By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley
Many of us remember the excitement when Giant Tiger opened in June 1996 in Sutton. No one was more thrilled than its owner, Glenn Dickson.
Dickson bought this small franchise with the vision to bring top merchandise to customers and help local charities. He achieved all that and more.
Now about to retire, Dickson looks back with pride and nostalgia. He started small, with just 9,500 sq. ft of retail space, which he expanded in 2009 to 14,500 sq. ft.
Some of the staff who started working with him are still there, like Jonathan, who came as a co-op student. Ryan Cronsberry, now the Town of Georgina CAO, started working at Giant Tiger even before it opened, building shelves. Today his daughter works there, as well as numerous other students.
Asked about the most memorable moments in his 26-year career, Dickson mentions handing in donations for local charities.
“Some recipients even cried, and I cried with them,” he recalls.
So far, he’s handed out cheques and gift cards (each worth $500) to 108 organizations. That’s $54,000. And this is above and beyond the regular support of sports teams and school programmes.
“The idea was born in 2015 when I decided to change how we advertise. By reducing spending on ads, I was able to help local charities. I asked the Giant Tiger CEO for approval, and he accepted,” said Dickson.
According to Dickson, the Sutton Giant Tiger is the only one with this programme, and he hopes it will continue under new management.
Leaving his office, Dickson will take with him many plaques and medals he received for his outstanding contribution to the community, including four York Region Character Community Awards.
We thank him, too! May the wind always be in your back while you explore new roads on your custom-made motorcycle, Mr. Dickson!
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