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Sam Gendy sees ‘great potential’ in PAB

Sam Gendy at the Canadian Tire booth during Port aux Basques Lifestyle Expo. – © Jaymie White / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

PORT AUX BASQUES — According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as of Jan. 2023, the province’s population was standing strong at 531,948, which was the highest quarterly level since the fourth quarter of 1999. Between Jan. 2022 and Jan. 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador experienced a population increase of 9,447 people, the highest for a calendar year since 1972. While the majority of people come to the province settle in urban centres like St. John’s, some make their way to smaller communities like the new owners of Canadian Tire in Port aux Basques. “There are a lot of great things about Port aux Basques. We really love it here and first, I would say about the people, the people are really great. We enjoy working and dealing with people here. It’s a really nice, quiet area. The ocean is around us everywhere and the water is very peaceful, very quiet,” said Sam Gendy. “The most important thing is that we believe there is a lot of potential here. People here need to see more fun activities, more action in the community, and I believe that’s a big part of why we are here.” Even though Canadian Tire is already a household name on its own, Gendy is making sure to keep the community as his central focus. “I know everybody knows Canadian Tire, but I believe that I want to be part of this community. That’s important for me. We love everything around here. We enjoy our time, fishing, boating, and all of this is a big advantage that we see.” After coming to the Southwest coast and experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Fiona, Gendy is even more steadfast in his appreciation for those around him. “After Fiona, I believe the people and the youth, the kids, need a lot of help and need a lot of attention. That’s why we try to bring more sports and more fun activities to the kids. We believe they deserve a little bit more than what they have now and that’s a portion of why we are here,” said Gendy. “This community, going through a disaster like Fiona, and they’re still positive! Everything is positive, and that’s why I believe in community involvement, getting engaged with people. I don’t need to be here (at the Port aux Basques Lifestyle Expo). Everyone knows my store. Everyone knows what I’m selling, but I think it’s the right thing to do to be part of this community.” When Gendy first arrived from Richmond Hill, Ontario, he could have chosen any number of businesses, but he chose Canadian Tire. “Canadian Tire is part of Canada. Everybody that you ask about Canadian Tire, they will have a memory, something that they remember like their first bike, first skates, first fishing rod, and that’s important to me, being part of that Canadian community, to make sure that we continue to earn the customer’s trust for Canadian Tire,” said Gendy. “Canadian Tire is a big name and it’s very successful. We are backed by a huge corporation that’s been around for 100 years. How many companies, not just in Canada, but in the world, last 100 years? They’re strong.” One of the aspects Gendy appreciates most about the corporation is its dedication to charity. “Jumpstart is a charitable arm of Canadian Tire and that’s something we are proud to be a part of because, again, it’s about the youth. Jumpstart is mainly focusing on youth and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do, with Jumpstart, a little bit more for the community,” said Gendy. “All my life I’ve been involved into more charitable and community activities and the second thing is I think Port aux Basques is a great community with great people, and I see a lot of potential in Port aux Basques.” Even though he loves the town he now calls home, Gendy hopes to see it progress even further. “I’d like to see people stay locally more, rather than having to drive an hour and a half or two hours to go and see a doctor, buy something. I think they deserve to see more, and by having more activities like this, I think there will be more people looking at Port aux Basques in a good way, a positive way. I think that will bring in more business and more businesses moving in, the bigger community we can build,” explained Gendy. His experience so far in Port aux Basques has been a positive one. “So far so good. We enjoy it. The first week I was here we participated in the Santa parade, and it was actually the first time ever for Canadian Tire,” shared Gendy. “We’re trying to get more involved. We’re trying to partner with the arena here. We’re trying to partner with the Town, to see what we can do for the community and, to be honest, I think that the community was starting to feel like Canadian Tire was there, but moving forward, there has to be more.” The feedback from their customers seems to be just as constructive. “We love our customers and we’ve got a lot of good comments right now, either verbally or on social media,” said Gendy. “Customers are basically telling us that they feel there is a difference. We’re trying to make sure we get as much in stock as we can for them so that customers don’t have to travel. Even if there is someone needing for a product that we don’t carry, we make sure that we order it in for that customer. We do our best to do as much as we can and we hope that the positive relationship between Canadian Tire, me personally, and the community continues to grow.” Overall, Gendy looks forward to continuing to serve the community of Port aux Basques for a long time to come. “People appreciate when you do something. They do appreciate it, and we want to make sure people are looking at Canadian Tire positively, the same way they are looking at the community, in a very positive and a very exciting way,” said Gendy. “We want to build that bond together, as Canadian Tire and as a community, because it’s not about the business. It’s more about what we can do for the community. Business is important, but at the same time, we need to make a difference where we are. That’s the most important thing.”

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