a number of long-term employees and part-time jobs for lots of high school students. "We started with about ten employees and we're up ! 4, .... Dennis Forney photo Lloyd and Dottie Purcell stand in front of their grocery business on Savannah Road in Lewes. to about 20 now," said Lloyd. Bob Fisher's worked with the Purcells for 20 years. "He's been in the grocery business for more years than Lloyd," said Dottie. "Bobby said he used to stand on a Coke crate at Jack Brittingham's Market on Lewes Beach when he was six years old and checked out customers." Lots of familiar faces Other familiar faces at Lloyd's for many years include Susan Fisher, 18 years; Becky Rohlfing, 18 years; Grace Jackson, 14 years; and Mike Toohey, 11 years. "And we've had lots of employ- ees that have been with us for a while who move on to other things," said Dottle "They come back to visit us from time to time and tell us bow they're doing. Todd Seeney went on to the Delaware State Police, Jack Arm- strong's a DJ now, Phillip Tol- bert's big into computers, Richard Perez is a police officer in Seaford, Matt Karol's a captain in the Air Force, Michael Lawton's with the Air Force special services in Washington; and Donnie Bur- ton's in the masonry business. Of course Lillian Osada [who checked out customers and shared family news for years at Lloyd's] was with us for years before retir- ing." As a member of the Indepen- dent Grocer's Association (IGA), Lloyd's buys groceries wholesale through large distributors at good prices. "But we buy as much pro- duce locally as possible," said Dottie, "including Freeman eom in the summer. We also buy Mil- ton scrapple and Kirby and Hol- loway products locally as well as local poultry." IGA customers rely on Lloyd's keeping his larders stocked'go they don't have to. "Our cus- tomers don't come in just once a week for a big shopping trip," said Dottie. "We see them three, four, even five times a week." She and Lloyd said that's one of the reasons they're having their Silver Anniversary celebration. Continued on page 44 Beat the cost of education with alternatives Yikes! We've all read the hor- rific statistics projecting the costs of college tuition in the 21st cen- tury. There is a lot of talk about the escalating price of education. Per- haps too much talk and not enough action. Kudos go to those who've been faithfully saving money for higher education. However, if your hard- earned are sitting in an ordinary savings account, you may not be earning the most bang for your buck. Often, the products sponsored by insurance companies and other institutions may offer more com- petitive returns in terms of total returns, cash value build-up or interest rates. Here are a few alter- native strategies that you can use to fund your child's education: Stock and/or bond mutual FINANCIAL FOCUS funds are appropriate to fund edu- cation when you have five or more years before your child needs to pay tuition. Mutual funds offer potentially greater returns than other savings account vehicles and provide diversification, profes- sional management and liquidity. Money market funds are the most suitable vehicles for children ages 15-17 because they are liquid investments with stability of prin- ciple. U.S. savings bondsprovide income which is exempt from all state and local taxes until redeemed. In fact, interest on the bonds may be completely tax free if cashed in to pay tuition costs (depending upon parents' adjusted gross income and ownership of bonds) Permanent life insurance has the advantage of accumulating assets on a tax-deferred basis; it's a self-completing plan in the event the insured dies; and withdrawals from life insurance can be tax- free. (Any excess beyond premi- ums paid is taxable.) Scholarships may be available to students with strong academic records or other exceptional abili- ties. Check with your child's high school guidance counselor for more information on opportunities for merit based scholarships as well as scholarships based on financial need. Loans offer other options for looming tuition bills. Many stu- dents are eligible for Stafford stu- dent loans, which are low-interest loans guaranteed against default by the federal government. If all else falls, consider a home equity loan. The interest on such loans generally can be deducted when used to pay post-high school edu- cation bills. Work-study programs on cam- pus also may be available to stu- dents. Since this is an issue facing your entire family, discuss with your child how he or she can reach education funding goals. So don't let the rising costs of tuition dis- courage you. Get started on your child's education fund today! Glenn Sholly is with the Luther- an Brotherhood, which provides these financial columns. Glenn Sholly