Devlin’s Corner Store bursting with growth

By Robin McCormick
Devlin Correspondent

Devin’s Corner Store is bursting with growth. Proprietor Melanie Geroy (or Melanie Allen as many of us still know her) was very happy to share with me that she never thought she would own a business. It was a childhood favourite game, she played with her cousin Stacy, called “office”.

Melanie purchased the store from her Dad Roger Allen in July 2017. Melanie feels once a person is in business for themselves they think differently and their outlook changes. She always thought having a job with benefits and pension was the key, which has served her well in her other position – 2023 will mark 20 years as a paramedic. But business owners get to make decisions that are exciting, and can change the business’ course by leaps and bounds if they dare, she said.

It’s been four years since Melanie’s purchase. There is always something on her to do list but she doesn’t feel that it’s work. She says her “staff are phenomenal, they all seem to go the extra mile if needed.”

Melanie’s family is always ready to give a helping hand. The guidance from her Dad comes with 20 years of experience owning the store; they speak almost daily of the business.

Business at the store has been great, though half of the time she’s owned the store has been navigating through the challenges of Covid. Goals have been hard to set in the pandemic and Melanie is still wondering where they are, in realizing the potential of the store. However, one factor she knew was limiting their growth was a lack of space.

The addition that has started will be warehouse with living quarters and office space above. Melanie may change some of the operations of the store for smoother running once the addition is complete. Foot traffic through the store is higher than ever after adding lottery and Purolator services. Getting people in is key to allow them to see what they have. Home baked daily items and frozen entrees such as lasagna are available. I know some of those ladies preparing the food and they are awesome, well seasoned cooks. The store carries confection items, in store made food in the lunch fridge, giftware, apparel, coolers, drink ware, and a great selection of grocery items. Devlin’s Corner Store tries to be the one stop shop when heading for a day of fun on the lake. I myself have often ran out of that one ingredient I need for a recipe, be it an instant pudding or croutons. I’ll phone the store and yes, they have it. I’ll ask them to set it aside for me, and always have service with a smile when I pick it up.

Melanie has been humbled at the amount of Devlin apparel they have sold. Tid bit of trivia… The original design was created by Melanie and her daughters on a napkin while out for supper one night. Melanie has ordered in so many shipments of apparel, that she decided to make a proposal to her daughter Erika that she open a shop and sell screen printing from herself and others. Melanie loves that Erika has caught the business bug. She hopes to one day create opportunity for her other two daughters that are up and coming. There is a new line of clothing coming out this spring which will be available on a website of its own and in the store. Melanie won’t say any more at this time regarding this but it will be launching soon.

Everyone always wants to know if there is going to be a restaurant in these buildings. Melanie will say food is a tough go. She was present for the launch of Chester Chicken many years ago and she knows it did well on weekends but during the week it was not profitable. With increased foot traffic though the store, it’s debatable on future success. She would love to offer dine in, but she just hasn’t secured the right venue or operation yet.

Melanie recently purchased the lot in Devlin in which everyone sees the cleanup of what was the Devlin Garage. As a business owner in Devlin first and foremost she feels the obligation to help clean it up. Residents of Devlin have made it known they are thrilled to see it change. The property was the first thing you see as you are westbound on Highway 11. It is an odd shaped lot but front row centre in Devlin. At this time Melanie is not sure exactly what it will be as she realizes there are some limitations. Melanie’s Dad Roger is doing the clean up on site which he is finding interesting. He told her one time he wanted to own that Devlin Garage but it wasn’t possible at the time. Melanie shared with me, ”I won’t get started on much regarding the garage other than the clean up until the addition at the store is complete.” She’s sure it will become more clear and present itself in time, it’s always good to see potential and be a step ahead of the game. Melanie would like to thank those who support her business and our community would like to thank Melanie for her excellent standard, and for making our community a better place because of what you offer each and every one of us!