By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY – Ron Fuller and his family have been pillars of the Amesbury downtown business community for more than a century, and with his retirement now imminent the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce is gathering people together to help give him a proper sendoff.
Friends, family, local politicians and members of the business community will be gathering at Jon Mooers Artists Gallery and Studio this Monday at 4:45 p.m. for a special ceremony to honor the Fullers and thank them for everything they’ve done, and after that’s over, the festivities will continue at Crave for the newly re-opened restaurant’s ribbon cutting.
Fuller is the fourth-generation owner of W.E. Fuller & Co., a men’s clothing shop which was opened in 1894 by Fuller’s great-grandfather, Warren Edward Fuller. Fuller first took over the business in 1970, and since then he has been a fixture in the community perhaps known best for his role with the Boy Scouts, for whom he is a nationally recognized leader.
After 43 years, Fuller decided to call it a career. He announced his retirement in early June and the store’s last day in business will be next Saturday.
Upon hearing the news, Jon Mooers, whose family has been friends with the Fullers for many years, reached out to the Chamber of Commerce, Fuller said. After that, Chamber director Melissa Lachance came to Fuller and suggested doing something in honor.
“He said he didn’t want anything, but people want to honor him and do something for him, since he’s been so important to the community,” Lachance said. “So I had to persuade him and eventually I got him to say, ‘sure why not.’”
Fuller joked that he would have rather gotten to quietly ride out into the sunset, but said that while he was initially reluctant, he eventually came around and agreed to let the Chamber do something for him.
“I kind of joked with her and said make it small, nothing big, I don’t want a big hoopla,” Fuller said. “But then the mayor comes in later and says, ‘oh we’re getting ready for our big thing next week.’”
Whether Fuller likes it or not, he’s getting a big hoopla. Lachance said more than 30 of Fuller’s family and friends will be in attendance, along with Mayor Thatcher Kezer and State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, who will both present him with citations of recognition.
After the event is over, everyone will move over for a reception at Crave, which will also double as a business after hours event for the Chamber. New restaurant owner Sean Toomey called Fuller an icon in town and said he’s excited to be hosting him for his first Chamber event.
“I was buying my prom tuxedos from him like 20 years ago, it’s sad that the winds of time have to blow and that Ron is retiring,” Toomey said. “But I feel very fortunate to be a new business owner in my hometown where I grew up holding my first Chamber event honoring someone who has been so successful in town for so many decades.”