The clouds were painted in a thick grey billow that consumed the sun in its entirety. A cold breeze was present while the raindrops took their final rest on the cars and parking lot. It was what most Southern Californians would consider a case of bad weather.
In the midst of the gloominess, a light, through a woman by the name of Ivy Powell, illuminated the empty and well stocked aisles of the 99 Cents Only Store in Fullerton, bringing warmth to all who witnessed her beauty.
Her soft voice paved the way to smiles all around and stood out louder than the small crowd that cheered and occasionally shouted, “It’s all about you Ivy!”
The 99 Cents Only Store celebrated Powell’s birthday on Friday at 7 a.m. by allowing her to participate in their 99-Second Shopping Spree after she turned 99 years old on Jan. 16.
With the store all to themselves Powell’s son, Larry Lawrence and granddaughter, Rhonda McLaughlin were amongst the crowd along with Hugh and Anne Stone owners of the Acacia Villas, an independent and assisted living home in which Powell resides.
“I am very pleased that the 99 Cents Store and Acacia Villas would do this for my mother,” Lawrence said. “She’s been talking about this for the past 6 months and it’s been a very pleasant experience.”
The shopping spree was originally set for 99 seconds until Maider Izeta, Communication Specialist for the 99 Cents Only Store and coordinator of the celebration, decided to allow Powell to fill up a shopping cart all the way.
The change allowed ample time for Powell to tell Papa Joe Aviance, the 99 Cent Only Store Brand Ambassador, what to grab and put into her cart while McLaughlin pushed her down the aisles in the comfort of her own wheel chair.
“It’s a wish come true for her,” Anne Stone said. “It’s very generous of 99 to do this for Ivy. It’s positive for the community that they reach out to the neighborhood and it’s exactly what they stand for.”
A semi-full shopping cart rolled up to the only lit up register, filled with items such as paper towels, canned fruit, a measuring spoon and a butterfly calendar and much more.
As the cashier scanned each item Powell slowly reached over to her coin purse that McLaughlin was holding and grabbed out her money to pay. Aviance had to remind her that the event was entirely for her and the shopping spree was free.
At $105 and 84 cents the crowd cheered while Powell held up the long receipt.
They made their way to the birthday cake where they sang happy birthday and Powell was presented with a Certificate of Congratulations from Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee’s wife, Paulette along with a Certificate of Recognition from Izeta and the 99 Cents Only Store.
“This is all so wonderful, I didn’t think this would happen to me,” Powell said. I’m excited and a little embarrassed to accept everything like this because I never had anything like this in my life.”
Powell is a 20 year Fullerton resident with 2 children and a total of 23 grand, great and great-great-grandchildren.
The shopping spree is celebrated for multiple causes according to Izeta and it is the fifth celebration the 99 Cents Only Store has held. It is the first time it has occurred in Orange County while the prior four took place in Los Angeles County.
“She is a loyal customer and it is a pleasure to put this together for her,” Izeta said. “It’s something different and a fun morning for all of us. I mean it’s not every day you get to turn 99.”