Zay Zay & Zanders Dollar Plus now open
As Robert Stotts stood behind the cash wrap of his newly opened store, Zay Zay & Zanders Dollar Plus, he took a moment to reflect as he looked around the store.
“This was a dream,” he said.
Zay Zay & Zanders Dollar Plus recently opened and is located on 900 12th Street and features various items such as party supplies, kitchenware, houseware, school supplies, etc. They also provide helium balloons and color balloon strings of your choice.
Stotts has worked in management since he was 14 years old and he had former coworkers and associates tell him that he should open up his own store. The idea of opening a store made him nervous as he said but during the COVID-19 pandemic, he had time to think about it as well as his future. Not being treated as a human being helped fuel the idea even more.
“During the pandemic, it just gave me a lot of time to think about things and where I wanted to be. I was pretty much tired of being a number, treated like a number and I wanted to be treated like a human being,” Stotts said.
He also believed that an opportunity like this would give him more time to spend with his family as well as a long term goal, which is a common one for family-owned businesses.
“This is giving me more time to spend with my kids and my family if I open up a store and hopefully leave a legacy behind for them. At the same time, providing good customer service and treating employees like a human being and not just a number,” Stotts said.
While there are dollar stores such as Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and Dollar General, Stotts believes his store stands out from all of the other dollar stores because they want to be personable when it comes to the customers and their needs as well as price matching, which a lot of dollar stores do not have. With the price match offer, Stotts made it a point to let customers know every time they shop.
“We want to try to have everything that the customers want and also, we price match. If a customer wants to go out and purchase an item we have but we’re selling it for a higher price, all they have to do is bring us a picture of the bar code or price of the product and we’ll change it right away and we also throw in an extra ten percent with that,” Stotts said.
Prior to opening his own store, Stotts worked as a manager at a fast food restaurant in Atlantic City at 14, then was a floor supervisor at the casinos at 18 and then was in training to be a store manager at a Blockbuster at 20. From there, he worked for a big box retail company where a year into the job, he became a department and assistant store manager for about 14 to 15 years.
As a part of the store being a family owned business, Stotts’s mother works with him. While the store is going through the beginning stages of a new business, Stotts hopes for the store to pick up and when that happens, he can afford to hire more people to come work for him.
For a town like Hammonton that rallies around its small businesses, Stotts says it means a lot for the town to show plenty of support for him in hopes for the store to become successful.
“The feedback that I’ve been getting from the customers here means a lot. You know, everybody’s rooting for me and I feel like the town felt more excited than I was and I really do appreciate that,” Stotts smiled.
It also means how much it has allowed him to be with his children, especially since his past work schedules never gave him that opportunity.
“It just opened up a window for me to where as though I just have more time with my kids and that means a whole lot to me because I have an older kid, she’s 24 and I didn’t have that type of time to spend with her and I feel like I missed out on a lot. Now, I have an eight and two year old at home and I just feel like this is the best thing for us as a family to have more time and memories together,” Stotts said.
Zay Zay & Zanders Dollar Plus is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.