In a generation where it is the norm to switch career paths multiple times, Marcello Garofalo is defying that trend.
The owner/operator of the new Canadian Tire store opening in Oliver has worked for the company for 24 years.
“I started when I was 15 and worked there right through until all my schooling was done. Once I was finished I decided to take it a little more seriously and started my goal of becoming a Canadian Tire owner,” said Garofalo. “I love the business model and I’m a people person. Helping people is a passion of mine and I enjoy watching customers leave happy.”
Having worked in various departments and in a variety of stores in Ontario, when Garofalo got word that Oliver was available to him he didn’t hesitate. Garofalo moved into the community with his wife and children on Jan. 1.
“It’s a beautiful town and there are great people in it. Everyone is welcoming, accommodating and friendly. It has been a great transition so far and I look forward to a long time here,” said Garofalo.
The Canadian Tire store, located at Southwinds Crossing, was almost finished the construction stage as workers were busy stocking shelves and setting up the store last week. Through a job fair conducted by WorkZone, Garofalo saw around 200 applicants for the 35 available positions. If business picks up, Garofalo said he could add a few more employees. Of those hired, he said 85 to 90 per cent are Oliver residents. The remainder are from surrounding communities like Osoyoos, Penticton and Keremeos.
“That is the biggest thing. This has created 35 to 40 jobs that weren’t here before. For economic purposes, it is a benefit to the community and will help keep the dollars in Oliver and Osoyoos versus going outside. If we can keep people shopping in Oliver then the restaurants will thrive and so on and so forth. Next door there are a couple new businesses going up and that is going to create more jobs and mean more families will come and live in the community,” said Garofalo.
The grand opening of the Oliver Canadian Tire is slated for April 28. Garofalo said a soft opening was set for Feb. 24, but may be pushed into early March because of transportation schedules of the trucks bringing the merchandise being delayed from weather problems. While the store is considered of the small variety for Canadian Tire, it will have eight departments including general repair, gardening, automotive service and parts, sports and leisure, home decor, housewares and seasonal. In total it will have about 19,000 square feet of space including the garden centre and three-bay automotive department, one of which is specially designed to fit recreational vehicles. The building itself was constructed with the “smart concept,” with energy and water conservation practices kept in mind by using motion sensors for lighting in certain areas, in the bathrooms and by using energy-saving air conditioning units.
“The store is designed with Canadian Tire’s brand new decor package, so the signs are more vibrant and it is more consumer friendly in terms of how the store is divided up. It makes it easier to identify where the products are,” said Garofalo.
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