Two familiar faces retire from St. Stephen Canadian Tire, after a combined 73 years at the store

St. Stephen – Two familiar faces at the St. Stephen Canadian Tire, ones that have graced the store for a combined total of more than 70 years will soon be saying goodbye to the place they’ve spent their professional lives. General Manager Theresa Giddens and Store Manager Beth Daigle retired at the end of 2020, and although both ladies are looking forward to retirement, they will miss the people they have come to know as their extended family.

“I started at the old store,” said Giddens. “I started when we were over at Jean Coutu. That used to be Canadian Tire, and then 17 years ago they built the new store, which we thought was a huge, huge store compared to that tiny store. Now it’s like this could be twice as big. It’s crazy.”

Giddens said she has had many wonderful experiences during her 43 years of working at Canadian Tire. She has learned so much from her co-workers and customers, and she said you can learn so much just from listening to people.

“It’s amazing what they can teach you.”

Giddens said she and Daigle have worked under several store owners, most of whom have moved on to bigger stores in other areas.

“The way it works, is they stay so long, and then they’ll move on to a bigger store in an area they like. Then, we train them all over again (new owners). At least we like to think we do,” Giddens said with a chuckle.

Many people think retail work would be boring. Giddens said this is definitely not the case. She said from day to day, they never knew what they would be doing or who they would meet. Each day is a different day, and “that’s what makes it so exciting”.

Giddens, who’s last day was at the end of December, said she has mixed feelings about her retirement. She is looking forward to having more time for herself, and being able to do things when she wants, without having to work around a schedule. She is also looking forward to being able to spend more time with her family. But, she is also sad about leaving behind the many friends she has made while working at the store.

“After 43 years. I don’t think it will ever leave your blood if you’re in retail. It’s a family. We’re family. I told them ‘you guys will be tired of seeing me’.”

Daigle, who has been working at the store for 30 years, worked her last shift on New Year’s Eve day. She said she has had plenty of amazing experiences during her time, particularly when it comes to the customers. Not having been from St. Stephen originally, Daigle said she’s had the pleasure of meeting many people through her job.

“You meet new people every day,” said Daigle. “The stories that they come in and tell you. They kind of tell you their personal lives. You get to know people. Sadly, if something happens to them, you feel that too, because it’s somebody that came into the store and saw you all the time. They come in and find you and even not that they want anything, just to talk. How are you doing today? What’s going on in your life? One guy comes in and tells us a joke all the time. That’s what he does. He just loves to come in and tell us jokes.”

Daigle said she will miss her job and co-workers, but has plenty of plans to stay busy. She said she has lots of projects around her home, and will do plenty of babysitting, having grandchildren and great grandchildren. She is looking forward to being able to help her children so they don’t have to worry about getting babysitters.

Both ladies said they intend regularly visit the store and the many friends they have made over the years. Normally, there would be a celebration to commemorate their retirement, but they are not able due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Dave (store owner) said he’s going to in the New Year,” said Giddens. “We couldn’t even have our Christmas party. We were going to have our Christmas party and kind of roll everything into one, but we couldn’t even have that. We couldn’t even have a lunch. We wanted to have a lunch here after work and they told us no. We really have a nice Christmas party. I’m kind of sad that we couldn’t have our last one. We’ll go next year.”

Jody Reid, the new general manager, said he has been working with the ladies for four months, and he has learned much from them. He said he has gotten to experience the “pros and cons of people who have 30 to 40 years of experience”.

“They have lots of knowledge,” said Reid. “Obviously, working with them is fun because they’re showing me things, and I’ve been around for 30 years myself. It’s always nice to see people who care about the business. They’re the true heart of Canadian Tire in St. Stephen.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca