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Sally says goodbye as shop closes

From left: Outlet Store manager Amanda Sim, Annabelle Colvin and Sally Summers. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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After 70 years in the shoe selling industry, Sally Summers is preparing to step down as the Saunders Outlet store in Masterton will close later this month.

Saunders Shoes originally opened in Masterton in 1948 but the business moved to Greytown in 2016.

Summers helped open the outlet store almost 20 years ago and had spent close to a third of her career there.

She said she would be sad to finish up but felt it was time.

Having served multiple generations of Wairarapa families over the years, customers were like family to her.

“I’ve served the grandmothers and now I’m serving the great-grandkids. You just go through the family.

“I have had a lot of hugs and kisses and people coming in to say goodbye.”

She said she would miss the people most of all.

“I’ve made some lovely friends here.”

Even after retiring, Summers plans to keep working and is looking for a volunteer role somewhere in town.

She thanked her loyal customer base and husband Alan for their support over the years.

Her last bit of advice, “it’s a buyers’ market for shoes”.

Store owner Tracie Donald said it had been a difficult decision to close the outlet store, but it had been on the market for two years without success.

“It’s been quite hard and an emotional decision,” she said.

“I feel very close to our customers and this had been a huge, personal decision.

“It’s the end of the Saunders icon in Masterton but we’re still continuing in Greytown.”

Donald bought both stores due to the business’ reputation for selling good shoes.

“When I bought the business, I inherited the customer base and families.

“I was always very aware that I was taking on the role of a caretaker.”

The outlet store officially closes at the end of the month.

Some stock will be transferred to the Greytown store to sell, while any left over will be donated.

Customers are encouraged to come in and say their goodbyes, as well as find a new pair of shoes at greatly reduced prices.

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