By Breanne Massey
The value of creating a positive customer experience at the point of sale is the business philosophy the Cote family is hoping to bring to the Upper Columbia Valley.
Jeff Cote and his wife, Jaimie, recently became the new owners of Canadian Tire in Invermere on February 12th after leaving their Canadian Tire storefront in Ontario where they served the community for two years.
We moved here from a little town called Forest where we owned our first Canadian Tire store, said Mr. Cote. He and his wife began managing the Ontario location on September 4th, 2013.
The way the Canadian Tire dealer network works is that after you spend two years in a store, youre allowed to start looking at going to a larger store of your choosing if it becomes available and this store (in the Columbia Valley) became available when the owners took a store in New Brunswick, he said. We never thought that wed get the opportunity to come to a place like this, so when it was presented to us, we very quickly jumped on a plane and came down here. We were immediately taken by the scenery and having a nice new store, and we could tell very quickly that there was a great staff here and everybody in town seemed very welcoming. One of the benefits of being a Canadian Tire dealer is that, if you choose to, you get to see the country.
Canadian Tire is a national retailer that stocks and sells sporting goods, hardware, electronics, housewares, garden and patio supplies and auto accessories.
Im a homegrown retailer all Ive ever done my entire career is retail, said Mr. Cote, adding he spent 16 years working at Loblaws and six years working at Lowes.
When it comes to retail, I love presenting to my customers a full clean store so we made some pretty significant changes already to the store, from bringing in a ton of new items to keep it fresh for the customer all the time. Were continuing to expand the assortment every week to be successful in retail, you have to be aggressive so were bringing in a bunch of new businesses.
In addition, the Cotes will be bringing in new items for hunters such as firearms and hunting accessories.
Were going to be carrying a full line of firearms, which we currently dont have, said Mr. Cote. Were going to have expanded hunting accessories to really give a pro shop feel to the store.
He emphasized this is not the only change the community can expect to see.
For the past four years, the store hasnt been licensed to do ICBC inspections, but we are now, he said, adding there are ongoing expansions taking place on site. Weve added a new drive-thru soil (section) to make it more convenient for the customers to pick up heavy items. Well be right there to help load its a customer-centric mentality. I run my store the way I want to shop it.
He was pleased to see the existing staff embrace his hands-on approach and has already welcomed two new full-time staff and expects to hire some part-timers over the busy summer season.
I feel very fortunate to be a Canadian Tire dealer and I never take that for granted, he said. I want to pass that on to my staff so they can feel the passion that Jaimie and I have for the business when they are exuding that passion as well. I really hope the customers see and feel the difference in the store.
But above all, the Cotes are excited at starting the next chapter of their lives in the Columbia Valley.
We never ever thought that we would have an opportunity to raise our children in B.C. and it was an opportunity that we just couldnt pass up, said Mr. Cote, while adding his family enjoys living in small communities. Were small-town people and thats how we want to raise our kids.
The Cote family is eager to make the most of living near Lake Windermere and skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort.
Everything is just perfect for us, he said, while articulating a strong desire to be involved in the outdoors.