Savers opens new store in Marlborough
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – Nearly 100 shoppers joined city officials June 12 to celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Savers Thrift Store in the 222 Boston Post Road Plaza (Route 20). Also present was Ken Alterman, the company’s president and CEO, who flew in from Seattle for the event.
Before the store officially opened for the day, Alterman greeted those gathered, including the store’s employees, and spoke a bit about the company’s background and shared some statistics.
Savers, Inc., founded in 1954, is a privately held for-profit international thrift store chain with locations in 31 states as well as some in Canada and Australia. The Marlborough store is the 337th location and the 15th to open in Massachusetts. Savers’ business model is that it offers a local charity a place for clothing to be donated at each of its stores. The company then purchases and resells those items. But nearly ¾ of the items are never sold, he noted, but rather are donated to third world nations.
“We are the largest provider of used clothing to developing countries,” he added. “We were green before we knew green was good.”
The Marlborough store’s nonprofit partner is the Epilepsy Foundation of New England.
William Braunlich, the organization’s treasurer, thanked Alterman and said the relationship actually was a “three-legged stool.”
“The donor gets a tax receipt, the foundation sells the goods to Savers and Savers gets relatively low-cost goods,” he said.
“So I want you to be the most successful store – sell, sell, sell!” he told the employees.
In an interview after the ribbon cutting, Alterman acknowledged that there had been a “few hurdles” to clear with city officials in order to open the new store.
“It hasn’t always been easy but I appreciate their efforts because I know how much they care about their city,” he said. “And I have to say, out of all the grand openings I have done, this one has had the most officials present. That shows me how much they care.”
Marlborough was an ideal site, he said, for a new store.
“We look for places with a broad economic area, places with a strong work ethic,” he said.
“Our demographic is the middle-income,” he added. “We appeal to people who need to shop and to those who want to shop, who are looking for a bargain.”
Alterman noted that thrift is an “understood” concept to many. Savers stores are “clean, organized, and well-merchandized,” he said, with a large turnover of items.
“Most items are sold within the first 10 days,” he said. “The entire store turns over every three weeks.”
What also sets Savers apart from many other second-hand stores is the partnership they have with charities.
“We have about 200 partnerships among our locations,” he said. “They love it – once you’re in, you’ll never want to leave!”
Roger Gauthier, the store’s manager, noted that the store has hired 60 people, with the majority being full-time.
“About 85 percent of them are from Marlborough or Hudson,” he added.
By the time the store officially opened at 9 a.m., the line of anxious shoppers stretched down the entire sidewalk of the plaza. First in line were Kaia Fye of Wayland and Patty Soobitski of Charlton. The women noted that they had shopped at several of the chain’s other locations and were excited that one was opening in Marlborough.
“Like everyone, we’re just here because we like a good bargain!” Fye said.
The new store is located at 222A E. Main St. It is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit www.savers.com for more information.
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