“I appreciate what you’re trying to do, writing about us Westover merchants to help us all stay in business,” Kristy Peterkin said. “But I’d prefer that you focus on the restaurants and many other businesses here that aren’t doing as well or closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Peterkin and her brother manage Ayers Variety and Hardware, the indispensable emporium that has anchored our Westover Village shopping center for many decades. 

Peterkin reminded a visitor that while the July 8 monsoon last summer was “devastating” to Ayers’ inventory and obliged the store to spend nearly $100,000 to restore and upgrade its pumps and generator, Ayers has fared better in the current pandemic.

 “Our customers have brought us a lot of business this spring,” Peterkin said. “Coronavirus has most affected our staff. Of 17 part- and full-time staff, ten of them decided – or their parents decided – that they shouldn’t risk their health by coming in to work.” 

Some staff are beginning to return now, but the store has maintained reduced hours and has been closed Tuesdays. Ayers has been accepting call-in orders and staff have cheerfully loaded customers’ purchases into their cars. 

You can get in touch with Peterkin at ayersvariety@hotmail.com.

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