Helping customers has kept Gerry Borer, 73, excited about going to work, whether at San-Mar Pharmacy or Rite Aid.
She retires today after 40 years.
"I started out as a clerk," she said, referring to San-Mar. "We had four children and we needed the money, it helped to subsidize the budget, and to keep busy. I started as a full-time employee there."
PHOTO BY CATHY WILLOUGHBY
Gerry Borer in a familiar place — behind the counter at Rite Aid.
Borer started up front, waiting on customers, then moved to the pharmacy, eventually doing bookkeeping.
"I worked with the utilities (payments) and the post office," Borer said. "Then I was promoted and did accounts payable. I did that until I came here - that was a full-time job."
"I was always busy, we did so much," she explained. "We cashed checks, took utility bills, there was lots of post office work. It was very, very busy...I loved San-Mar. I wished I had kept a log of all of the people I worked with. There were just oodles of people that I got to know."
When San-Mar was purchased by Rite Aid, Borer and about 12 other employees were promised jobs at the new store.
"I was promised a job, I was secure because I was considered a key person," she said. "I did start full time, then after I reached 62, I went to part time."
She does much of the work she did at San-Mar, bookkeeping and helping customers.
"I love to make people happy," Borer said. "Helping them when they are looking for something, then getting a smile from them. The best part of the job is the customers."
She often opens the store at 7 a.m. She collects utility information from machines, and balances those. If there is an error, she must find the discrepancy - a bit of detective work she enjoys.
"There can be as many as 400 utility payments, and the first part of the month is the busiest," she said. "At San-Mar, we would get about 1,000 utility payments to keep track of. There are not very many places that do it, and we are the only place that does Ohio-American Water. No other place takes that in."
After doing deposits, she helps co-workers wait on customers, put merchandise away or unload trucks.
Some changes over the years include computerized cash registers and using computers to record utility payments.
"And now we scan the products. Before, everything had to be priced, and back then we learned to make change," Borer said.
She has seen many customers grow up, and some pass away. Often someone will recognize her from her work at San-Mar.
"Someone will come in and say, 'Didn't you work for San-Mar?'''she said. "They remember me faster than I remember them. It's nice to see a familiar face. And it's sad to see how many have died."
"At San Mar they used to deliver orders, and I used to collect their orders," Borer said. "So you get to know them. One lady was so nice ... Sometimes they just needed somebody to talk to."
Connie Woods, store manager, moved with Borer from San-Mar Pharmacy.
"She is an excellent role model," she said. "She's a good example, she's good with customers and she's conscientious about her work."
"I will miss her," Woods added.
Borer said it took some time to realize it was time to retire.
"I made up my mind this year," she said, citing some medical concerns. "I want time to spend with my husband and family."
"I know my whole family will be happy," Borer said. "I have seven grandchildren and I really enjoy them.
"We like getting together on weekends. Now we can make plans - I don't have to worry about work anymore."