Retail has been a lifelong focus for “Big” Ron Wouthuis, who began working at Mindemoya Home Hardware Building Centre a dozen years ago after moving to Manitoulin from Cambridge for a better lifestyle.
He once worked with his uncle, who ran a greenhouse down south, where Big Ron developed a passion for horticulture. He eventually studied in that field and ran his own garden centre.
Big Ron said he loves working retail and being a guiding voice as customers plan for major life decisions.
“It is strictly about the people. You get to know them and help them out, and become part of their projects,” he said. “It can be so rewarding and amazing to connect with somebody on that level.”
Big Ron most often works at the lumber sales desk but knows a bit about the whole store. Word has gotten out about his background, though, and the people of Mindemoya know where to turn for gardening tips.
“A lot of the locals do come to see me regularly for advice and ideas,” he said. He has a 10 by 40-foot greenhouse and a 30 by 70-foot garden at his Mindemoya home.
He and his wife are missing their three children and their grandchildren down south in the midst of travel restrictions. Fortunately, his in-laws are close to home.
Big Ron sees his career as having a deeper impact—as more people shop at his store, he gets to know about their businesses and can support them through their own companies, building a more resilient community.
Remember that when you shop locally, you’re supporting your friends and neighbours like “Big” Ron Wouthuis at Mindemoya Home Hardware Building Centre.