An even bigger surprise than the fact George Vallance was honoured with an award of excellence from Canadian Tire was the fact he did not find out ahead of time.
“The biggest surprise is how nobody on my staff gave it away,” he said with a laugh. “The fact no one gave it away is amazing to me.”
Vallance, the dealer (owner) of the Langley Canadian Tire was recognized on Saturday night with an award of excellence at the Canadian Tire Corporation’s national meeting in Toronto.
Vallance has attended about 20 of these annual banquets, and they have presented the award for the past 10 years.
The award of excellence recognizes a dealer for their outstanding accomplishments as a businessperson and an active contributor within the community.
Vallance said he had no idea he was receiving the honour.
As part of the presentation, a videographer makes a video of the award winner prior to the banquet, speaking to staff as well as community members, meaning this was all done under Vallance’s nose.
This video was played at the banquet, but the way it is presented, is that you can’t tell who the winner is right away.
“You are looking at the video screen and you start to recognize, ‘isn’t that my store?’ he said.
It was at that point, it hit him what was going on, and he had no idea what to do when he was called up on stage.
“You are actually quite tongue-tied up there,” he said. “You are in a room with probably 1,000 people.”
His wife was in town with him, but his two daughters and son-in-law had been flown in the day before, unbeknownst to Vallance.
They then joined their dad on stage.
“You are doing the best you can to thank as many people as possible, starting with your staff and family and then go on from there,” he said.”
The award is a nice honour.
“It is a nice pat on the back because there have been some people I respect very much who have gotten the award before,” he explained. “So just to be considered in that group is a real honour.”
And while it is nice to get some recognition, that is not what drives the community-minded Vallance.
“When you operate a Canadian Tire store, anywhere in the country, you are earning your income from the local community,” he said. “So you really feel a sense, an obligation to give back to the community as much as you can and that happens in every store in every town.
“We do have a national banner on the outside, but my business depends on the support of the community so we take that seriously.”
Some of the community programs Vallance is involved with include: Langley Food Bank, Salvation Army Gateway of Hope, Langley Hospital Foundation, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Promoting Community though Kids in Sport (PuCKS), Fort Langley Historic Half Marathon, Langley Chiefs and the Langley Fastball Association.