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Holiday Guide

Celebrating The Holidays with Canadian Tire

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It’s here, and it’s everywhere - the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas, and the holidays bring out the best in everyone. As you get ready with gifts for family and friends, you are also getting your house ready for potential guests coming to stay with you, or just to entertain. So we are taking you on a tour of Canadian Tire’s holiday section – where from gifts to house décor, there’s something for everyone at “Canada’s Christmas Store.”

The local Canadian Tire, which is the second busiest one in Canada for all sales is in downtown. This is the third location for the store since it started in the 1980s. A second “Outdoor Store” was added last year in April. Sitting at about 12,000 square feet, the store carries fishing, camping, firearms, and camping merchandise, to name a few items.

Joanna Goc is the store manager for the main location. She speaks about priorities for the store during their busiest season.

“Our focus is to ensure customers leave happy. This August we’ve launched a new program called ProActive. It is an inventory management software, which helps us quickly restock shelves; thereby ensuring customers don’t leave empty-handed. It also means less stress for our employees, so they can focus on customer service during the holidays,” explains Goc, who has been with the store for nine years.

Thanks to the software, and its smooth launch - the entire store, which is 55,000 square feet is filled twice a day by many of the 110 employees.

As for her personal take on the holidays, “Fort McMurray is home to me with my mom and sister here. I look forward to the holidays to relax with them,” added Goc, who hails from Poland.

Despite an RBC report predicting lower holiday sales for 2017 due to overspending last year at 51% - compared to 41 per cent in 2015 – and the largest majority of over-spenders – that’s 63 per cent living in the Prairies - Rob Martin, general manager of the local branch is confident sales will be strong.

“The Fort McMurray store has more Christmas sales than any other Canadian Tire in the country, with over $1M annually. We are a one-stop shop. Ranging from the handy person to the car lover, we have something for everyone on your list. We pride ourselves on having good, better, best of everything, and also for every budget. We are constantly upgrading according to the season, and keep up with the latest trends,” notes Martin, who has been in town for six years.

Speaking of trends, home decor, and furniture are relatively new to the Canadian Tire line-up, which has changed its inventory from just an “outdoors store.” Centrepieces, cushions, dishes, stylish furniture, accessories, window treatments, and artificial flowers plus plants are few of the sundry items adding to the décor line-up, complete with holiday motifs.

This evolution has come with the changing trends in Canadian shopping habits, and demographics. The store has introduced themes, and “colour of the season,” which for the curious, happens to be Alpine White this year. They dub it a “refreshing hue capturing the essence of crisp fallen snow and sparkling crystal accents.” There is also an emphasis on “Canadiana,” because of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

And, when it comes to the season, front and centre in the store nowadays are of course the Christmas trees. These are “lifelike magic,” made with real evergreen features. With over 50 varieties and sizes, you would surely find something aligning with your home décor.

In addition, laser light show items are also available at the store enabling digital lovers to decorate the house easily. Not to be forgotten are toys. Perennial favourites for the holidays, the inventory for toys at Canadian Tire has grown in the last 10 years. Martin explains.

“We have a Canadian exclusive with Disney. This often gives us an exclusive line-up as well. The big ones this December are Star Wars with the new movie out. Toys from the new Cars movie from this summer are huge too, and pretty much on everyone’s radar.”

Giving back to the community is also near and dear to Canadian Tire. Throughout the year the store supports as many groups as possible.

“Whether it is providing a table at the front of the store for a group to sell raffle tickets or providing space for a charitable BBQ or an auction item for any giving event, we try and help everyone. Some of those groups include Jumpstart, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YMCA, Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo, both school boards, Waypoints and many sports associations,” Martin notes.

“When it comes to Christmas specifically we support the Keyano Gala, Festival of Trees in support of the Northern Lights Health Foundation and the Salvation Army Kettle program. Many of our staff are involved in the Santa’s Anonymous program. Also throughout the year, the staff donates to a Food Bank Fund and during the holidays the business matches all funds raised by staff and donate it the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.”

Personally, the holidays are a “reason to get together, and slow down for a day or two,” for Martin, who has been in Fort McMurray for six years, and moved from Ontario.

Another Ontarian on the Canadian Tire team is Ray McDonald, the owner of the local store for two years. Prior to this he owned Canadian Tire stores in Ontario, and was with the Canadian Tire Corporation head office as senior vice president for seven years. Holidays at the store mean a special time for him.

“The breadth of our products is special. When you think of Christmas, and holidays it encompasses a lot in someone’s house. We touch on housewares, toys, décor, and so much more. We give our customers an experience. Whether it’s fall, or Christmas, we give you that experience in-store. We also offer customers a different online experience. There are added suggested items with video tutorials.”

“We are re-inventing our business successfully while staying true to our basics. The Canadian Tire way is to provide the products and services for the jobs and joys in Canada,” McDonald says.

Indeed, for all the jobs and joys that come for the holidays, Canadian Tire is your first choice. Stop by today, and see how the friendly and helpful staff can assist you. After all, it’s your “Christmas Store.”


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.