Surplus Herby's founder succumbs to cancer

The founder of a retail store that grew to become a local icon died Monday.

John Cottrell, 69, started his retail career with ownership of a general store in Blue River as a young man. He established a surplus shop downtown, Surplus Supply, 40 years ago that would eventually become Surplus Herby's and expand to locations in Vernon and Williams Lake.

His family said Cottrell was diagnosed with cancer.

Peter Mutrie, general manager of the North Shore Business Improvement Area, called Cottrell a successful businessman who was a generous donor to community causes. He served on the board of the business improvement area.

"He was a city booster," Mutrie said today (Tuesday). "He served on my board, operated on the North Shore and was always there. He's going to be missed."

The Tranquille Road retailer that sells everything from army surplus to foam and food moved from downtown and adopted the Herby's moniker (John's middle name) 28 years ago. John's father opened Hungry Herbies in Cache Creek.

"He loved being around people and selling stuff," said Heather, one of three children. "He just loved giving people a good deal and getting that sale."

Heather recalled the family was devastated after a fire caused extensive damage to the store's stock. John, on the other hand, saw an opportunity for a fire sale.

Surplus Herby's remains a family run business. John's son, Mike Cottrell, is manager of Surplus Herby's, John never retired and typically spent five or six days a week at his store.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News