BRANTINGHAM — James C. Mercer, 80 husband of Linda, passed away at his residence on Monday, August 19, 2019.
He was born in Deferiet, NY on September 22, 1938, a son of Earl and Gladys Biccum Mercer. Jim grew up in Philadelphia, NY, before moving to Boonville as a youth later graduating from Boonville Central School, with the Class of 1956. From 1957 until his honorable discharge in 1961 Mr. Mercer served his country in the US Air Force.
From the age of 12, and continuing throughout his high school years, Jim was employed in the operation of Mercer’s Dairy, a dairy processing and ice cream business of Boonville, founded by his father, Earl. After serving his country, Mr. Mercer returned to Boonville and for a time he was employed in his family’s business.
Later Mr. Mercer separated from his family’s business, becoming a respected entrepreneur who founded Bon Fare grocery and gasoline stores, a first of its kind and unique chain of grocery and gasoline stores in central, northern and eastern New York State. As an early adopter of technology, his stores were the first in the U.S. to introduce scanning of merchandise at the checkout and Jim became an expert in developing strategies to increase store sales. Mr. Mercer was also a pioneer in promoting “self-serve” gasoline at his stores.
From its small beginnings in Boonville, NY, in 1968, the Bon Fare Grocery and Gasoline Store Chains grew from a chain of 3 stores, into a chain store company of 79 grocery and gasoline stores in central and northern New York. In 1994, Mr. Mercer sold his Bon Fare Company to Stewarts Ice Cream Company of Saratoga, NY.
In his retirement years he developed a time management program and consulted with convenience store chain owners across America and Australia to improve their sales and profitability.
Mr. Mercer attended St. Joseph’s Church, Boonville. He was a founding member of the Saratoga Foundation and served as Chairman of the Board of New York Food Merchants Association, a member of The American Legion, involved with the Boy Scouts of America, The Boonville Fair and The Woodsmen’s Field Days. He greatly enjoyed fishing and taking fishing trips with friends on lakes in Upper Canada, working together on projects with his wife, Linda.
On June 23, 1990, Jim was married to Linda Spooner, at the Shaker Ridge Country Club, Albany.
In addition to his wife, Linda, Jim is survived by his children, Patrick J. (Katrina) Mercer, Oneida, NY, Bonnie M. (Jerry) LaBarr, Wilton, NY and Jeffery J. Mercer, North Ridge, CA; seven grandchildren, Kayla, Megan, Jacob and Jordan Mercer, Ashley (Jonathan) Crouch, James and Morgan Labarr; three great-grandchildren, Jonathan and Colton Crouch and Mila LaBarr; and three sisters, Mary (Robert) Wetmore, Ruth (Robert) Martin, all of Largo, FL and Jane (Steve) Strickland, Seminole, FL; a sister-in-law, Betsy Mercer, Boonville; and nieces, nephews and cousins. Jim was predeceased by a brother, Robert, in 2015.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, Charles St. Boonville, where Rev. Thomas A. Ward. Pastor will officiate. Calling hours are Friday 4-7 p.m. at Trainor Funeral Home, Inc. 143 Schuyler St. Boonville. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.
For an online message of sympathy, please go to www.trainorfuneralhome.com.