Marvel 'overwhelmed' by support

By Lynn R. Parks

On Monday morning, two days after shoppers crowded into his store in response to a call from the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce and the city of Seaford's Seaford Enhancement Team, Ron Marvel, owner of Burton Bros. in downtown Seaford was still feeling a little overwhelmed. "It was wonderful," said Marvel, whose store was founded in 1893. "I figure that we had about 1,000 people here. Throughout the day, we had more than 200 sales."

He was unable to say how much money the store took in on Saturday. "I'm still figuring that up," he said.

He did know that the store sold a lot of agate roasting pans, he said. Three customers bought seed pototoes. Hottest items were shovels, hoes, hoses and hose fittings and pesticides. "We pretty much sold things that people want to buy in the springtime," Marvel said.

The first customer in the store, there when it opened at 7:30 in the morning, was Ben Culver of Seaford, Marvel said. Among the items that Culver bought were a tomato cage and a hose caddy.

This was the first in what could become a regular event to encourage people to shop in downtown Seaford. Marvel said that even when his store isn't targeted, it will probably still benefit just from having more people downtown.

On Saturday, Marvel served donuts, cinnamon rolls and coffee from the downtown Seaford Dairy Bar restaurant. An area Girl Scout troop sold cookies and the Seaford Historical Society had an information table set up.

Burton Bros. clerk Tyler Phillips, Blades, just started to work at the store in January. He said that Saturday was the biggest day that he has seen there. He didn't know how many people he helped through the course of the day, but reckoned that it was in the dozens.

Not everyone who wanted to support the store was able to make it in that day. Several people who had been out of town stopped in on Monday to shop.

Other people sent their well-wishes by mail. Dr. Irene Talley of Wilmington, who read about the store in the paper, sent Marvel $20 and asked him to put it in the kitty.

"I'm ecstatic about this whole thing," Marvel said. At the same time, "it's extremely humbling," he added. "I saw people in here that I've never seen before. I also saw people I've known all my life, who wanted to come in on Saturday to support the store."

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