The coming year will bring some exciting changes to the local Canadian Tire and improvements for customers’ overall shopping experience, says Powell River store owner Martin Leclercq.
Powell River newcomer Martin and his wife Valerie purchased the Powell River Canadian Tire store from John and Michelle Hodgkinson-Kristof in the fall. Martin has more than 15 years of experience owning and managing Canadian Tire stores. He and his family moved to Powell River from Edmonton.
“This is my third store as an owner; I owned a store in Nova Scotia then one in Alberta, which was larger than Powell River’s,” says Martin. “It's always been a dream to live by the ocean. We really look forward to making Powell River our forever home. It has everything we want.”
Martin says Valerie and their three children enjoy outdoor activities and are impressed with the wide variety of opportunities Powell River offers.
“It does rain a lot, but at least it's not cold,” he adds. “It's a beautiful place and the people are great. We have a bunch of projects planned for the store and we are looking forward to being a part of the community.”
Coming on as the store’s new owner, Martin says he was impressed with how well the store was managed and operated by the previous owner. He also has some ideas about how to improve the store for customers, he adds.
“We saw some areas where we know we can make it better,” says Martin. “This is about making some changes that make more sense for our customers.”
Plans include expanding the store’s garden centre, adding a hunting pro shop that sells firearms, making the assortment and the linears more relevant to the local market, and increasing the number of bargain-priced items in store.
The store’s administrators are engaged in a process to examine how space for products is currently being used and what potential improvements can be found, he explains. From a square footage perspective, Powell River is one of the smallest stores in the province, he adds.
Since the fall, the store has taken on more inventory storage space and more than $1 million in additional inventory in order to cut down on the number of rainchecks the store was having to give customers when they were not able to buy an advertised item due to the store being out of stock.
“Even though we're a smaller store, we want to make sure our customers can find what they looking for when they come in,” he says. “We're aiming to give them a similar shopping experience as they would get going to stores in larger centres.”
Martin adds that in order to show customers they can shop at the store with confidence it will have what they are looking for, he is offering a discount if the store has to give a raincheck.
“If we don't have it in-store we're offering 10 per cent off for our customers,” he says.
The change of ownership did not just bring one new family with children to Powell River, but several. After buying the store, Martin brought two of his managers, general manager Dan Harris and manager Wes Roy, and their families from Edmonton to help him run the new store. The new managers join the already strong management team of Cassie, Jennie, Taelor, Antonio, Natalie and Duffy in place at the store.
Martin says he is impressed with his new store team that includes many longtime employees.
“The store already had a really strong team so I'm really happy with the team in place here,” says Martin. “We have a great team with strong merchandisers and strong logistics people.”
Having a strong team will help the store make the changes in the coming year, he adds.
“We might be small, but we have what you're looking for,” he says.
Canadian Tire is located at 4720 Joyce Avenue in Powell River Town Centre Mall. Information about the store’s hours can be found at canadiantire.ca or by calling 604.485.4649.
Find and like the store on Facebook @CTPowellRiver.