Georges Tadi, owner of convenience store: “The neighborhood needs us”

Workers everywhere are on the front lines despite the end of countless social, cultural and economic activities. The newspapers of the National Cooperative of Independent Information begin today a series of portraits of those for whom there is neither isolation at home, nor telework. These everyday heroes who hold the fort in our upset lives.
If there is a company that is close to its customers, it is the neighborhood convenience store. Local trade par excellence, people come here for a liter of milk, a loaf of bread, a few liters of petrol or, sometimes, just for a chat with the owner at the option of a walk in the streets of the district. Georges Tadi is that kind of trader.

Impressive physique, but always the beautiful “hello” when you enter his Bonisoir convenience store on boulevard La Gappe, in Gatineau, Georges hires eight people and there is a lot to say about this COVID-19 crisis that is hitting the planet.

Georges Tadi is the owner of a neighborhood convenience store in Gatineau. He is hiring eight people and has a lot to say about this COVID-19 crisis hitting the planet.

Q Since the containment and quarantine measures, what strikes you most everyday?

A I find that people are very disciplined. Most of them appear to be following government instructions. Our Prime Minister is doing it right, you know. It tells us the real business. But sometimes I have to call a few people to order, like keeping a distance between other customers and not touching the products unnecessarily on the shelves.

Q Are you worried, for yourself or for your employees, about the increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19?

A Of course that worries me. Of course I want my family and employees to stay healthy. So I take all the necessary hygiene measures in my convenience store. Monday, I even had a plexi installed to isolate my clerks from the customers. There are also disinfectant dispensers and I have an employee who cleans public surfaces three times a day. I suggest that employees wear gloves and do not impose anything on them that they do not want to do. If there is an employee who is uncomfortable with the situation, I will not force them to return to work.

A plexiglass was installed at the reception counter of Mr. Tadi’s convenience store to isolate his clerks from customers.
A plexiglass was installed at the reception desk of Mr. Tadi’s convenience store to isolate his clerks from customers.

Q On this subject, do you think you will be forced to close your convenience store in the short term?

A I don’t think so. Our turnover has dropped since the start of the crisis. We see it in the sale of gasoline which is falling despite the fall in prices. We have slightly fewer customers than usual, especially because more people work at home. So, they get their supplies from the supermarkets, which causes fewer trips back and forth in the convenience store, therefore a drop in income.

Q Do you feel that you and your convenience store have a role to play in this crisis?

A We are a local business and the neighborhood needs us. People need to know that small businesses like ours are there for them and that they can be offered basic products. We are there for them, really. I’m not saying that to sound like a good guy. I say it because I believe in what I do, and in our raison d’être, there for everyone.

Q You meet a lot of people every day. Do you think this crisis will change the way we interact with each other?

A I get more and more the impression that people are worried about others. We feel like a surge of solidarity, but at the same time, I feel a little distrust. I don’t know if you understand me. I’ve never had this kind of crisis, so I’m not sure what’s going to come out of it. But I know that there is always good that comes out of evil. We’ll see…

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