After 34 years the Gordon Head Canadian Tire location is changing, but not leaving.
The store, between Shelbourne Street and Cedar Hill Road, remains open as a garage and will soon be a garage and retail store.
The new Hillside location, which is slated to open mid-November, will be eight times the size of the longtime Gordon Head location.
Meanwhile, the retail portion of the Gordon Head automotive centre will reopen, likely in May, at about one-third of its former size.
It’s all part of a restructuring led by new store owner Justin Young, who moved to Oak Bay with his family in August.
Young took over the Douglas Street location in February and the Gordon Head location on Sept. 21. The Douglas Street location will close in mid-November. The staff of the Douglas and Gordon Head locations are all going to the Hillside location.
“The retail game has changed,” Young said. “Customers drive what we have and this location, Gordon Head, just doesn’t have the room to sell the discretionary items people want now.”
Prefabricated sheds, storage units, patio furniture and other goods are among the popular items that Canadian Tire sells. But in Gordon Head, all those types of items were hiding away in storage, said Young. Hillside will have thousands of products, of which many were unseen in the limited space of the 1982-built Gordon Head store.
“The technology and the offerings at Hillside are going to be so far advanced of what we have for Canadian Tire in Victoria right now,” Young said.
In the meantime, the garage bays at Gordon Head and the empty store space will undergo a renovation. Two-thirds of the store space will be split into two or three retail units. One-third will reopen as a Canadian Tire retail auto centre, and will be accessed through the current customer entrance to the garage.
All of the bays will also be renovated with new hoists and equipment.
The Gordon Head garage will actually be connected to Hillside’s computer system, and customers can book appointments to Gordon Head while at the new Hillside Canadian Tire. Once the Gordon Head store is up and running it will also offer customers a shuttle service for drop off and pick up.
Running Canadian Tires is what Young has done his whole life. He started working at Canadian Tire while in middle school in Ontario. By the time he was 23, Young was a store manager. By 30, he was working as a liaison for the Canadian Tire corporate head office and its dealers. And by 33, he owned his first store, in Thompson, Man. He’s since sold that, and bought and sold other stores, including the Waterloo store he built from the ground up in 2007.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that Canadian Tire stores are owned locally,” he said. “We brought nine staff out from Waterloo, seven families, to work with the existing staff who are here.”
Young’s two boys are 9 and 11 and are already enrolled at Glenlyon Norfolk School. Moving here before high school was a key decision for him and his wife, he said.
To work your way up through the Canadian Tire system, as Young has, people often move around the country.
“Funny, people move around for Canadian Tire but once they’re here they don’t seem to leave,” he joked.