Canadian Tire under new ownership

The new Canadian Tire store in west Fort Frances is set to open Oct. 13 under the experienced watch of new owner Angus McDonald.
McDonald moved here two weeks ago with his wife, Margaret, and their 13-year-old daughter, Melissa, after purchasing the local 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.
Now he’s made the move to Fort Frances, bringing with him his expertise to help open the new store.
“I came for the opportunity,” said McDonald. “It’s a bigger store and a new building.”
This is the family’s first time in Fort Frances. They came up at the end of May to look around before they moved.
“It’s my kind of country,” McDonald said. “Both myself and my family, we love the outdoors, fishing, boating, just this type of environment.”
McDonald had had enough of the city. He had always lived in rural areas just outside of cities, but now, he says, this is home.
“The demographics of it, I think, are ideal for a business,” he said. “The landscape of it, the way the lakes are surrounding—this is the kind of place we used to come to on holidays.
“And now I’m living here!” McDonald laughed.
The new building here also is setting a precedent for Canadian Tire as the first “20/20 concept-combo” store in the country.
“All the 20/20 really stands for is that it’s got a different shopping pattern than a typical Canadian Tire store,” McDonald explained. “They moved some things around and made it flow a little bit better, and make it a little more of a shopping experience when you come in.
“That’s one of the reasons why they’re making the store bigger—is that the aisles are a little bit wider and the store is a little bit brighter and ceilings are taller.”
This new concept store has been built before (one in Collingwood recently opened), but it has never been done with a Mark’s Work Wearhouse inside it.
The new building will feature 36,000 square feet of retail space, compared to 14,000 in the old store.
A small selection of office equipment will be moving over and some of the technician’s equipment, McDonald said, but about 95 percent of it will be brand new.
In addition to the items Canadian Tire has offered in the past, clothing and footwear will be increased dramatically at the new store, as will the depth of the selection.
There also will be a full-fledged 6,500-foot “garden centre” in a greenhouse built on the end of building.
“I think it’s going to be unbelievable, that’s why I’m here,” said McDonald, laughing. “This is going to be a little bit different, a different flare to it, lots of colour, lots of dynamics and graphics and stuff.
“With Mark’s [Work Wearhouse] being built inside of it, it’s going to have a different look all together,” he added. “I think it will take off really nicely.
“Wal-Mart coming in to town has got some people really excited, and now with the new Canadian Tire, I think it will be really good for the town,” McDonald remarked.
Construction of the new building, being done by CCM Construction, is right on schedule for the mid-October opening, which will be creating between 30 and 35 new jobs.
Some of them will be temporary (to help get the store up and running), but there also will be permanent positions created—both full- and part-time.
“There is an enormous team of support to pull this thing together. It’s definitely not me that’s pulling this together,” stressed McDonald. “I mean, I’m an integral part of it, but there are two dozen other people who are integral parts of it.
“Canadian Tire has a tremendous amount of support to get this thing up and going.”