Foster’s discount home décor and party store in Glassboro is closing in November, and right now everything in the store is 50% off! I caught up with owner Ron recently, who is retiring.
Foster’s has been in business since 1965, located at 210 New St E just off of Delsea Drive.
It’s a home décor and party store with a variety of decoration items for the home.. inside and outside.
It’s organized, but also eclectic with a bit of a Berlin mart store vibe to it. The kind of place you can visit twice a week and find new things to buy in each visit.
Party supplies including decorations, party favors, plates, cups, banners and signs.
Home décor and crafts includes vases, picture frames, candles, seasonal artificial wreaths and flowers… and as the signage says out on the front wall; Ribbons and Lace.
Seasonal items play a big part of the Foster’s inventory, also.
The building itself I traced to around 1946 when it was opened as the Wilke Hosiery Mill. “A new plant 18 miles from Philadelphia”
Now there will be another new life for the building.
A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon hanging with owner Ron who is retiring.
And I quickly found out that in Glassboro, Foster’s is so much more than just a store.
Foster’s Glassboro : An Afternoon With Ron
I had never met Ron before in my life.
After an hour or two hanging out at his store and chatting with him, it felt like we were life long friends.
Which has so much more to say about Ron than me.
It’s clear that Ron is a people person. As in it’s probably the best part for him of owning and operating Foster’s for so many years.
Every customer that came in received an exuberant greeting, typically with a witty but corny joke in the mix.
He knew most of those who walked in and typically had some connecting piece of information “How did your party go last weekend?”
And it was clear his customers were there almost as much for Ron as they were for the store.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Ron” said one customer as she headed out the door, hands loaded with newly purchased merchandise.
What more could she buy tomorrow?
Well that’s an intriguing part of the Foster’s store. There is always something to be found that you didn’t see the day before.
And of course Ron will be there!
Everything is Great, But Everything has Changed
Rumors had been flying for a few years on social media that a well known fast-food chain was buying the property to develop a restaurant.
It would be a prime location for that considering the busy intersection at Delsea, and it’s proximity to the Rowan Boulevard student housing and the rest of Glassboro’s Delsea commercial district
But Ron says he has people interested in leasing the building as is for a different business use, and a new fast food restaurant is not in the cards.
“The rent from the building, downsizing my life, and my other savings should be enough for me to retire with”
It does seem like a well-deserved retirement, but then Ron is still very much full of energy.
Like the Energizer bunny it’s clear that Ron could keep at this for years!
So earlier I said the customers were one of the best parts of his experience at Foster’s.
Well there was one thing that made it even better for Ron.
Coming to work each day with his wife of 34 years, Evelyn.
Ron shared how much fun they had working with each other every day, even after decades of owning the store.
Every day was fun for the couple working at Foster’s. Joking with each other. Having fun with customers.
But sadly in 2018 Evelyn passed away. A very young 56 yrs old.
Ron says it was completely unexpected. One of those stories I’ve heard all too many times. He explained how life was great. Coming to the store every day with his beloved Evelyn, the store was more fun than work.
Then in a matter of weeks it all changed. There really was no warning.
Ron has kept the store going. He needed that to keep his mind busy.
But every day and every minute behind the counter at Foster’s is a memory of what was.
And the memories are wonderful! Ron shared several with me and the customers in the store.
But also… you realize things aren’t going back to the way they were.
Then in 2020 just two short years later… the Covid pandemic hit and the whole store experience changed even more. Ron moved to more online sales to keep the bills paid.
When the pandemic risks moved on… the store did fully reopened.
But the rock solid consistent experience he had for decades at Foster’s… was now different.
Store Retirement Party in November
During my visit two weeks ago the store was well stocked. Ron explains they have other buildings that were loaded with merchandise that he keeps bringing over into the store.
Everything in the store is marked 50% off to move it all out.
He hasn’t picked a final day to close the store, but it seems he wants it closed before Thanksgiving.
“I’m going to have a big retirement party in the store! Early November”
Ron says to follow along on their Facebook page where he’ll post updates on the store closing date and the party.
My stay at Foster’s was longer than I expected because Ron had a steady stream of customers coming in, and we both understood when a customer came it, Ron was giving them all the attention.
One customer asked, “What are you going to do in retirement Ron?”
“I’m going to motorcycle across the country on Route 66”, replied Ron
While I missed my chance to follow up with Ron on that… was he serious? It makes complete sense.
30 years working in the same store. Living in the same community. When it comes time to change things up, I could see Ron going big and bold.
Ron also shared he recently had an estate sale at his home, simply to reduce 35 years of collecting things, which we all do.
He’s as ready as he’ll ever be!
During our conversation Ron took a phone call.
It was his daughter.
Ron was doing 3 things at once and put her on speaker. I stepped a few feet away to give them some privacy but I heard some of the conversation. Surely this was a regular thing for the family.
She was telling Ron about an exciting experience she had while teaching. Connecting with a student.
It was clear she was excited and proud to share with her father.
And Ron responded with encouragement and congratulations.
I almost thought it was planned, ha! They knew the 42Freeway guy was there!
But clearly this is how Ron and the family go through life. Enjoying time with family and friends. Making every customer and person feel special.
But now it’s time for a new chapter for Ron and Foster’s. More like a whole new book!
Links and Location
Foster’s Glassboro – Closing in November
210 New Street East
Glassboro NJ 08028
Entrance is in the back at Charlotte Ave
Check Facebook for latest on sales, closing date, and retirement party!
Hours listed as Thurs-Sunday only (10-4) but check FB for updated information