Marzella Fox got teary-eyed after she walked into the Bibbentuckers laundry and dry cleaning store off Hillcrest Avenue in Snider Plaza on Monday morning and saw that about 30 people were waiting to greet her.
Marzella recently sold her family's University Park-based dry cleaning store, Turner's Cleaners, and is joining the Bibbentuckers team, so a surprise party was hosted in honor of her and her transition, which many of Marzella's friends and loyal customers attended to show their support.
Marzella and her husband Jay owned and operated Turner's Cleaners, which was located just north of Burger House in Snider Plaza, for almost 30 years, but Jay passed away toward the end of May, so Marzella decided it was time to sell the company.
Bibbentuckers, which has a location about a block south of Turner's Cleaners in Snider Plaza, purchased the dry cleaner and offered Marzella an opportunity to work as many hours as she would like at the Snider Plaza store, so she can stay connected to community, which she has served for nearly three decades.
"In the years that Jay and I worked (at Turner's Cleaners), we saw guys grow up, go to college and have families," Marzella said. "It's been wonderful. I'm very excited about being able to continue on in the community."
At the party, some of the attendees brought Marzella flowers and cards, and many offered words of encouragement and gratitude to Marzella for her years of service in the community.
John Palms, the president and CEO of Bibbentuckers, said Marzella is going to be a huge asset to the company, and the amount of people who showed up to the surprise party is a testament to not only her as a businesswoman who focuses on customer service but also her as person, because she is loved by the community.
"Everything she's done in her life has been first class with a lot of devotion," Palms said.
Diana Griggs, a general manager for Bibbentuckers, said it is a "blessing" that Marzella is joining the company, and she looks forward to not only working with Marzella but also developing a friendship with her.
"She is just such a sweet lady," Griggs said. "I've already grown to love her."
Having opened in the 1940s, Turner's Cleaners established a strong reputation in the Park Cities for its quality and service throughout the years. Jay Fox's mother owned the location for the 15 years prior to Jay and Marzella.