Canadian Tire store getting thumbs up

The new Canadian Tire store in west Fort Frances opened its doors Thursday morning and the business hasn’t slowed down yet—nor the overwhelming feedback.
“It’s been great,” owner Angus McDonald said Tuesday afternoon. “The comments have been very, very positive.
“People are so excited to see it. I don’t they expected it to be quite so bright, so modern,” he added. “This is the fifth store I’ve built. And I’ve never had so many nice comments from customers before.”
McDonald noted there are several significant differences between the old and the new stores, besides the two most obvious: the new building features 35,600 square feet of retail space, compared to 14,000 in the old one.
And secondly, it includes a Mark’s Work Wearhouse.
One of the other differences is the much broader range of products being sold, whether it’s clothing, footwear, rugs, toys, tools, automotive parts, furniture, or things for your garden and yard.
The store has even double its selection of hockey equipment and skates for this winter.
Another difference is the displays. For instance, while the old store might have sold faucets in packages on the shelf, the new one has displays actually showing what the faucets look like installed in a sink.
Still another is “flyer representation”—in other words, having in stock what customers see in the flyers they get in their mailboxes.
“There should only be maybe one or two items that I won’t have, unless I make a mistake ordering,” chuckled McDonald.
He also said customers have been pleased with the wider aisles, which are much easier for handicapped people to use.
McDonald also felt his new store is “a nice addition to the town,” and that while he realizes he’s competing with other local businesses, he hopes the store will help keep people working and shopping in Fort Frances, and thus help the business community as a whole.
McDonald moved here in late June with his wife, Margaret, and their 13-year-old daughter, Melissa, after purchasing the old store from former owner Bart White.
They came from St. Marys, Ont., a small town of 6,500 near Stratford, where he owned a Canadian Tire store.
Prior to that, he was Central Canada district manager for Home Depot for four years and also spent 17 years at Canadian Tire—13 of which he was a general manager.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “soft” opening was held at 8 a.m. last Thursday, but a grand opening celebration is slated Thursday through Sunday.
Doors will open at 7 a.m. on Thursday, with numerous draws for prizes and specials throughout the four days.
Likewise, Crystal Lindal, store manager at Mark’s Work Wearhouse, which is connected to the new Canadian Tire, has seen many customers come through its doors over the past week.
“It’s been extremely successful,” she remarked Tuesday afternoon. “It’s been a delight to bring this store to Fort Frances, to bring this merchandise to Fort Frances.
“People’s reactions have been, ‘Wow, it’s so nice to have Mark’s and Canadian Tire together.’ They really find it convenient,” added Lindal.
She noted customers also have commented on the store’s layout, which is very similar to that in all Mark Work Wearhouse locations.
“Some people have said it makes them feel like they’re in Winnipeg, like they’ve gone away for the weekend,” she smiled. “One guy said he expected to walk out the door and see his RV in the parking lot because he felt like he was on vacation.”
Lindal explained for those who haven’t checked out the store yet that Mark’s Work Wearhouse carries a wide range of men’s and women’s clothing, the latter of which has been selling particularly well since the opening.
“The Carhartt’s been doing well, too,” said Lindal, adding she’s expecting more Carhartt merchandise being stocked there in the near future, making for one of the largest suppliers of that brand from here to Winnipeg.
“We’ll even have more than some of the stores in Winnipeg,” she noted.
McDonald called Mark’s Work Wearhouse “a great addition” to the Canadian Tire store and the community.